Timing equipment, new race
I have recenlty been tasked with supporting the establishment of a new event that will include a cycle race and a 10k run. One of my tasks is to look into timing equipment for competitors, but my knowledge in this field is limited at best.
Would anyone be able to advise me on what different types of timing equipment there is, and where I would lokk to get this from. Can equipment be hired or would purchasing be the best idea?
We only have a small budget, so would be looking for the cheapest or most cost effective.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Seb, it probably depends on how small the budget is and hos important it is to you that everyone has an accurate start to finish time. I know my club bought a race clock a few years ago which it hires out from time to time, but some idea of whereabouts in the country you are might get some more location-specific ideas.
Basic timing equipment that will do for most races - stopwatches, pencil and paper! Get a copy of RaceMaster or some other results software or sort out a basic spreadsheet.
Once your event is established and numbers increase you can look at hiring in other services. No-one that I know of hires out "timing equipment" such as chip timing, only hiring out a complete service - the equipment is far too expensive to allow inexperienced people to handle and you have to know how it all works first. My advice would be to keep it as simple as possible to begin with!
I just released something this year that you may be interested in. You can see my website here: http://www.ageeracetiming.com/about/
Watch videos to see how the system works here: http://www.youtube.com/user/brianagee127
As most people know, chip timing companies take off the shelf equipment and they tripple the price and then make it so that their software only works with that equipment - and then they charge you hundreds of dollars a year in maintenance, support, or upgrade fees. Also, professional race timers are too expensive for the average race that can expect well under 1,000 participants. So, as a runner, occasional race director, and long-time software developer I decided to make chip timing affordable for everyone - meaning that race directors can time their own races and that people can start their own race timing business (therefore reducing the price directors have to pay because of increased competition).
The total cost for the average RFID system that people buy from me is around $2,300 and it includes a 4-port RFID reader (Motorola FX7400), a USB powered/operated backup RFID reader (Thinkify TR200), 5 antennas, and the software that controls it all and times your race(s).
Check it out and let me know if you have any questions. I developed this so that it's as easy to use as possible. You can buy all of the equipment from wherever you can find it at the lowest price - so you may spend much less than $2,300. Also a new 4-port reader is coming out next month that is supposed to have amazing performance and cost "$550ish" and I'm supposed to be on the first to get it so that I can offer it to the race timing market. This means that the cost for a 5 antenna system will be around $1,800. Pretty amazing when you consider that a near identical system (and theirs doesn't have a backup RFID reader!) cost $12,000.
Here is how it all hooks up.
The only thing I didn't mention above is the RFID tags. This is the only thing I sell personnaly because it's VERY difficult for my customers to buy tags in small quantities. So I buy them in large quantities so that my customers can buy them in any quantity for $0.20 each.
Oh, and those tags are re-usable, so after the race I have participants return them before they leave so that I'm not out any extra expense when I time future races.
You can see a larger photo of how everything hooks up by Agee Race Timing Equipment.
Like Brian, I'm also a running programmer that wrote some race timing software
Mine isn't as advanced (it's not designed for RFID chip timing) it is just intended for small simple races where you just want to collect the finishing times and see/print the results.
Nice concept Matt. I'll try it out. Can it run on a samsung galaxy tab with just an updated Chrome browser? Not practical to have a laptop on a rainy day.
I use the pen and pencil system now with a Seiko stop watch (S149) which prints out timings as I register them crossing the line. We have an additional person noting down the bibnumber of the runners crossing. As we tear off printed times we register the times with the numbers. Works fairly well for smaller races (upto 100 I would say). We still need to do the spreadsheet afterwards anyway.
If you're doing it the stopwatch, pencil and paper way, I would say this type of clipboard is vital in case of rain...
@runaldo It works on a tablet but just isn't as easy as a laptop. If there's more interest I'll write something to make mobile experience better.
@Peter totally agree. Our race was during last weekend's storm and those clipboards proved invaluable
You can buy a Junsd JS-9006P stopwatch for about £28 from Amazon. These record up to 500 runners and the data is downloadable to PC via USB (Android download aps also available I believe but I've never tried them). This is the watch that many of the parkruns use for their timing, and my club uses them for all our time trials, XC races etc. Personally I'd always recommend using 2 of them at the finish just in case of errors, and I'd also recommend setting up a video camera that can see the runners numbers as they cross the line.
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