I do results with a computer program that matches time and place. Verifying registrant information produces highly reliable results. Getting in a time crunch on race day causes problems. The exact method employed is changing from race to race in mid 2017.
If I time your race, you have to provide finish line helpers. 2 helpers for very small races and 4 for 200. I have done 400 with cards in a 5K but it took about 12 volunteers and 2 pre-race meetings to do it. Also, you will be asked to provide a spreadsheet of runner First Name, Last Name, Age and Gender. You need to have this for registrant check-in anyway. That said, you could easily use 6 people on any manually timed finish. Anybody involved in the race and not doing anything should be sent to check with the crew to see if they need help.
Speedy Results: As of mid-June 2017, 4 out of the last 5 races I timed were done without having runners fill out a card. (And as this is being written in September, I am waffling and going back to cards because that extra layer of information (bib numbers) that has to be correct, HASN’T BEEN.) Having a runner fill out a card has some big advantages. The runner instantly knows his or her overall place. Checking card info against the database catches typos. There is a permanent record of finish order.
The computer updates place every time a FINISHER is entered.
The race director can start doing awards in sequential order of finish
at any time. Thus, you can get awards to the first finishers who would
likely be long gone by the time the 55 minute 5K folks get in.
If somebody says, “I have to leave. Did I place?” you can ask the
computer operator to see if this guy gets an award.
Sometimes, about 45 minutes into a 5K, you notice that everybody is
leaving. If you want to start awards early, just say so and a printout
of “awards so far” can be produced. There won’t be times in it but you
can get the timer tape and read from that.
Accurate Results: First a note about walks combined with runs: The timing crew cannot respond fast enough when walkers or other people who are not in the race come through the finish. If you have your walkers finish the same place as runners, there is a good chance it will make a mess of the results.
AGAIN: If the runner fills out a card, the cross check of the card with the pre-race info almost always catches errors. Chips, pull tags and recorded bib numbers do not provide this cross check. These methods are much more prone to errors. What saves them from total vilification is that it is very difficult for a runner to catch the mistakes because they don’t know where they placed. But, as automatic timing has become more pervasive, runners more and more expect to just walk away after finishing.
Cost is largely a function of how far the race is from Johnson City, Tennessee. A small, simple, “you provide bibs and pins” (if you want them), established race in town is around $165 and including bibs. A brand new race with mapping and counseling an hour away is going to be more like $300 with a drop in cost the second year. That said charges vary with perceived complications.
If there are no complications and my Hot Spot has enough bars, results will be uploaded to this web site within 20 minutes of completion of the race.