If you have been to a triathlon race, you always see athletes wearing tags on their ankles. But, like many people who don't know, you may wonder what triathletes wear on their ankles.
They are called chip straps, and athletes have many reasons to wear them. However, if you are a race director or it's your first time organizing a triathlon event, you will find these timing devices beyond helpful.
The official Olympic triathlon distance is 1.5K swims, 40K bike, and 10K running.
Among the most important tasks of a race director is getting the start/finish lines accurately for all participants. The most raised concern by participating athletes is timing. The fewer issues you have with timing, the greater your chances of success that a racing event will be.
Understanding Chip Timing
The timing chip for triathlon athletes is secured with a strap (mostly Velcro), and then you wear the strap on your left ankle. The reason for choosing the outside left ankle is to avoid it getting caught by your bike's drivetrain as you are cycling. Also, when running and the timing chip is on the inside ankle, your other foot might accidentally hit as you run.
Athletes for other running disciplines wear the chip tag on their bibs, and it makes sense to put the bib at the front even though some runners wear the bib at their back.
The Chip Tag Technology
Before the RFID technology, the timing of athletes required so many officials, which often led to timing errors and loopholes for athletes to cheat. Nowadays, results come in real-time, much faster, making managing huge events like the World Triathlon competition accurate.
How Does the Timing Tag Work?
These scanners are placed at strategic points in the race. These are:
· Starting point
· Swim Finish
· Bike Start
· Bike Finish
· Run start
· Finishing point.
When the triathlete crosses each of these points, the scanners take the reading and record the time. Triathletes should always step on the blue mats at every transition area. Listen to hear a beep (which means a successful recording). Be careful not to step on the blue mat before the race starts, as the scanners will start recording.
Importance of Timing Chip for Triathlon Race?
The timing chip favours highly populated triathlon events. Before the timing tag, people starting the race far from the starting line recorded higher times which could make it difficult to determine their time.
As a race director, you want your triathlon event to have credibility. The timing chip brings credibility because it records accurately when you hit the start and cross the finish line.
Only some participants compete for glory and may participate for fun. However, most people are okay with having accurate times. And if you organize a credible and accurate event, more runners will want to join the next race, and many more will be willing to participate again.
Are There Chip Timing Drawbacks?
But startup capital for every venture is costly, and you shouldn't be discouraged if it's your first time organizing such an event. The first two years will be steep, but with good marketing and a thriving high number of registered participants, you will have enough proceeds to cover chip timing costs easily.
Advantages of using chip timing:
· It makes runners aware that it's an official race and not a running for fun
· Accurate award presentation
· Make the user experience memorable
· Faster results than manually timed races
· Fewer number of officials and workforce
Understanding Gun Time Vs Chip Time
What Activates my Timing chip?
Remember that athletes can accidentally trigger the chip timing to start recording before the race when they step on the blue mat with scanners. But the presence of race officials means that you are always directed to the next step to avoid such occurrences.
But besides the timing, you will need reliable software to interpret and organize the data you receive. The job requires patience and the ability to tolerate pressure. The job of a race director has few volunteers, and the requirements are hefty.
Most race organizers prefer to contract out the job of race directors instead of using an in-house workforce.