Back in 1982, international race organizers founded AIMS to share information, innovative ideas and tips for best practices. A few years later, members drafted the official "Articles of Association," which states the goal of AIMS. The group wants to:
- Foster and promote distance running throughout the world
- Work with the International Association of Athletic Federations on all matters relating to international road races
- Exchange information, knowledge and expertise among Association members
The group has grown from 28 members in 1982 to include more than 300 certified races in 90 countries. As mentioned in its mission statement, AIMS works closely with the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for track and field events. Together, both organizations publish and help enforce racing standards like course measurements and timekeeping methods to ensure that a world record is really a world record and that runners of all skill levels have the best possible racing experience.
AIMS also publishes an event manual, which is a detailed guide for starting your own road race, everything from initial considerations ("competitive race or fun run?") to course design ("single or multiple lap?") to accurate timing systems. Before AIMS can certify a race, an AIMS official must measure the course. This is easier said than done, since AIMS measurers are a rare breed (in all of Great Britain, for example, there are only 12). Official measurements are critical for awarding world records and equally important for clocking personal best times.
To encourage open communication and cross-promotion among members, AIMS holds a biannual World Congress in different international capitals. In addition, AIMS recognizes an athlete of the year and awards the world's fastest times in different long-distance events. The organization also helped install the AIMS Marathon Museum of Running at the Berlin Sports Museum in 1994, which is now permanently housed at the Berlin Olympic Park.
AIMS is supported by member fees, but also by a panel of corporate sponsors, including MyLaps Sports Timing, Asics, Rohm Semiconducter, Konica Minolta, Citizen watches and more.
Keep reading to find out how to become a member of AIMS and learn about some of the benefits it brings to race organizers.