New Faces at the Races
I've been in the hub of the racing community for the past 20 years and over the past 3-4 years I've seen so many new faces. This is great but, these new faces mean more runners and sometimes, inexperienced racers. This article is to try and point out the reasons why races are done the way they are. Some of these points will seem obvious to most of you but our new neighbors on the race course may not realize them.
Some of you are experienced, but only with the "Big Event" marathons scattered around the country. They use "CHIPS". THESE ARE COMPUTER DEVISES THAT FASTEN TO YOUR SHOES AND RECORD YOUR TIME. Most smaller local races are not charging enough to afford this type of timing. They are useful for other purposes in a marathon but not needed for most smaller or shorter races.
Why do you pin your race number on the front?
There are two real good reasons for this. First, as you come through the chute, we need to have you tear off (the bottom of the number) in order to score you properly. If we have to turn you around to get to the tear off, that means you have to walk backwards.
Now, I know some of the best runners in the area. If I make them walk backwards at the end of a race (when they've been taxed to their limits), the best of them will end up on their butts in the chute. This slows things down badly folks, so just put it on the front of you. Please!
If we can't see your number as you approach the finishline, we can't read it and call out your name as you cross. That means your family won't know that your finishing and won't be waiting to catch you as you walk backwards though the chute. It's just embarrassing!
Why do we have to go though the chute anyway?
It's part of the scoring process.
We now all realize that most of the bigger races are scored by computer but some of us just don't understand how they work. As you cross the finishline we take your time. It's done with a small computer/timer and that's all this little device does. It doesn't know your name or number, or who you are. It just records times.
As you come out of the back of the chute, you hand us your tear off and we keep them in order so that we can match your name up with the times.
1. This means that if you change places with someone inside the chute, you will be assigned the wrong time.
2. If you don't have a tear off section on you number, you basically don't exist.
3. And lastly, if you duck out of the chute to get to the loving arms of your mom or " because I'm tired of waiting in the chute", not only will you and your race not exist but you will create a mismatch of times for every person who finishes behind you. They will get the wrong times!
This may not seem like a big deal to a number of the less competitive of my readers, but IT IS! Those of us that put on and score these races for all of your entertainment don't like to have incomplete or erroneous results. We also do not like to be criticized (even, in a very few cases, cussed out) by individuals who finished behind you but do care that their time was accurately stated or published. If you finished 1204th at the Living History Farms Race last year, there were 3185 people behind you and at least a few hundred really would've cared if we had given them the wrong time.
Maybe in the nest article we'll address the proper way to race so that you finish in the same place as the number we assigned you. Then, we won't have to worry about the results!