The annual Grenserittet is an 80km mountain bike race that runs between the border of Norway and Sweden. The race finishes close to the famous 350 year old Fredriksten Fortress. This year the 6700 starters were timed with Ultra and disposable transponders for the first time by Danish timing company Ultimate Timing. Just under 50,000 split times were recorded over the course and Morten Toft from Ultimate reported that there appeared to be no more than 3-4 missed times from all these split points. Further photos and posts can be seen on the Facebook page. The combination of mat and side antennas ensures a robust timing solution alongside the convenience of disposable low cost transponders. It is no surprise that Ultra is now becoming the benchmark for mass riding events around the globe.
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3251 age group triathletes competed in the annual Paris Triathlon on July 8 in the center of the famous city taking in a swim in The Seine and passing within meters of the famous Eiffel Tower. There was also a separate elite sprint race for some of the world’s best who were fine tuning their speed prior to the London Olympics. The race was timed by Ipitos using both the Ultra UHF disposable tags and the HDD System using conventional ankle tags.
The new disposable tag timing system Ultra had its debut in Durban, South Africa at the SPAR Women’s 5/10km on Sunday the 24th June under clear skies. Over 15,000 runners, mainly women competed over two distances in an event that is run in 6 locations around South Africa throughout the year.
The simplicity and reliability of Ultra was clearly demonstrated with superb read rates on a single tag that costs less than 15c each. Ultra was a clear standout against the other timing manufacturers because of the low price of the transponders that can be sourced from many 3rd party vendor. This was crucial to SPAR (a large retailer), who purchased the equipment for their events, because entry fees are traditionally low in South Africa. Hence the timing budget is always tight despite the need for quality service. RFID Race Timing Systems is proud to be the first disposable tag timing system to be accepted into the mainstream South African sports market.
The new reusable UltraTag were used at the Motivation Man Half Ironman and Olympic Distance Triathlon on the 2nd of June 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. AccuChip Race Timing said the new reusable UltraTag performed great and set-up of all gear took less than 2 hours because no cabling was required between systems with wireless transmission of data. Race Organizer Steve Tebon was extremely pleased with the timing and mentioned that AccuChip nailed the event. The photo is of winner John Reback (brother of Laura Bennett who is racing for USA at the London Olympics) winning the Olympic Distance event in a very eighties pose with no shirt.
Wednesday the 23rd May saw 7350 runners complete the REWE Team Challenge in Dresden Germany. Using a combination of mat and side antennas, timing principal at Baer Service Andreas Bär reported an incredible 100% read rate at the event meaning zero queries afterwards. The Ultra System is quickly becoming the timing system of choice in Eastern Germany with the best value disposable transponders on the market combined with the power and precision of the operating hardware.
A week earlier Ultimate Timing also reported 100% reading at the finish line of the Eventyrløb in Denmark – 2, 5 and 10km running events on their Kristi Himmelfartsdag (Ascension Day) public holiday of May 17th. That meant not one of the 20,368 finishers was missed at the finish line which really is an incredible statistic for a passive transponder that costs just 12 cents (Smartrac Dogbone™). Morten Toft of Ultimate Timing reported that they were very pleased with the performance of Ultra which outperformed the older Mylaps low frequency equipment used last year.
With perfect Perth weather on Sunday 27 May, the 2012 HBF Run for Reason attracted over 20,000 runners, walkers and joggers for the annual event. Staged over the 14km or 4km distances, participants succeeded in raising over $720,000 for the affiliated charities making their way along the scenic Perth CBD courses.
BlueChip Timing timed the event using the ULTRA system from RFID Race Timing Systems. The low profile mats and the power of the ULTRA system make a great combination for large participation running events. Mass starts are no problem with the readers able to sustainably reads of over 300 tags per second. This is the third year ULTRA has been used at the HBF Run for Reason and the organizers and athletes love the simplicity of low cost disposable transponders.
You can see more photos and video of the event at the HBF Run for Reason site.
As there is a lot of confusion out there in the timing world in regard to how many tags are needed to successfully time races with the claim “we are best because we only need one tag” touted by some manufacturers.
So in typical RFID Race Timing fashion we aim to clear the smoke and mirrors that these other manufacturers persist on using and explain the facts as they are.
Anyone who is involved in timing knows this business centrally revolves around risk management. In any mission critical system, the more layers of redundancy, means the risk of something catastrophic going wrong is reduced. The fact that we employ double lines for mass participant starts, patch antenna in the post finish area, manual backup, etc all aim to get race day read statistics closer to the magic 100%.
No system is 100% and those that claim this, are simply not speaking the truth for one reason – The readability of tags at a particular point in time is influenced by the human participants that are wearing them.
Whether the competitor has decided to wear their bib incorrectly, put it in their pocket, carry it in their hand, or even mount it over a large stomach, all of these actions will reduce the RFID signal and possibly prevent a reliable read. The more chances you have in grabbing a read the less chances of missing athletes! Its as simple as that.
