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2012 Sports Museum by Charlotte Kopp
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Chip times vs. Gun times

Monday, September 16, 2013

Now that MHRRC has the technology to capture chip times (time from when a runner crosses the start line until crossing the finish line), there have been many concerns about the "Official" times used at the Classic. We used gun times (time the gun went off until runner crosses the finish line) to calculate the awards, in line with most other large races.

There is much discussion in the running community right now about what should be “official” race times. Now that there is the technology to capture chip times/net time as well as gun times, which times should be used for races?

Most large races use gun times. Chip times are provided as additional information for runners. Here is the rationale (link at http://www.jbsports.com/?page_id=27

Are net times (aka chip times) used for awards?

According to the governing body of long distance running, USA Track and Field, "Official timing begins with the start signal" This assures that the runner's time is official. This official time is used to establish the winner and order of finish for all runners. We do not use net time, the time the participant crosses the start line until the finish line is crossed, to determine order of finish. The logic behind this is that a race is a race to the finish line, not the clock. Therefore ... gun time, the time from the start signal until the runner crosses the finish line, will be used to determine the winner. Net time will be available for our larger races, but this is provided for your information only, not awards.

At the Classic, we used gun times to calculate awards and official times.

In addition to the reasons stated above for using gun times, there is an issue of capturing all the start times as runners go over the starting mats (5K and half marathon started together so route 55 would be closed the least amount of time while runners crossed this major road).  If we were using chip times for the official results, we would have to have a backup start line to ensure we read everyone’s bib number at the start … and that is quite a bit of equipment for the club to purchase. As it is, we have a backup at the finish line so if the first finish line missed a bib read, the second finish line will most likely capture the bib read. So far, we have had to use the backup at the finish line for a few runners who did not get read at the primary/main finish line … and in the 5K/Half, runners do not cross all at once.

Hope this helps. MHRRC will be following this issue closely the coming years. You can use our Facebook page to add to the discussion.

Note: half marathon chip times have now been added to results on this web site.



Photo of Marissa Strange, 5K female first place in time of 18:20 is courtesy of Nin Lei.



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