Results of Rowbotham's Round Rotherham

Saturday, 11th December, 1999

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!).

Take me to the Round Rotherham page, RHAC page, Henry's Home Page

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

Individual Male

 1. Andy Brooks.    Shelton Striders   7:08:15  
 2. Martyn Gaynor.    Kimberworth   7:20:56  
 3. Kerry Booth.    Rotherham Harriers   7:25:05  

Individual Female

1. Sharon Gayter.   New Marske Harriers   8:09:00
2. Kendra Ann White.  Quakers   8:51:43
3. Julie Bushell.   York Acorn R Club  9:29:56


1.  Kimberworth  Overall 24h 32min

Martyn Gaynor.  7:20 2
Stephen France.  8:20 10
Muneer Saif.  8:50 15

2.  Rotherham Harriers  Overall 25h 2min

Kerry Booth.  7:25 3
Philip Haigh.  8:40 12
Peter Townson.  8:56 19

3.  Dark Peak Overall  26h 14min

Bob Berzins.   7:50 5
Jim Lawrenson.   8:17 9
Kevin Saville. 10:06 29

8 Stage relay

1.  "To Be Shot At". RHAC Vets Open  5:30:35
Steve Elvidge  Jerry Spencer  Phil Roberts  Steve Gaines
Alan Chell  John Atkinson  Terry Hawley  Peter Neal

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.  7:44:05
2.  Excess Warriors.  7:52:30

Newsgroup Comments


Split times



Team result



Relay split times

Relay Analysis


Take me to the Round Rotherham page, RHAC page, Henry's Home Page


FastCounter by LinkExchange

Updated on 22 April, 2009