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Chip Timing

I have to admit, I’m a little upset.  This morning our running club met for Raleigh’s Finest 5K.  It was about 85 degrees at the start (sounds like Boston), but the course was pretty shaded so the heat wasn’t a big deal.  I finished the race in 20:40 and 5th female overall.  However, my chip fell off my shoe a little over halfway through.  I stopped to pick it up and carried it for the rest of the race.  But when you look at the results, my name isn’t even there. I guess carrying it across the mat doesn’t work. Sad face.  Now, I’m curious to learn more about chip timing as well as disposable bib chip timing…

Chip timing is great for larger events when not everyone can cross the start line at the same time.  It also helps to prevent human error from manual timing.  It works by wearing a chip tied across your shoe and when you run across mats placed along the course, it records your time.  It works the following way: there is a chip with a unique ID number and an energizing coil that is encased within a durable shell.  The chip’s transponder is activated when it comes close to the magnetic field created by the special mats.  Once within the magnetic field, the coil becomes energized, produces an electric current, and powers the transponder.  The transponder then sends a signal, reporting the ID number which is then captured by the receiving antennas in the mat, and then sent to a computer.  Now, you have your time.

The timing system that I’ve been seeing a lot more is the disposable bib chip timing.  I love this type of timing because I don’t have to tie anything on my shoe, I never notice I’m wearing it, and it’s one less thing to remember.  There are several different companies that make disposable chips, but they all work in basically the same way.  The chips have a built in transponder and microprocessor that includes a unique ID number.  Along the course, there are antennas that have special readers that read the disposable chips.  This information is then sent to a computer and now you have your start time, mile splits, and finish time.  Once you cross the finish line, you just keep going and can toss the bib, along with the chip, in the trash.  They only cost about 10 cents each.

I guess carrying the chip in my hand interfered with the magnetic field.  However, I’m hoping if I email the race directors with my Garmin info they will update the results.  I don’t want a prize.  I just want my name on that results page.  Lesson learned.

Here are some pics from the race:



I hope everyone has a great weekend and stays cool! We are breaking temperature records here in NC.


Happy Trails and Happy Running,



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