Gun time vs Chip time

It's always been a matter of respecting other runners on the start line. We can't all start at the front and slower runners that do only create bottle necks and delays for others. From the beginning of my running career I've always respected this and re-inforced it with my wife, daughters and wider family as I helped them to start out on their running careers. Of course this does mean we all record our own times as we lose varying amounts of time waiting to get a cross the start line. But no more. With chip timing we can all queue patiently to start because our time will be recorded based on when we actually crossed the line. So if that's the case why do the Running Fraternity persist in reporting results in gun time order. Worse they show both times so now you know that the person who beat you by 30secs in the official results actually lost to you based on the true chip time over the distance. I now see competitive runners in my family no longer convinced about start line etiquette which surely was the whole point of chip timing. So come on Race Organisers and Race Quality Standards setters. Let's have chip times as the reported results. Happy to hear any and all views on this.
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Comments

  • I'm a middle of the pack runner so being truly first is never going to be an issue but I think for it be a proper 'race' then the winner is the first past the post. If you want count chip times then it's a time trial.

  • Absolutely summed it up there, it is a race from A to B, times are important and may be needed for qualification or some other reason, but you don't win on time you win by crossing the line first.
  • It's not so long ago when only gun times counted for anything, including PBs. In my experience (as runner and organiser) the lack of startline etiquette is mostly down to a lack of knowledge rather than anything else. The majority of racers these days are not club members but just runners who do the odd race from time to time and they simply don't realise the issues they cause by starting at the front. They just think they need a good start position. At the end of the day however is the event a race or a time trial? If it's a time trial then chip times are fine. If it's a race then positions have to be based on the order people cross the finish line.

  • its a race so it has to be gun times.....but for everyone else down the order...........you look for your gun time as that is the time for your PB's etc.......its yourself you are racing..who on earth would go looking atb the results to see whuch strangers they beat...........

     

     

  • Strangers, no, but to reinforce the point about it being a race, I do look at the results to see how I have fared versus runners I know, clubmates, or people that I see regularly. We all like to beat"better" runners on the day, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who's had to watch someone pull away from me that I would have expected to beat.
  • Surely for the majority it's always going to be a time trial. Gun times are meaningless if there are 1000 folks standing between  you and the start line.

     

    Most of the races I do are always listed in order of chip times though - I don't recall having done a race in years where it was gun times.... In fact last time I remeber it being gun times was in 2006 but the following year the race had got too big and they introduced chips and then after that it was chip time order. 

  • Racing is about beating people. You can't race someone if they've started ten minutes behind you. How can you out sprint them ?



    If you are hoping to win - get to the front.



    If you're not - seed yourself accordingly.



    Then again - most runners aren't on forums and aren't aware of the etiquette.
  • This attitude towards chip times makes me pretty depressed.



    I'm happy to leave others to their gold medal in barging to the front and elbowing people out of the way.
  • Most of the races I do don't use chips. Reading Half, quite rightly, ordered the results by gun time but printed the chip times in a parallel column, so you can have your race and eat your time trial cake. Seems simple, really.

     

  • I will look at previous race results to get an idea of times and check out the route

    If I know i can finish in the first 10 im at the front.

    If i know I can finish in the first 20 im behind those in front.

    After that all i have is time baby.

     

  • I know I am a slow runner and make a point to start at the back of the last corrale as I certainly don;t want to be a hinderance to the faster runners.

    It does amaze me as I pass people who started in 'faster' corrales and who simply should not have been there. Surely it is better psycologically to overtake loads after starting at the back than start near the front and be steamrolllered by everyone else?

  • Gun times have to be the proper way of recording results. For the best runners it's about beating everyone to the line. For the rest of us it's a time trial.



    If Paula started the Olympic marathon 10 minutes after everyone else and finished with a chip time 2 minutes faster than every other runner, would you give her the gold? I wouldn't. You're racing other runners, not the clock.
  • Exactly !
  • Gun times should equal chip times for those who have a chance at top 100 ish.

     

     

  • Agree with Betty, better for your own motivation to start at the back and be passing runners from the halfway mark than being constantly overtaken, one builds you up the other knocks you down, also agree that an elite athlete starting 5 minutes later would probably win based on chip times as the front runner will simply be racing and will not know the gap required.

  • 5 mins is a long time in a race start - an elite should never be starting that far back in any race.

