Chip Timing FAQ

What is a chip time?

Chip time is another way of saying “net time,” or the actual amount of time it takes a runner to go from the starting line of a race to the finish line. Many races feature a timing technology in which all participants run with a computer chip attached to their running shoe. When you register for a race, you receive your “borrowed” chip, programmed with your information, at the same time you get your race bib. The chip is attached to your ankle via a Velcro strap that goes around your ankle. At the end of the race, someone will be there to collect the chip from you.As you move across a special mat at the starting line, the chip registers that you’ve started the race. Then, as you cross the finishing line, the chip registers that you’ve finished the race. So, in other words, the amount of time that it takes you to reach the starting line (since most people are not right at the front of the race) doesn’t count in your overall time. In some cases of very large races, it can take runners at least 20 minutes to reach the starting line. Your chip time is different than your “gun time,” which is the amount of time it took you to finish the race from the moment the gun (or horn) went off.

Most large races, especially marathons, now use chip technology. As a result, runners at the start can line up where it’s appropriate for their pace, instead of trying to push their way to the front. For longer distances, the chip also records splits at various points along the course, such as the half-marathon mark during a marathon. This feature is helpful for your friends and family members who may want to track you online during your race.

Of course, one drawback of timing chip technology (although most runners would never admit it) is that runners can no longer “fudge” their race times by subtracting more time than it actually took for them to cross the starting line. The chip doesn’t lie.

How many athletes can I time?

This question is only relevant to the level entry Dual Antenna System which has just two receive antennas.  Our systems can handle as many runners as you can fit across the antenna mats. This is typically around 700 runners per minute over a 4m wide mat.

How do I get the chips before my event?

The chips are light weight and are fitted to a strap which will comfortably fit around an athlete’s ankle. The chips are provided to the organiser in envelops which are easily issued during registration.

What about day entries?

The flexibility of our systems and procedures allows Race Organisers to continue taking entries up to and including the day of the event allowing the race to maximise the amount of revenue they take. There’s no need to turn competitors away unnecessarily as we will supply you with an agreed number of additional pre-programmed chips and corresponding numbers to either sell on the day (or to replace the inevitable forgotten and lost chips and numbers).

What about Post Event Chip Collection?

This can be done either by the competitor themselves or they can be assisted by finish marshals. Chips are then placed in plastic bins or buckets for return to T&E, it is the race organiser’s responsibility to ensure that all chips are collected and returned.

Where’s my time?

As timers we regularly get a tough time from athletes who fail to follow the instructions or attend the race briefing. Wear your chip as directed and avoid all the nonsense:

  • Flat tags go on the shoe
  • Velcro straps go on the ankle. Chip to remain vertical
  • Bike mounted chips go on the front forks. Chip to remain vertical

How quickly can I get my race results?

Initial race results to be produced whilst competitors are still finishing! The prize presentation report and team results reports can be produced at the same time. This means that results can be displayed quickly and that the prize presentation can be conducted at the earliest or published time. We will also post the results on the web, normally before we leave the race venue.

How accurate are the results?

Accurate results require accurate finish information – conventional manual timing requires a number of skilled and experienced operators and by its very nature is prone to errors. Correcting these errors takes time and delays the production of the results and the prize list.

Tri & Enters chip timing services removes these errors by recording the runner’s race number and time as they cross the finish line and feeding them directly into the results system.

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