I’ve heard that question a lot in the last 24 hours. Race director claimed 5K sharp… so what happened? Honestly, I have no idea. Too much reliance on technology? Keep in mind, a small discrepancy gets multiplied when using the same start and finish line for a 2 lap course. I think the line was 5/100ths of a mile off, which translates to being a 1/10th of a mile short per lap or a 6.00 miles 10K rather than 6.21 miles. That’s not really what I meant when I wrote “Fast, flat course” on the race flyer.
In late December when I began planning this race, I measured the course on mapmyrun.com to design the 5K loop. Then on Jan. 9th, I measured it with a Garmin Forerunner to determine exact placement of the start/finish line. From that measurement, the line was planned about 75 meters down the road, closer towards registration. I didn’t mark it on Jan. 9th b/c USATF was going to measure the course for certification, but they never made it out b/c their calibration course was iced-over the last few weeks. So I went back out there with my course crew this past Saturday and we measured again. This time, we used an older Garmin as well as a cycling computer. The Garmin hit 5km about 100 meters back up the road, farther from the water towards Harpoon. And the cycling computer had us farther down the road, about 10 meters into the harbor! Talk about frustrating.
To measure a course like this, you must first measure the one way section, subtract that from your goal (5K) and then go half that distance down the two-way section to determine the start/finish line placement. At 7:30am on race-day, we measured the entire course with both Garmins side-by-side, one more time. Ugh, two distances for the one-way loop of the course: 4.28km and 4.40km. We split the difference which left us going .66km of a mile down Seafood Way for the line. That’s where we started and finished yesterday… about 75 yards away from where we’d planned to start. USATF will measure our course for next year… for now, congrats on the new *PR!