March 24, 2010

Of Times & Chips: The Globe Run for Home

Timing chips, one of the most in-demand gadgets in running today. What's in it that attracts thousands of runners to join races? Is it because of the post-race runpix analysis or to simply outdo your personal best? Well, whatever it is, this chip is now a major component of the booming road races in the country, even though it's not cheap. But did you know that there was an international race in the past that did not post an official runpix result albeit the use of the deadly accurate timing chip. Pwede pala 'yun, and being a participant then, I felt I was deprived. And maybe so were the runners who joined since we understood that along with this chip come a runpix analysis.

the chips from what we've raced... so far

How It Works - The Technical part

Chip timing systems feature two components: a chip that carries a unique identification number, and a number of mats that activate the chip. The chip - along with an energizing coil - is encased within a durable shell, often glass or plastic, which is then housed in another plastic case. The shell is weatherproof, which allows for the chip to be worn in any racing conditions, regardless of temperature or moisture level. Significantly, there are no batteries inside the chip, and it can be reused again and again. (But not in the philippines wherein disposable ones are commonly used).

The chip's transponder is passive, and sends no signals until it is placed within the magnetic field created by the special mats. But once within this field, the coil within the chip becomes energized, produces an electric current, and powers the chip's transponder. The transponder sends a signal, reporting its own unique identification number, and this signal is captured by the "receive" antennas in the mat, and then collected by a computer. The mats contain two types of antennas. One type creates the magnetic field, while the other detects the signal emitted by the activated chip. The mats are placed at key locations along the course of a race: the finish, often at the start, and, at larger events, various checkpoints. A battery and some wiring are attached to the mat, providing energy to the "send" antennas, which create a magnetic field. The entire process of activating the chip and recording its signal takes merely a fraction of a second.

The recent globe run for home 2010 was another testament of how this timing chips attract runners. Reportedly, there were more than 8,000 individuals who joined.

Two weeks after my ultramarathon race, I lined-up myself at the middle of the 5km runners. The plan was just to feel the rhythm of running short distances again, and this race was a good opportunity to test my old self. And so I ran in tempo pace after the horn was sounded until I found myself increasing close to my old racing pace in just a little while. There's something in me that projects me forward in each stride I made, maybe the timing chip laced in one of my shoes. I enjoyed my run as I went along and found myself in the finish line where people were a scarce at that time. An odd feeling for me for quite sometime, but, luckily I found my name on the first page of the 5km race results. Sana may runpix ngayon.

Did the timing chips made the difference? Personally, I guess so.

More pics from the race here.
And check-out photovendo here.


  1. Nice collection :D.

    The timing chip and the web analysis are two separate companies. Sponsors can opt to get just the chip or both.

    The previous int'l race did not purchase the web tool. Kaya siguro the published result was considered unofficial. Im not sure. But those times were taken from the chip.

  2. Hi Jinoe, but why are they using timing chip if they can't make it with the runpix? Dapat these two come in tandem di ba, considering the high reg fee. IMHO.