translated by Brett Larner
The Lake Senba walking and running path in downtown Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture will be undergoing construction work beginning this summer to extend the loop from 2986 m to precisely 3000 m. The current length was the result of a systematic measuring error which gave the popular loop a bad reputation among the local running community, who felt the course left them with "14 meters of dissatisfaction" with their workouts. The city of Mito plans to combine the correction with a nearby roadwork project, with work on the running course expected to last until March next year and cost a total of $150,000 U.S.
The Mito municipal government spent six years building the Lake Senba loop from '96 to '02, only to discover Rikuren rules specifying course measurement standards shortly after completion of the path. The Rikuren requirements state course distance must be measured 30 cm from the inside on a corner. Mito measured the 5 m-wide path down its center, resulting in an error of 14 m when the course was remeasured using the Rikuren protocol. Correcting the error to make the loop exactly 3000 m will help facilitate the various races which take place on its course.
An area man, 69, who walks on the Lake Senba course every day commented indifferently, "I don't think anybody who walks here cares about 14 m." Another local man, 56, who runs at Lake Senba in training for marathons, said, "This is going to make it so much easier to take my splits!" in obvious joy at the news.
Learning from their mistakes, the city will have Rikuren course certification officials oversee the construction work this time to ensure the new loop is accurate.