The decision to double tag competitors is also part of this equation. It means that the timer doubles the chance of capturing the athlete. When we analyse the data collected in a double tag event we notice that the reads from tag one will happily deliver us with read percentages around the 99.5% mark. The remaining 0.5% is the human effect. The second tag raises the bar and gets us up to better than 99.95% read rate. At RFID we are always pushing towards that magic mark of perfection: 100%. That’s why we recommend double tagging and because of the low cost structure of tags it is not that more expensive.
This decision, however is entirely at the discretion of the timers, and they need to assess the risk factors presented to each event. Factors like what are the weather conditions, how many participants, density of participants, hardware setup, manual backup available, even the nature of the competitors.
In a recent news item about a major US Marathon, the manufacturer of the system boasting about using single tags stated, “that they did not miss one athlete….in the elite section”. This was certainly choosing words carefully, the elite being an infinitely smaller field (29 entrants of which 18 posted finish times). The same claim was not extended to the whole field of twenty two thousand other competitors!
How many were missed here?
The difference between 99.5 and 99.95 over the 22,500 participants is 100 people going home without a time. If this is acceptable then one tag is just fine, but if you are the athlete, seriously is an extra 30 cents good insurance against being missed ? (that would of course be $1 plus with the other systems due to their inflated tag prices).
The bottom line is all systems will work with one tag. All the main manufacturers are using quality components and in reality their technical abilities are all reasonably similar. So there is no dramatic advantage of one system over another with regard to tag numbers.
It all depends on what the timer is prepared to live with in regards to missed reads, and what redundancies they have in place. Risk management must take all the factors into account, and if price constraints mean that only one tag is called for then other redundancies must be in place to ensure that tags are read to a satisfactory percentage.
At the end of the race the questions have to be answered to those with missed times.
Are you prepared to tell them it happened because you decided to skimp on 30 cents?
Post note. RFID Race timing has no financial agenda in selling more tags as we sell an open system capable of reading any Gen 2 RFID tag on the market. Our motivation in double tagging is in providing our timers with the knowledge so they can do all in their power to provide an excellent service aiming at perfection.
The weather gods relented on Saturday morning 5th May 2012, opening a window of opportunity for the 2012 Busselton 70.3 Ironman event – The largest half-ironman in Australia!! Thunderstorms and heavy rain the night before painted a bleak picture for competitors, however with the last showers disappearing before dawn the sun was out for the event. The wild weather was not without consequence with an onshore swell making the swim conditions tough for the modified 1.8km course.
BlueChip timing has timed this event for the past few years and were prepared for almost anything. Using RFID Race Timing equipment, Stuart Fuller and his team managed a combination of products for the event. All competitors were issued a low frequency transponder chip and read by the HDD for the swim and run legs, while the ULTRA combined with disposable tags on a bike seat sticker monitored the cycle leg and splits. Using the ULTRA in this way negated the need for mats on the cycle course with side antenna capturing the action.
Congratulations go to Ironman 70.3 Busselton Champions for 2012 – James Hodge and Felicity Sheedy-Ryan.
Check out the great video footage here.
Over the weekend of the 5th and 6th May 2012, was the running of the 14th Cincinnati Flying Pigs Marathon. In the prelude to the main event, the 10km, 5km, the Flying Pig Kids’ Marathon and the Flying Piglet Kids’ Fun Run were held on the Saturday and totaled almost 10,000 competitors in the lead-up to the big event. On Sunday the marathon and half marathon distances attracted just under 20,000 bringing a record total for the weekend to 30,993.
In almost perfect conditions Josh Drew from the End Result Company timed the races with RFID Race Timing’s ULTRA systems. ULTRAs were used at the start, finish and splits capturing the disposable tags on the runner’s bibs. A new race for Josh, but he was confident that ULTRA could deliver, with low profile mats and powerful tag readers, there was never any doubt.
Over the weekend of the 28-29 April 2012, RFID Race Timing’s ULTRA timing system was chalking up some impressive races in Norway. On one side of the country Josh Lisac of ToppTid was timing the Bergen City Marathon, while in Oslo Morton Toft of Ultimate Timing was taking care of the timing service at Sentrumsløpet.
Sentrumsløpet was first run in 1981 with just over 1800 and has grown to over 9000 runners in 2012 making it Oslo’s largest running event.
The Bergen City Marathon had well over 1000 runners split over multiple distances (full marathon, half, and 3km), an event similar in setup and size to the Holmestrand Marathon that ToppTid timed 2 weeks before.
”We experienced very, very high read rates at both races. The ultras are easy to setup and can handle massive volumes of runners. I am very impressed with their quality and look forward using them in the future!” was the feedback from Josh Lisac.
For some more great photos and report of the 2012 Sentrumsløpet follow this link.