Being a race timer isn’t always easy. Trying to explain the difficulties you have to people who are not race timers? That’s even more of a challenge. In the spirit of Halloween, Lynx decided to take a look at some of the most common, hair-raising, struggles that race timers face. We asked the Lynx community for some help coming up with answers, and boy, did you all deliver! Now, sit back and try to relax because it may get a little TOO scary as we make our way down the list…
Here is what we found to be the Top 5 Most Haunting Experiences for a Race Timer:
#1 Unexpected (…honestly even when they ARE expected) Weather Difficulties
A little rain never hurt anybody, except maybe your camera! Lynx is headquartered in New England, so we can relate to uncontrollable weather. It is always terrifying when the storm clouds roll in, and your event is about to start. Luckily, we supply Lynx rain covers with every photo-finish camera we ship. But if you forget that at home, the bottom line is that water and technology do not mix! Sometimes, you have to get a little creative to keep your equipment dry. Here are some of the ways we have seen timers fight back against Mother Nature:
In the end, we know that timers will do whatever it takes to protect their equipment. We’ve seen people use Tupperware, coffee cups, winter gloves, ice chests, anything to capture clear results, regardless of the weather. And let’s not forget, you need to keep yourself dry, too! Some timers utilize vans or trailers, while others use tents; but if you’re really lucky, you’ll find yourself in a timing booth. Then, nobody has to even think about how to cut the perfect lens-sized hole in your favorite Tupperware container.
The battle against the forecast can be pretty gruesome, but over the years, timers have come up with a few things to put these fears to bed.
#2 Parents Thinking that they Know the REAL Finish Order
You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again. Although Lynx cameras are accurate up to 1/1000th of a second or more, despite the fact that you have everything recorded on your IdentiLynx video camera, and even though you implemented bibs and shoe tags into the race to keep track of every participant, that mother knows for a FACT that her child came in 12th place, not 29th! She saw it with her own eyes. Therefore, the mistake HAS to be on your end. There is no way, not even the slightest chance that the runner maybe didn’t attach their bib properly? Wore the wrong shoe tag? Wore more than one shoe tag? Who wants to tell the mom that her kid can be disqualified for not wearing the right equipment?
#3 Bibs Being Given out Randomly
Bibs are one of the most common issues for race timers that we hear. For some reason, every race has at least one participant who decides to ignore instructions. To clarify, here is what needs to happen: each bib needs to be assigned to a specific athlete, that athlete needs to wear that bib, and that bib needs to be worn how the race timer described as proper placement (commonly on the front of the uniform) to avoid obstruction. Randomly handing out the bibs may save time for the person distributing them, but it is an absolute nightmare for the timer. For Chris K, he cannot escape the fear of bibs – even in his sleep. When asked for some of the most hair-raising situations race timers face, he said:
Just bad dreams of showing up 15 minutes before the race and handing out bibs when you haven’t assigned them in any way.
Let’s make this simple. Athletes – Wear your assigned bib. Do not fold it or rip it. Attach it properly on your uniform. We can guarantee that the timer of your race has spent more than enough time ordering bibs (often custom per each meet), printing the numbers, assigning them to each individual athlete, and more. It does not make sense for them to go around and verify that every single number is on the right person. Do you know how many people there are in this event?! Please, for the timer’s sake, let them sleep at night. Don’t have them worry about how the bibs will get messed up today. Although, it does always make for a relatable Facebook post.
Refer to: How to Put on a Race Bib
#4 Improvising Last Minute
If you’re a race timer, then at some moment in time your technology has malfunctioned. Maybe it was dead, maybe it needed to be put on a different setting. Regardless, timers have all experienced that moment of panic when something decides that it’s not going to work today, of all days, the day of your event. Joseph A. is all too familiar with this feeling, as he told us to:
Imagine this… 1000+ athletes and 100+ teams. The Elite hs meet in north Texas. Cable gets spiked AND chip timing goes out!!!!! No backup camera but we had an iPad with sprint timer app. Ran all of prelims with an iPad!!!! No one knew, til now.
Race timers are some of the fastest thinking people in the world. If something fails, even if they’re not expecting it, they will jump into action. They will do anything to get the results for the race, even if it seems impossible. Sometimes, they don’t even know how they just pulled that off, but yeah, of course they totally meant to do that…
#5 It’s Always the Timer’s Fault
Being a race timer certainly has its ups and its downs, but nothing is worse than knowing that no matter what you do, anything that goes wrong at a race will inevitably be your fault. The starter forgot the start sensor? It’s your fault that the race doesn’t start on time. A kid wore the wrong bib number? It’s your fault that the finish order is “incorrect.” You get all the blame when it comes to mistakes at races, and that may be the scariest thing of all.
Thank you for reading! We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween- but maybe keep an extra IdentiLynx pointed at the door to add a little security in case any angry parents come knocking about finish orders!