AIMS is an association of international running races, not individual runners; the race itself is considered the "member." Organizers of marathons or long-distance races can apply to become either a full member or an associate member. Associate membership is reserved for races that have been run for two years or less; AIMS awards full membership to more established competitions.
As of 2010, the cost for associate membership is $300 per year; full membership is $850 per year if paid by March 1, and $1,100 if paid later. The membership application is a simple, one-page document. It asks for race information (distance, average number of participants, average number of countries represented, best times and more), contact information for the race director and the application fee.
As mentioned earlier, all AIMS member races must first be measured by a certified course measurer. The race organizers are expected to cover the costs of the measurement process as well. If multiple races are run on the same day (for example, a marathon, half-marathon and 5K fun run), then all races must be measured and certified individually. A certified measurement is good for five years, as long as the course isn't modified in the interim.
The chief benefit of AIMS membership is international race promotion. All AIMS member races are listed in the race directory and race calendar on the group's Web site. The directory is organized by country and includes links to race Web sites, organizer names and contact information. The calendar is continuously updated to promote upcoming races around the world. Full members may recieve a free quarter-page advertisement in Distance Running magazine, published quarterly by AIMS with a circulation of 400,000.
As a condition for membership, AIMS race organizers must set up a booth at the race exclusively for AIMS officials. Usually, this booth is used to distribute free copies of Distance Running and to advertise upcoming races in the region or around the globe. Interestingly, some of the world's largest marathons -- including the New York and London marathons -- aren't AIMS members, presumably because they don't need the extra promotion.
For more information about athletic organizations around the world, run over to the links on the next page.