Should you run the course or the distance?

Since I’ve gotten this question twice now (both times from people named Aaron, curiously!), I wanted to clarify. Both Aarons asked if, when finishing an FLRC Challenge course, their GPS watch didn’t report that they had completed the advertised distance for the course, they should run extra to finish off the distance.

The answer is no. You should run each course as mapped out, just as you would with an in-person race. Don’t worry if your watch’s distance doesn’t quite match with what I’ve advertised; there is lots of room for error in such measurements. What matters is what I’m coming to think of as the FLRC Challenge motto:

Cover the ground.

And remember, it’s fine to run the course in different directions or as part of a segment in a longer run—see Rules Refinements: Alternative start/finish points and running a course in segments.

A follow-on question is that if you ran extra for some reason, can you subtract that time from the time you submit for your Challenge effort. The answer to that is yes. What matters is the time you spent covering the ground of the course.

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Agreed. I’ve run several USATF-certified marathons and never once crossed the finish line with “26.20” showing on my watch.

Pete, I have heard that USATF courses have to run a little over in order to be certified and “official”, so there’s no chance it can be shorter. But that was just one RD who told me that.