Is Chip Timing Still Important?

June 02, 2014

A trend has developed over the last couple years in the “fun run” vertical: do away with chip timing to save on cost. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a fun run is a casual, themed run focused more on the theme than the actual running. This is not to say that the people who participate don’t take running seriously. Everyone still runs/walks the pre-determined distance and can say they ran a 5K/10K/etc.These include neon runs, color dashes, mud runs—anything that has a distinct theme. The Great Pumpkin Run is probably classified as a fun run. It focuses on providing the perfect Fall day while tackling the trails at the farm.

Early on we thought about not timing the event. It would save money and streamline the start/finish area. If others in the fun run vertical are moving away from timing, why shouldn’t we?

I reflected on the first 5K I ever participated in. I was so excited to finish my first race! Later that morning I sent a text to my friends and family. Almost all of them asked “what was your time?” Luckily the race was timed so I was able to hop online, check, and let ‘em know. I wasn’t out there competing—I was out there just to complete my first race. However, it was awesome having a number to tell people. And, it’s great to have that number to use as a personal metric moving forward!

We decided that chip timing was important at our events. Maybe only 15% of the participants truly care about their time going into the race. However, I think a lot more will care post-race and be happy they have an accurate time to share with friends and perhaps use to set the bar for their next 5K.