Friday Five: The Time My Chip Didn’t Work

Almost every runner has that race where something doesn’t go smoothly. I’ve had a race where my GPS watch didn’t track me; this of course happened after the infamous Boston Dad incident, and all I could think about was what if this had happened during my BQ moment and I didn’t have proof. I’ve run a half marathon where I ended up with no pictures of me on the course, and the only pictures of me were at the finish line. That was another paranoia of mine after the Boston Dad incident, not that I was close to BQ’ing especially during a Half Marathon. And then it happened. My timing chip did not work. And the kicker was that it was during an out of nowhere completely unplanned Half Marathon PR. Then again in LA, my timing chip worked until the final finishers mat! For this Friday Five, I’m discussing the 5 ways to react to when your timing chip fails.

  1. Remember that most racing staff and/or timing companies will work with you to rectify the situation. At Columbus, I emailed giving them an estimated time of finish, and my watch time. For LA, I did the same and they validated the time on the finishers video. Both instances, I provided as much information as I could, they asked any additional questions they needed, and never once did they doubt my story or treat me as if I was suspicious (which is exactly what I had expected).
  2. You are not alone. Timing Chips fail. It happens. I think most experienced racing staffs and timing companies expect to handle a certain number of these issues each race, and have a well planned out course of action for response.
  3. GPS Data is Gold! For both Columbus and LA I was willing to provide my GPS data. And I think in the instances when the running community has questioned a runner’s finishing time, a simple solution is to supply the GPS data and squash the doubt.
  4. You most likely won’t know your timing chip failed until after you finished, so at least it didn’t affect your actual performance. Don’t let it affect your celebration of your accomplishment!
  5. Breathe. There is only so much that is in your power to control. There is no reason to get worked up about it. Send the email, and then let it go. I’m not saying don’t obsessively stalk your email, if that’s how you roll (like I did). I’m saying that there is no reason to get yourself worked up until you get that the yah/nah response from the company.

Question: What was your biggest racing oops? And how did you handle it?



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