I ran the Seattle marathon last week. My gun time was 3.43.49 I started a while back in the pack and according to my watch my chip time must have been around 3.43.03. However, the official results list my chip time as identical to my gun time. Apparently my chip must not have registered when crossing the starting line. Did anyone else have anything like this happen before, can you have this adjusted.
I know it is not the biggest deal in the world, but still, you run your legs off for every minute, it is a bit of a bummer if your chip time is listed as a minute slower than you actually ran. This marathon was a redemption marathon after the blistering heat sank my Twin Cities marathon of seven weeks ago. So I decided to stay in shape and give this one a try. This was only my third marathon and to my own surprise I ran a PR by about 30 secs. But unfortunately this is not official, as my chip time indicates a slower time. Again, not the biggest deal, but what if this was a the difference between BQing and not (ok, I am a long way from that, but you get the idea....). Do these things happen often? can they be rectified?
Originally posted by tjotie:
But unfortunately this is not official, as my chip time indicates a slower time. Again, not the biggest deal, but what if this was a the difference between BQing and not (ok, I am a long way from that, but you get the idea....). Do these things happen often? can they be rectified?
There are chips and there are chips. Not all chips and/or the antenna mats are created equally. IE, There are different technologies employed.
Most systems use two sets of mats at the finish line so that the 1 percent that don't read on the first mat most likely will be read by the second mat. A chip not being read is most often a signal interference as opposed to a chip failure. Chips seldom fail.
The likelihood of a chip suffering a signal interference twice is very rare.
Ever notice that lots of race don't have chip times even when you wear a chip. That is because they don't have any starting mats. The chip systems were evented to give fast accurate gun time finishes un-screwed up the human efforts in manually timed races.
Chip were not invented to give runners their real time. Some races with deep pockets pay to have starting line mats so runners can have actual times.
The reason most race don't have starting mats is that it is quite expensive beyond the price of just finish line chip recording. The amount of equipment needed for a starting line is greater because a finish line for most races is narrow so the available mats can be used in 2 sets as described about.
If the starting line is not near the finish, they may be a requirement of having more of the better trained timing company personnel and that is expensive. At huge races, those extra trained folks have to flown in from other parts of the country.
There is also no where near enough chip equipment in any geographical area for all the races that want it.
Having 2 sets double wide for a start is often not done and therefore the 1 percent mis-read means 10 runners per 1000 have an issue at the start.
Some chip systems have a much higher mis-read so they can't be used at a start unless the race is willing to spend lots and lots of money for the a double wide double set.
[http://This message has been edited by NHSenior (edited Dec-02-2007).|http://This message has been edited by NHSenior (edited Dec-02-2007).]
Originally posted by How we Run:
Wow, quite a lengthy response. NHSenior you sure this race didn't have a start mat?
I haven't any idea as to whether that race had starting mats or not, or if they did have start mats that they were arranged in a more accurate redundant fashion.
There is so much mis-information or no information out there about chip timing that I thought I would put out some "for instances" and let the readers apply them depending on what information they might have about a particular race where they have or had questions.
I suspect that because you specifically phrased your question like this.
"NHSenior you sure this race didn't have a start mat?"
That I somehow was doing something incorrect in what I wrote and I that I "must" answer only in reference to that race.
Perhaps you failed to notice what the reader asked when he twice alluded to "general" information on the subject not necessarily connected to that race.
The "clue" words in those questions are "before" and "often"
<<<Did anyone else have anything like this happen before, can you have this adjusted.
<<< Do these things happen often? can they be rectified?
So, you were saying and meaning, what?
Thanks NHSenior for an excellent primer on chips and timing mats. I actually didn't know that some chip races didn't use starting mats until recently when I served as a volunteer at a race. The professional race organizer explained the absence of a starting mat to me then (to save money). Also, my job was to record the numbers of each finisher as they crossed the finish line, as yet another back up. This was a smallish race, under a thousand finishers. Chips are now being used around here even in very small races with 200-300 finishers, so I guess it behooves all of us to time ourselves beginning with crossing the starting line. That may not help if you are an age-grouper in that unfortunate 1 percent who loses out on a trophy because of some snafu. But there are other races to run.
You may be right that chips were not introduced to give readers and accurate timing (though that is what race advertisers put on their web sites),
but they surely were not introduced to post inaccurate race times
Seattle did have a start mat. They do give chip times and gun times for individual racers on their site. I guess chips can fail, (if they fail through
signal interference, that is still a chip failure in my book, it failed to receive the signal), point taken. I would not mind it if my chip time would be listed as unavailable, but now my chip time is listed as the same time as my guntime, while my chip time should be a minute faster.
From the 2007 USATF Competition Rules Handbook Rule 245 item 3 states: "The official time shall be the time elapsed between the start of the watches or timing devices resulting from an appropriate start signal and the athlete reaching the finish line. However, the actual time elapsed between an athlete reaching the starting line and finish line can be made known to the athlete, but will not be considered as official time."
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