Q: What are USATF-certified courses?
A: A USATF-certified course is a road race course whose distance has been certified for accuracy.
Courses must be certified for any road running performance to be accepted as a record or to be nationally ranked. Furthermore, running a race on a certified course allows you to accurately compare your time to performances run on other certified courses because you can be sure the distances were the same. No one can truly establish a personal best if the course distance is not accurate.
Q: Which USATF-certified courses qualify for Northwest Runner's Best Times List?
A: Northwest Runner uses USATF-certified courses in Washington state in the following distances: Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.
Q: How do I find a list of USATF-certified courses?
A: Northwest Runner lists certified courses that qualify for the Best Times List with an asterisk (i.e. half marathon*). As a course may become certified after Northwest Runner goes to press, you should visit the USATF website for the most up to date list of certified courses.
Q: I ran a USATF-certified 5K in Washington and I should qualify for the Best Times List. Why are my results not listed?
A: There are many possible reasons. Below are a few examples:
- The official race results must be sent to our Results Editor by a specific date to make it into the following issue of Northwest Runner.
- The official race results must list participants' state of residence as only Washington state residents qualify for the Best Times List. If the results do not include this important information, Northwest Runner must attempt to contact the race director to obtain it. This may delay the processing of Best Times List results.
- The participant's name or age was illegible on the entry form.
- Due to circumstances, the race course had to be altered at last minute and the race is not held on the certified course. This has happened because of weather conditions, emergency road conditions (i.e. accident blocking the race course, city/county officials making emergency repairs).
Q: I am a Washington state resident and I ran a USATF-certified course in a qualifying distance in another state. Can my result qualify for the Best times List?
Q: How do I find out if a race I ran in Canada is a qualifying certified course?
A: Visit the Athletics Canada site. This page by the Run Canada Committee Road Race Course Measurement has information detailing certified races sorted per province, city and distance. Another section of this same page lists all Canadian marathons that are Boston qualifiers.
Q: I am a race director and I would like to know more about getting my race course certified. Where can I find more information?
A: Visit USATF to learn how you can get your race course certified.