Hello My name is Brian Porter, Road Race Course Measurement Secretary for The North of England. The course measurers in The UK do an incredible job making sure road races are at least the distance advertised. However, due to retirements, injury and work commitments, we are decreasing in number. If the decrease continues David Attenborough will do a documentary about us becoming an endangered species! We are particularly short of measurers in Cumbria, Nothumberland, North and South Yorkshire, Humberside, Licolnshire.
All that is needed is a bicycle, a notebook and a calculator. The initial training is done on line at a time to suit you, then you go out with a qualified measurer to practice what you have learned. Actual measurements of events are done at a mutually agreeable time arranged with Race Directors, and it doesn't cost you anything except your time as all expenses are covered.
Here is what led a new race organiser, Doug Hyde, to become a course measurer in 2009,
As an employee of event organisers Birmingham City Council, I had been competing in and organising (at a low level) running events since the early eighties. My professional role is in Transportation and Highways and, with this experience, I was asked two or three years ago by colleagues in the Events team for views and ideas for a half marathon event. This led to a number of options being developed, which were then discussed with various experienced race promoters. When a final preference was arrived at for the 2008 race, I was asked to accompany the official course measurer, former London Marathon winner Hugh Jones, to carry out the measure. The details of this process were unknown to me beforehand, as they probably are to nearly all race competitors!
The system used is to measure the course using a “Jones counter” (named after an American measurer, not Hugh) on a bicycle wheel. This sounds very basic, and it is, but it has the advantage of simplicity and, used properly, great accuracy. The device measures approximately one “count” per 10 cm.
My own experience of course measurement came about by a lucky accident when I accompanied a measurer and he encouraged me to try it. I have met some wonderful people and cycled along many beautiful areas to measure.
I would be most grateful to hear from anyone who would like to know more about becoming a course measurer. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org