There comes a time in your life when you have to take a stand, a time when you get pushed past your breaking point, a time when it’s no longer possible to just sit quietly and take it. This is my time. My time to go to the mattresses, my time to demand my rights, to scream at the top of my lungs “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” and then get up and slam the door on my way out.
It’s time for me to bring down the thunder on that scourge that has plagued the running community for too long now: Chip-timed races that only chip time the finish. I don’t see anyone else stepping up to denounce this practice so it might as well be me. I’m probably the person best suited for a little misplaced rage and overreaction anyway.
It has happened to Viper, it has happened to Dan, it has happened to me, and it has happened to my wife at the alcohol free St. Paddy’s Day 5K which was almost the same as if it happened to me because she just went on and on about it until I finally promised to make an issue of it at Half-Fast. Can we let it go now honey? I’m telling you guys, Hell hath no fury like a runner mistimed.
When you tie that timing chip onto your shoe, you think that you don’t have to be near the front of the pack or weave through traffic like Richie Sambora in order to get out of the gates quickly. You take your time getting to the start, even allowing the woman with the double jogging stroller to cut in front of you and 48 seconds after the gun goes off you’re crossing the starting line. That’s when you notice that there’s no freakin’ timing mat at the starting line, your race is already off to a crappy start because you’re 48 seconds behind your goal pace and while that might be easy to make up over a long distance race, this is a 5K.
What is the point of using timing chips if you’re not going to provide a chip time? You can give everyone a gun time by taking pictures at the finish or by having someone tear off the bar codes as people cross the line. When it comes to chip timing races I subscribe to the Baconator theory: do it right or don’t do it at all. I’m not going to cheat on my diet by having a low fat turkey burger, I’m going to eat a Baconator and then wash it down with a Brownie Earthquake and another Baconator.
The practice of only providing a gun time at races that are “chip-timed” seriously chaps my hide. If you are a race director who is engaged in this practice, then you are cordially invited to kiss my sweaty buttocks at the finish line.