Marathons and Mathematics

Marathons and Mathematics
Marathons and Mathematics

The days until the Moses Lake Marathon are counting down. This is the first year for this race that benefits the Boys and Girls Club for Columbia Basin. Earlier this week we talked about how you can sign up for the race, but now we’re getting into the details of what makes this marathon cool. 

Two weeks ago, the marathon received its certification from the USA Track & Field. For a marathon to earn that certification, it took Bob Cannon, the Race Director for Spokane’s Windemere Marathon, a trip to Moses Lake, eight hours and a lot of math. 

To start, he needed a calibration bicycle and steel tape. The steel tape, surveyor and/or construction style, is one way to measure the distance. The requirements for certification are so specific that you need utmost accuracy. You even have to account for temperature modification because the steel tape will expand with temperature. 

As for the calibration bicycle, it’s just a simple bicycle with a Jones Counter installed to the front wheel. It’s a gear device that records the revolutions of a wheel. They needed to determine the count per mile. During Cannon’s first measurement of the route, he came to 18,000 revolutions per mile. He then had to ride it again and take the lower of the two numbers to determine the actual distance. That’s not it though. He had to do the calibration ride again. From there his calculation had to come out to 1/2 a percent from the last count. You take the lesser of the two measures and that’s how you determine your distance!

Cannon was able to use his experience certifying the Windermere Marathon and make Moses Lake newest marathon, certified. Now runners can use that time to qualify for other races. 

For more information about certifying a marathon, visit the USA Track & Field’s website. ?