Gun Time vs Chip Time
We believe that there are some misconceptions about the results that are generated when an event chooses to utilize a chip timed start line versus a gun fired start line.
Many larger events utilize a chip timed start line because of the congestion that is created when a large number of participants are confined to a fixed width at the start line. In many instances, the physical location of the start line dictates the width of the actual line. This situation means that the number of participants that can actually start at the front of the pack is limited. That means that the participants who are forced to stage farther back from the actual line lose the time that it takes them to get from their location to the actual start point. Another way to look at it is these participants are running a longer distance than the participants who are staged on the start line.
One way to level the field is to utilize a chip timed start line. This means that each participant’s time begins when they cross the start line. The results that are generated when the participant crosses the finish line is then calculated as the “net” time that it took each participant to run the published race distance.
We believe that this is a more accurate and fair time calculation for the participants. No participant is given an advantage based on their location in the start line chute.
Occasionally, a net timed race may result in a situation where a participant in a particular age group will finish behind another participant in that age group but the net time for the participant that finishes behind the first finisher will be less than the time for the first participant. This simply means that the second participant covered the course in the least amount of time.
We believe that a net timed event is the most fair approach for all finishers. Some events choose to base the finish order for the top male and female open finishers on the gun time. When they take this approach, it negates the purpose of having a net timed event for the top finishers. We believe that every finisher should be recognized for the actual time that it took them to cover the course regardless of their position in the start chute.