Posted by Carol Andersen / AA Sports, Ltd. on December 14, 19100 at 20:11:19:
Kerry, in response to your email I wanted to provide the following comments.
There is nothing wrong with the good old fashioned way of timing races. We still time races in this fashion ourselves.
But, like everything else, technology changes and we find more efficient ways of doing things. Such is the case with Chip Timing.
As you probably know, there are several Chip Timing Systems and Timing Companies using them in the NW (i.e. ChampionChip, which has
been used by AA Sports for the last three years (you wear it on your shoe), and Momentum Timing which is being used by Pro-motion Events and BKB,
which you wear on your ankle). One of the main reasons that races are switching to Chip Timing is because it requires fewer volunteers than
traditional timing, and the jobs are much less technical for these volunteers. Volunteers are becoming more difficult to come by and any way to alleviate
the burden on the RACE is a positive thing. As a Timing Company, I can guarantee you that Chip timing is more reliable, and accurate than using traditional
timing methods. It is important to us (AA Sports, Ltd.) to provide you, the athlete, as well as the Races that we work with the best service and product possible.
We totally believe in the Chip Timing System that we work with. It is unfortunate that you have had bad experiences with the Chip, but I would wager a
bet that you have had bad experiences with traditional timing as well. There are many elements that go into putting on a good race, and just as many
that can cause it to go awry. As a race increases in numbers, especially for the shorter distances, these elements magnify. One of the big problems
we are seeing at races is the large number of Day of Race registration. Races such as Pumpkin Push, Issaquah Salmon Days, Dawg Dash, etc.
where you have almost 800 sign up day of race, those participants must be entered into the data base prior to posting results (many times our award
winners are day of race registrants). On a short distance race, our time-frame is about two hours to process them and do all the data entry for those
800 entries. And for some reason (I believe that it is simply that they are in a hurry) the entries for day of race are very hard to read, or they are lacking
important information like age, gender that allows for effective processing. In-Store registration has always been a problem for us as well, and affects
day of race because of three issues: 1) the store fails to provide us the bib number that has been assigned to someone, or 2) the participants pickup
numbers for themselves as well as their friends and/or family and they swap bibs with each other, and 3) they are given a number for a 5K when they
are actually participating in the 10K. There is a process that we go through to ensure that we know who is running under which number (however it i
s time consuming--but we try to accomplish it before we post results or especially before an awards ceremony). As I am sure you can imagine, timing is
not as easy as it appears….we are extremely vulnerable to many elements.…but we are dedicated to do our best to provide the service/product that will
make your experience an enjoyable one. We welcome all comments and suggestions on how we can better serve you. Feel free to contact us
at email@example.com. Respectfully, Carol Andersen and Jon Atherton (AA Sports, Ltd.)