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Race Chips (Read 1173 times)

    Alrighty. No question is too stupid, right? I'm wondering how exactly the race chip thingys work. When I ran the handful of races that i did way back when, I think they all timed you according to when the gun went off. I just remember running the Crim 10 mile and having the guy with the megaphone chuckling, yelling out to us, "You're now negative 1 1/2 minutes into the race!" Sounds like the chips actually record the time you personally leave the start line, but how does that work? Are the chips electronic and somehow linked to you??


    Needs more cowbell!

      Sounds like the chips actually record the time you personally leave the start line, but how does that work? Are the chips electronic and somehow linked to you??
      It depends upon whether there is a pad at the start and the finish. Seaway did both last year, so your official time is from your start to your finish, but I have run other races that only have a pad at the finish, so then your time is from gun to your crossing the line. So if it takes you 30 seconds just to get to the start line, that can add to your overall time. How it works is that your chip has a # associated with it. This number is entered along with your race info. I'm not sure exactly how the chips register with the pad, but I do know that they have to be on your shoe. Higher on your body and they don't communicate with the pad properly. k

      I shoot pretty things! ~

      '14 Goals:

      • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

        The timing chips are usually tied to your shoelaces. I think they have to be pretty low for them to be read properly. "ChampionChip" seems to be the most popular (or maybe only?) company that makes them. Some people own their own and get them scanned before races; the rest of us get them at registration, pre-scanned with our information on them, so they know who we are. They're tied to your shoelaces with those little plastic string thingies. There's a mat, usually at the start and end of the race, that reads the chip, and records your start and finish times. Some races have them only at the end, meaning your time will be long if you start at the back of the pack. On the other hand, some longer races have several mats, to make sure you actually ran the whole thing - and also to provide split times in the results. That's how some marathons can tell you exactly what you did the half and the first 10k in, for example. For more info than you could possibly want to know about how exactly they're used in different races for reporting times, here's another thread on the subject: http://runningahead.com/forums/topic/1524b62ce3a74ce6afec32dcff864889
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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        A Dance with Monkeys

          The chips contain radiofrequency tags. These can be detected by monitors in the mats. Each chip has a unique number associated with it. When you register, the race team assigns one of the chips and its number to your name. Then, as you run, the monitors in the mat detect your chip and a computer tracks your time at each mat. There may be a mat just at the start and finish lines, and there may be mats along the way (e.g., the Green Bay marathon has a mat at every mile). Every time you cross a mat, the computer registers your time. Most people consider their time for a race the time it takes them to go from the starting line mat to the finish line mat. This is called the net time or chip time. The USATF recommends that awards be given on the basis of gun time rather than net time. So if you cross the start line one minute after the gun fires and the finish line 16 minutes after the gun fires, your gun time is 16 minutes, but your net time is 15 minutes. If somebody else has a gun time of 15:30 and a chip time of 15:30, their gun time will trump yours, even through they ran the course more slowly.


          A Dance with Monkeys

            The timing chips are usually tied to your shoelaces.
            No. Use the little plastic tie thingies. If you tie them to your shoelace, you will piss off the nice volunteers who have to remove them after the race. While you are dripping sweat on them. While you are trying to untie the danged knot. Use the little plastic tie thingies. They clip right off.
            "ChampionChip" seems to be the most popular
            Did you actually do a survey? Just curious. Cuz I have used lots and lots of different varieties of chips.
              No. Use the little plastic tie thingies.
              Reading comprehension is an underrated skill:
              They're tied to your shoelaces with those little plastic string thingies.
              Roll eyes
              Did you actually do a survey? Just curious. Cuz I have used lots and lots of different varieties of chips.
              Didn't have a clue, thus the "seems" I threw in there. It "seems" to be the name I hear most. Can't even think of another company at the moment. But since Google is also a good friend to have, this is from MarathonGuide.com:
              Currently there are three major chip timing systems in use: The oldest and most used in running is the ChampionChip system which is headquartered in the Netherlands. ChampionChips are tied to a runner's shoelaces.
              And Trent? That last sentence there ... they mean with the little plastic thingies. Tongue
              E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                Sockoni: Okay, now I just read the whole MG article, and since it's interesting and (again) tells you more on the subject than any normal person would want to know, here you go: http://www.marathonguide.com/features/Articles/RaceTimingWithChip.cfm
                E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                A Dance with Monkeys

                  Sockoni, thanks for asking this question. I am getting ready to run my first 5k in 11 days and I was wondering how these chips work too!
                  ---- Cynthia
                    You've just gotta love this site. You guys are awesome! It took me awhile to read through it all. My brain hurts, but I think I think I came out of it ok! I see things differently now as I couldn't understand why, if chips are available, a race would be based on the gun. I'd hate to become one of the leaders, looking behind me and wondering what everybody's chip times were and how i compared to them even though i was currently at the front of the pack. Then again, I'd hate to be faster than the leaders and lose just because I somehow started after them. But since I'll not have to worry about any of that, I'll just kick back and hopefully enjoy any race that I run despite how it's timed! Since we're solving life's mysteries, what are the pads like? They must be wide enough to cross the width of the race path as I can't see everyone congregating to one "side" to cross over the pad(s)?? clhagan, GOOD LUCK with your first 5k!! Can't wait to read your race report! How exciting!


                    Imminent Catastrophe

                      There's also a type of chip that is on a strap that goes around your ankle, used in a few races including the Olympics. That seems like it would be easier to me. The mats are about a foot across and I've seen all different widths, at a big race they can put them end to end to make it as wide as needed. They're connected to a counter that makes a beep every time they register a chip.

                      "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

                       "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

                      "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

                       

                      √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

                      Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

                      Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014

                        Use the little plastic tie thingies. They clip right off.
                        I used the plastic thingies the first time I was chipped and they broke. SurprisedThe Striders made me pay for a replacement chip. Cry[25 or 40, I forget] Needless to say I haven't used them since, nor would I recommend them. Let them get pissed if they want. I was more pissed paying for it. Angry Lace the chip to your shoe with shoestring! Your wallet will appreciate it. Big grin

                        Ricky

                        —our ability to perform up to our physiological potential in a race is determined by whether or not we truly psychologically believe that what we are attempting is realistic. Anton Krupicka

                          They're connected to a counter that makes a beep every time they register a chip.
                          Is it strange that I love that little beep? It's like music. Especially at the end. Modified to add: and Perfesser, what happened to your ape-ish avatar? I kinda dug it.
                          E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                          Imminent Catastrophe

                            ... Modified to add: and Perfesser, what happened to your ape-ish avatar? I kinda dug it.
                            Maybe I'll go back to that one! That's strange--In Safari the avatar that shows is the stream crossing, but in Firefox it's the ape-ish one.

                            "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

                             "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

                            "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

                             

                            √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

                            Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

                            Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014


                            A Dance with Monkeys

                              I used the plastic thingies the first time I was chipped and they broke. SurprisedThe Striders made me pay for a replacement chip. Cry[25 or 40, I forget] Needless to say I haven't used them since, nor would I recommend them. Let them get pissed if they want. I was more pissed paying for it. Angry Lace the chip to your shoe with shoestring! Your wallet will appreciate it. Big grin
                              I always use two of the plastic ties. Works great.
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