Course Measurement


OK - I’m opening this can of worms again. In light of the IHSA passing rule 9-1 (All courses will be measured at the shortest possible route that a runner may run), how many courses will be re-measured and accurately reported, including Detweiller?



A can of worms may be opening.


How did that rule ever get passed?


Where is the link to this?

If courses are now measured along the shortest possible route, there is no question that Detweiller is less than three miles.

John Tucker was actively lobbying NFHS for this change; there was no reason for USATF/NCAA to be measuring courses one way and NFHS to be measuring them another.


Not sure about where the link is, but it was covered in the on-line rules meetings that coaches have to view. I was surprised by it as well.


Sounds like Coach Tucker’s effort was successful and the NFHS changed their rules about how a course is measured. If someone has a new NFHS Track and Field Rule Book (which is not available for online download except to State Associations), please confirm.

The IHSA didn’t have much choice but to go along, as they are NFHS signatories. I can’t imagine the IHSA was a big proponent of this.

So, the question is:

Does the IHSA lengthen the Detweiller course by the approximately 40 meters that, if you measure it using the shortest possible route, it is short of three miles, or

Do they represent the course as being the length that it is along the shortest possible route, and stop contending that it’s a three mile course?

The audience remains riveted.


I say leave the course measurements alone. It’s very difficult for most of the field of runners to run the absolute shortest route. There are just too many runners, running the same pace from the front of the pack to the back of the pack to ever have a chance to run the shortest possible route. I could be wrong but I believe that’s why the USATF? recommends measuring the course from a point, and again I could be wrong, a certain distance from turns.

And I’d be very surprised if a former IL runner who’s initials are C.V. isn’t salivating over the prospect of having an additional 40 or so meters added on to the course.


they should just leave it how it is, it is physically impossible to measure something absolutely, also what are the chances of them placing the poles in the same exact spot every year, from one year to another a turn might be a little sharper or wider.


This is what I was thinking. Besides, every runner takes a little bit of a different path anyway, especially early in the races when they pack up right after the start. I’d be willing to bet that some runners end up drifting from one side of the pack to the other within several hundred meters.

As for the poles though, I know that some schools, and thus, some invitationals, are using drop-in holes where you can just drop in the flags in the same spot every time.


Long live the record!

All IHSA needs to do now is make it mandatory that not one, but multiple cars are there to kick dust (or mud on a wet day) all over the leading runners at state and the record will be untouchable!


This is exactly what has happened at Detweiller. Most of the course is defined by trees, but the first turn is defined by three metal pipes that are placed in concrete sleeves in the ground and removed after meets. The course in the northeast corner of the south meadow (between the mile mark and the entrance to the north meadow, or “triangle”) is defined by PVC pipes which are placed in PVC sleeves for meet days. The next time you’re there, take a walk around the course. The memorialization of tthe course is really pretty impressive. There are monuments at each end and the middle of the start line, a monument every half mile on the course, and monuments on both sides of the finish line in addition to the sleeves.

The comments regarding acccess of any particular runner to the shortest possible line around the course are irrelevent. The course needs to be measured so its length is that which one runner were running if they were running a time trial by themselves. Do we give a runner more credit in a track race because he or she may not always be able to run in the inside lane?

USATF started the course certification program about 30 years ago largely because they wanted to keep road race records and needed to have a way to ensure that the records were run over at least the stated distance. Cross-country is a different animal; because of differences in course topography and configuration record keeping is usually limited to records for each individual course. For that reason I doubt the IHSA will change the length of the Detweiller course. There’s some magic in chasing Craig Virgin’s record- even if the procedure for measuring its length (and thus its official length) has changed, and the configuration of the course has been slightly altered, the best information we have is that the actual length of the course is pretty much what it was in 1971.


Well said.


First of all give C.V. his proper respects. It’s Craig Virgin and he is an Illinois legend. Secondly, he has not lobbied anyone for change.


Hey T.J, i am pretty sure he was just joking and Virgin hasnt exactly been shy in the past about being happy that his record has stood the test of time. Also he never said he was lobbying for it, just wouldnt mind if it was added.


I think you’re taking HappyJack a little too seriously. I don’t think anyone is saying Craig Virgin’s advocating for anything. He’s just joking about how it would make Craig happy since it would make it harder for runners in the future to touch his record (which I was humored by considering how notorious he is for liking his record to stay unbeaten). And just because someone’s a legend doesn’t mean that person’s exempt from being joked about, especially when one is rather cocky about his records.


I find it amusing/confusing how two people can read the same post and come to different conclusions regarding the posters meaning/feelings.