  • I don't really see much issue here.  The races which use chip timing are precisely the ones which report gun and chip time afterwards, but quite rightly use the gun time for sorting out race places.  Use the chip time for your own PB purposes, no one's going to sue you.  image

    People starting too far up the front often is a matter of innocent naivety.  Time zones for larger fields is always good to see, but there will always be one or two inconsiderate fools getting in the way.

  • Phil - Can you imagine after winning a half marathon (you know, like you did yesterday image) thinking you've won and then finding out that you'd actually lost by two minutes because a rather speedy elite had missed his bus and started 10 minutes later!

    What a ridiculous concept.

  • Reminds me of local race where a couple of women plonked themselves down at the front of a somewhat competitive field. They were warned that their position was, 'not a good idea' but they insisted that they had 'just as much right to.....BANG!.

    They were fools. Some of the guys were very very inconsiderate.
  • I hope their cuts, bruises and pride healed quickly.

  • RicF thats amazing.

    Just out of interest has anyone ever heard of someone getting seriously injured when they started at the front and were far from being a front runner?

     

     

     

  • Not seriously injured no but it does surprise me when I start mid-field (the right place for me) and get overexcited runners elbowing me out the way!  I mean really - is the few seconds saved really worth being so rude for?  That's if you save any time at all.   It happened at the Olynpic Park Run and at the Totnes 10k last year.

  • i remember when I did my first Manchester 10K. I started on the 45 to 50 minutes area and spent the first half of the race dodging people who were literally collapsing.

    i remember passing some bloke at the 4k mark who was literally ready to drop and was shouting `I CAN`T DO THIS! OH MY GOD I CAN`T DO IT` and I remember thinking how far up the start line must he have been when I`m running 7 min 30sec miles and its take me nearly 20 minutes to get past him. What a plonker haha

  • There was a case a couple of years ago at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco where a lady who started with the masses 20 minutes after the elites actually finshed 11 minutes faster than anyone in the elite field (the elite field wasn't actually very elite at all). She didn't qualify for the prizes because she wasn't registered as an elite and effectively didn't compete in the elite race, the argument being that if she'd competed with the elites they may well have run faster because they would have raced her. She won a minor prize for being first lady home in the mass race, but the elite prize was somewhat larger. In the end however because of a big media outcry they ended up giving her the same trophy as the winner (not sure if they matched the cash or not), and they did away with the elite race in later years.

  • That does make sense - if she had been running beside the elites then they would all have been racing together and may have run faster to get in before her (although 11 minutes is quite a big margin! )

  • bwfcboy wrote (see)

    i remember when I did my first Manchester 10K. I started on the 45 to 50 minutes area and spent the first half of the race dodging people who were literally collapsing.

    i remember passing some bloke at the 4k mark who was literally ready to drop and was shouting `I CAN`T DO THIS! OH MY GOD I CAN`T DO IT` and I remember thinking how far up the start line must he have been when I`m running 7 min 30sec miles and its take me nearly 20 minutes to get past him. What a plonker haha

    Haha that sounds hilarious/ quite frustrating lol.

  • I guess it's pretty strange how mass races differ in their approaches. Last year Silverstone half for example ordered everyone by chip time, and didn't even include gun times for people to see!

  • Not every race uses chips.  Today's Shinfield 10k didn't have any plus the Dundee Marathon and Half Marathon don't.

  • There was a thread on this subject a year or so ago and I suspect it will come up again as there are two valid but opposing arguments.

    1. it is a race  - whoever crosses the line first should win.

    2. using gun time encourages runners (including slower runners) to start as near the front as possible.

    There are also problems with both arguments.

     I agree that slower runners starting too near the front is a major issue (in my experience bwfcboy's example is the norm not an exception). However I am not totally convinced using chip rather than gun times would alter people's behaviour.

    Baldly stating it is a race is an oversimplification - for the large majority of runners in mass participation events (i.e. the type of event that uses timing chips) it is, in effect, a time trial. If you cross the start line 10 minutes after those at the front then you are clearly not in a race with them. (I know GymAddict already made this point just wanted to reiterate it).

     

     

     

     

  • bwfcboy wrote (see)

    i remember when I did my first Manchester 10K. I started on the 45 to 50 minutes area and spent the first half of the race dodging people who were literally collapsing.

    i remember passing some bloke at the 4k mark who was literally ready to drop and was shouting `I CAN`T DO THIS! OH MY GOD I CAN`T DO IT` and I remember thinking how far up the start line must he have been when I`m running 7 min 30sec miles and its take me nearly 20 minutes to get past him. What a plonker haha

    Great stuff. Can't stop laughing. imageimageimage

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