Wow! Where did the summer go?! Over the past summer months we have been busy at the races and have heard a few reoccurring questions and scenarios regarding race results and would like to explain in the following blog post.
Scenario 1: “How do you capture our finish time when there is no timing mat at the start?”
At most smaller races when there is a separate start from the finish, there are no timing mats at the start. In this situation when the gun goes off we hit a split button on a stopwatch that is synced to time of day. We use one common start time for every runner regardless if you are in the front or in the back of the pack. When you cross the finish line, your timing chip tells us the time of day when you finish. The difference from the time of day when the gun goes off to when you cross the finish line mats is your official finish time: aka “gun time.”
At most larger events, 1,000 runners or more, or in races where the race director opts in for extra timing mats at the starting line, we are able to provide you with your “chip start time”. Chip starts tells us when you crossed the official starting line and timing mats, which gives you a time for the exact race distance. Not the race distance plus the 75 yards back from the starting line in which you started. In the results you will see “Gun Time” and “Chip Time”. Chip time is your official time and is faster than gun time unless you were standing in the front row of the starting line in which they should be the same.
Scenario 2: I finished in front of my friend but why does she have a faster time and better placement?
This is because the race had a chip start and your friend had a faster “chip time”. It is possible to finish ahead of someone but have a slower time than your friend with a chip start. For instance it took you 5 second to cross the starting mats and your friend started further back and took 60 seconds to cross the starting mats. She started 55 seconds behind you. During the race she closed the gap and finished 10 seconds behind you. Her chip time will be 45 seconds faster than your chip time even though she finished 10 seconds behind you. She will also have a better placement because placements are based on chip time not gun time.
*Note, larger races such as the Missoula Marathon, Boston, London, etc. give the overall awards (not age group awards) based on gun time. So the overall 1, 2 and 3 winners are truly the first three males and females that cross the finish. This is because the Elites start at the front.
Scenario 3: My result sticker says I am 3rd in my age group but I checked the online results and now it shows 4th. Why?
This is because participants make an error when registering for the race. Often times there are a couple people that accidentally put their birthday as 5/28/2015 instead of their actual birth year. Or they accidentally typed 45 years old instead of 55 years old. No one knows they made this mistake until they print off their results and tell us their age is wrong. When we correct their age and if they have a better time than you, then it displaces your placement by one. Usually we are able to fix this right away if you take a close look at your result sticker after you finish.
Scenario 4: “I was 2nd overall and 1st in my age group but my result sticker says I am 2nd in my age group.“ Why?
The race was set to “double dipping” which means someone can win overall and their age group. When this happens the stickers like to print the better of your two awards. In this case 2nd place overall is better than 1st place in an age group.The official results published online will contain both placements: overall and age group awards.
Have you experienced any of these scenarios? Or do you have your own question about results or timing? We would love to hear from you and answer your questions in the comments!