How did electronic timing work?
Michael Napier (for whom grateful thanks for providing expertise in the SI system) went round the route keeping ahead of the leaders, setting up a (pre-programed) control box at each checkpoint and briefing the checkpoint officials. They were left with a second box to replace the first when it timed out. When he got back to the Event Centre, he set up the Finish and Download Station ready for the first finishers. At regular intervals he generated results lists, using software of his own creation (to overcome the 12 hour roll-over problem that precluded use of the OL Einzel software). My task, after creating the start list - we have EOD - and leaving a floppy for Michael, was to follow up to check for missing competitors. (Ideally) arriving at each checkpoint as the first box timed out, after 80 to 90% of the competitors had passed, I downloaded the data to my portable PC to generate an initial list of Missing Competitors. (SI boxes can only be read once they have deactivated). The second box was set to run for about half an hour, so task 2 was to reprogram the first box for late arrivals. By the time the second box timed out, the updated list of Missing Competitors generally comprised just half a dozen lost souls. The Checkpoint Officials were given a printed list of the names (rather than just the race numbers) of those still to come, plus an estimate of their arrival time, based on times through previous checkpoints. Often it was not worth leaving the reprogrammed box; several checkpoints telephoned through the names and times for the last few competitors. Retirals handed in their SI cards at their retirement checkpoint, so they could be excluded from the subsequent Missing Competitors lists.
How did the participants take to the system?
Very well, considering that none had seen it before (as for as I know). SI cards were pre-prepared by (a) attaching a loop of string to allow the SI card to be hung round the neck and (b) clearing SI cards in advance (avoiding the need for multiple clear stations on the day, for the mass starts). A Check box was provided as a 'demo' at registration. After the event, time adjustments only had to be made for about 10 participants. Some managed to miss checking in at a checkpoint - including an orienteer! One left her SI-card at the half-way point when changing a 'top', and was thereby treated by me as a retirement. Another trampled his SI-card in the mud at a checkpoint, fortunately found later by the checkpoint officials. Two finished, then ran off without going to the download station (picked up from the Finish box). For the relay the SI card was used as a baton, passed on from one runner to the next after checking in at each checkpoint.
Collecting equipment at the end, everything was returned except for 4 SI-cards, which were all recovered over the next week or so. Hence no charges for lost equipment.
How would we do it differently in the future?
The electronic system was run in parallel to a manual system. The electronic system has been proved to work albeit at some expense. Using the electronic system on its own, checkpoint officials would only have to record 'specials' - retirements and those who had misplaced their SI-card. They would be saved the problem of having to record the number of every competitor under adverse (wet) conditions. At least the electronic system does not record a 'wrong' number. The orienteer who missed punching at the checkpoint was recorded manually - but with the wrong race number! Other changes would in the main be incidental. What would help would be if the SI stations could be set to be capable of being switched off rather than having to wait for a pre-set time. Understandably in an O-event it is as well for boxes to be protected from tampering, but for this type of event a switch option would simplify pre-planning. Each box had to be programmed with its own switch on - switch off times, so an easier interface for changing times in SI Manager would have been appreciated - how often do you need to set these times to the nearest second! Now having bespoke software, we can work round the 12-hour roll-over that afflicts OL Einzel - how do they cope for the Tiomila or Harvester, where team times could exceed 12 hours? or multi-event days as at WOC99/Highland 99 if different systems had not been in use?
In short, electronic timing provides real benefits to off road events where you want to monitor progress of competitors. It takes the pain out of competitor recording, allowing checkpoint officials to do the task competitors want to see done (providing refreshments!).
Some details have been removed from the web page to keep within the required quota; if you want details please contact me, Henry Marston
More information about the SI system
Michael Napier's presentation (at O event)
SportIdent's Home Page
Comments on Electronic Timing System
Individual Split times Speeds Team result Retirements
Relay Relay split times Relay Analysis
|1.||Andy Brooks.||Shelton Striders||7:08:15|
|3.||Kerry Booth.||Rotherham Harriers||7:25:05|
Team 1. Kimberworth Overall
24h 32min Martyn Gaynor. 7:20 2
2. Rotherham Harriers
Overall 25h 2min Kerry Booth. 7:25 3 3. Dark Peak Overall
26h 14min Bob Berzins. 7:50
5 8 Stage relay 1. "To Be Shot At".
RHAC Vets Open 5:30:35 2. "Maltby 'A'.
" Maltby Open 6:18:53 3. "Kimberworth".
Kimberworth Open 6:21:09 Ladies 1. "Tarts In Trainers"
. RHAC Lady Vets 7:25:09 Paula Fisher Janice Streets Caroline
Davis Sharon Burton Gill Bunker Wendy Roberts Hilary
Garrison Julia Jennings Mixed 1. Rother Valley Swallows.
7:44:05 Newsgroup Comments Individual Split times Speeds Retirements Team result Relay Relay split times Relay Analysis Take me to the Round Rotherham page, RHAC
page, Henry's Home Page
New Marske Harriers
Kendra Ann White.
York Acorn R Club
Stephen France. 8:20 10
Muneer Saif. 8:50 15
Philip Haigh. 8:40 12
Peter Townson. 8:56 19
Jim Lawrenson. 8:17 9
Kevin Saville. 10:06 29
Steve Elvidge Jerry Spencer Phil Roberts Steve Gaines
Alan Chell John Atkinson Terry Hawley Peter Neal
2. Excess Warriors. 7:52:30
1. Kimberworth Overall 24h 32min
Martyn Gaynor. 7:20 2
2. Rotherham Harriers Overall 25h 2min
Kerry Booth. 7:25 3
3. Dark Peak Overall 26h 14min
Bob Berzins. 7:50
8 Stage relay
1. "To Be Shot At".
RHAC Vets Open 5:30:35
2. "Maltby 'A'. " Maltby Open 6:18:53
3. "Kimberworth". Kimberworth Open 6:21:09
1. "Tarts In Trainers" . RHAC Lady Vets 7:25:09
Paula Fisher Janice Streets Caroline Davis Sharon Burton
Gill Bunker Wendy Roberts Hilary Garrison Julia Jennings
1. Rother Valley Swallows.
Relay split times
Take me to the Round Rotherham page, RHAC page, Henry's Home Page
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Updated on 22 April, 2009