SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Prince of Wales Island Marathon May 28th


April 13, 2011
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) - Just like those diligent postal carriers, Bill Harney of Ketchikan recently measured the Prince of Wales Island Marathon course, enduring many varied and at times damp samplings of island weather in a single day.   The following day, however, brought sunlight and gentle breezes for the second measurement of the course.

A marathon course is measured and documented so as to maintain or gain its USATF certification.  All certified road race courses must be measured for accuracy.  Running a race on a certified course allows participants to compare their performances at the same distances on other certified courses.    It also brings prestige to the race event and allows the finishing times to be used as qualifying times for other races.

jpg Prince of Wales Island Marathon

Bill Harney of Ketchikan recently measured the Prince of Wales Island Marathon course
Photo courtesy Prince of Wales Island Marathon Committee

How does one measure a marathon course? Some of the basics are as follows. First a calibration course is carefully laid out and biked numerous times in order to accurately calibrate the bicycle being used to ride the course.  After that has been done, the course must be measured at least two times by the same rider, making multiple recordings of distances, on the same bicycle. The two sets of measurements must be within 0.08% of each other in order for the measurement of the course to be acceptable.  Also the bike is calibrated again after each ride and those figures affect the final measurements.  And temperature is a factor.

It is an interesting, and complex process, requiring a person who is detail-oriented, patient and meticulous.  Note that when errors are discovered during the measurement of the course, the measuring starts all over again.

The Prince of Wales Island Marathon Committee extended their appreciation to Bill Harney for his excellent work and also acknowledged and expressed thanks to Ken Owen and his son Louis who braved the rain on a Saturday morning to help set up the calibration course.

To participate in this marathon, go to or for registration information. 

Race day is May 28th. 


Source of News:

Prince of Wales Island Marathon Committee


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Ketchikan, Alaska