Race Report - South West XC at Grammarcombe

These are always great events to time at - really friendly! This time saw a change of format which made things much better from a timing and (I think) a competitor point of view. Instead of multiple categories each with a different number of laps, there was a set number of laps for all categories and as soon as the leader of the whole race completed, the flag came down. So I could give accurate lap updates for once! The setup was using Sportiva Events  excellent passive RFID kit. It's shown below. It was made up of two readers (R1 and R2) and five circular polarized antennas (A1, A1-4). Timing software was of course Webscorer. The setup - riders traveled from the foreground of the picture towards the gazebo. Here are the results from the analysis of the reads- The big difference between this and past events? Running a reader with a single antenna. This massively improved read rates on the line. For the manual taps, one was a single pass by a lead rider (not sure why he didn't s

Race Report - Something Wild Festival

This was a Wild Running event, split over three days. based at Huccaby Farm in Dartmoor, a variety of races took place. I will note now, this post only covers technical aspects such as comms and timing! Aside from a brief discussion about GPX files, all route stuff is up to the race director. GPXs, GPSs and navigation via smartphones Due to various goings on with route markings, the importance of finding your own way was highlighted in this race. Now whilst I'm a firm advocate of using a compass and map, I am also on occasion lazy with my navigation and use my watch.  My watch - a Garmin Instinct - highly recommended! I cannot underestimate the importance of making sure your GPX is correct, whether it is for a training run or a race (in which case, ask the race director). That's before we get into the age old discussion about battery life and the susceptibility of technology to fail when you need it most. Also, for race directors, if you pre-import your GPX into Garmin and Suun

Race Report - Something Wild Festival - Fell Race

Rather than roll this report into the main Something Wild Festival timing report, I'll do it separately as it corresponds to a separate timing system. My love for Webscorer is well documented in this blog, and just before this race was supposed to take place Webscorer released a new update. This allowed "helper" devices to assist with on screen timing via tablets / laptops / phones. The instructions for setup are here . This race was timed in this way. What is the race? It's a fell race with around 100 participants. It's my favourite type of racing, where runners have to pick the best line they can between points. Normally over vague paths / pathless terrain, they tend to be very friendly, low key events. This one was on Dartmoor. So... timing? Webscorer app timing (no chips here), but split between two tablets (both android). it works, it works really well. The only thing to note is that there is a "send data" button on the bottom of the Webscorer scr

QR Codes

 One of the most time consuming things about race timing is sorting out the timing ships. This stands regardless of the method used. Inevitably at the end of a race you have a pile of chips (potentially soggy and muddy) which need cleaning, missing ones will need to be checked for and they will need sorting into a coherent order ready to put into race packs for the next race. I manage Wild Running's fleet of NFC chips in this way, and I'd got fed up of it. I keep the chips in a large box, numbered sequentially with bib numbers. However, I use the chip UID rather than programming the bib number into the NFC chips (which is an option on Webscorer ). It gives a marginally faster read. I still needed to be able to work out which chip UID was assigned to which bib, however I did not want to spend hours sorting them, putting them into order, working out which chip was missing and reassigning chips, changing my master list of UIDs etc. Takes too long. So using an idea from Ben at Spo

Race Report - The Wild Dart Swim

Timing back to back events whilst having a day job is a bad idea. Timing back to back events whilst having a day job and very little sleep is an even worse idea. This became very apparent last Saturday morning, at about 3am as I was attempting to turn around my car on a farm track I never should have gone down. It's probably fair to say my prayer life had a significant boost that morning as the smoke rose from the clutch. It was a lesson in realising a) whilst my Skoda Octavia is good, it's no mach for a Land Rover on rough ground b) I cannot do it all by myself and c) there are going to be times when I have to trust others to put out timing checkpoints. The event had two water exits / finish lines, two transition checkpoints, and one aquathlon finish line at the end of the run. I was using two remote timing setups (phone plus speaker plus two bluetooth NFC scanners) and four bluetooth NFC scanners connected to the tablet at the finish. I was also using the finish tablet to tim

Race Report - Green Lantern

Two weeks ago I was out on a decidedly damp Exeter evening timing the Green Lantern race with Wild Running . By damp I mean torrential rain. It was a self nav slightly longer than half marathon run, around the Green Circle route which envelopes Exeter. I haven't run it yet but want to. Timing was all NFC chip based using bluetooth NFC readers as described by Webscorer here . There was one timing point on the course (two readers plus a phone and speaker), and one at the finish (tablet plus four readers). The timing point on the course was using a SIM CRITICAL , whereas the finish was using an EE SIM. Firstly a note about the SIM CRITICAL - it works, it works really really well and I'd highly recommend them for low data remote timing points. Webscorer was setup to use multi-device timing and that worked well, with live results being streamed directly onto the web. Starts were individual and activated by a runner scanning in, me manually tapping them out via webscorer. There were

Race Report - Burrator 10K

 It's a few weeks back now, but I timed the Burrator 10K with Sportiva Events . Under normal circumstances this a closed road, fast, mass start event which is done and dusted in a couple of hours. Not so in covid times. The race starts were spread out over the course of five hours, with the 10k runners starting in small waves every two minutes and the 5k runners starting after that, also in waves. As anyone who has timed any race in the last 18 months will know - wave starts, especially with a lot of people, can be a headache due to wave changes etc. This was no exception, but those changes are easy enough to rectify. The start was a point A on the map below (for the 10K) and the finish and point B, and there was no mobile signal worth talking about. Starting times were recorded using webscorer on a mobile phone. The finish line was made up of three UHF RFID readers (we were using passive tags), four floor antennas and six side antennas. Network was provided by a small consumer 4G