RFID Race Timing
Foot races like 5ks, marathons, triathlons, fun runs, or school races are timed and set up in order to provide race time, finish places, lap times, grouping places, and/or other information to all participants.
RFID technology provides an accurate and efficient way to do this by automating the typical manual process of timing race participants.
RFID hardware is setup at finish lines, start lines, and/or at certain increments in order to read the RFID tagged participants with 99.9% accuracy.
If you are starting from zero, or need a Race Timing Refresher - checkout our Full Race Timing Bundle below to download 71 pages of Race Timing + RFID including graphics, checklists, and setup examples.
Types of Races Timed with RFID
Track & Field
Road Cycling Races
Why Do People Make the Switch From Manual Timing to RFID Timing?
Depending on the number of participants, some races are difficult to time manually so that all runners and their exact times are recorded. Without any automation, the chances of receiving correct times for all runners is burdensome and difficult, especially if there is only one or two people watching, recording numbers, checking the clock, recording times, and so on. If one of the individuals recording times is distracted for a few seconds at the finish line, multiple runners may be missed.
RFID technology takes some of the stress out of the timing process and ensures that the vast majority of participants are read and receive an accurate time. Most systems have no problems reading every single tagged participant, but, in case an RFID tag falls off, is broken, or isn’t read, most timers incorporate a secondary timing method as a backup. Secondary methods include a photo finish, video of the finish line, or a manual timing by a volunteer.
Who Uses RFID for Race Timing?
RFID Race Timing Systems are purchased by companies that time races professionally, running groups or clubs, schools and colleges, or business that hold/sponsor races. These groups then hold, manage, or sponsor races with their RFID System in the chosen locations.
What Equipment Makes Up An RFID Race Timing System?
An RFID Race Timing System is made up of the same basic components of every RFID system - an RFID reader, RFID antennas, antenna cables, and RFID tags. Depending on the placement of tags, either ground antennas or panel antennas with the addition of mounting brackets and tripods or trusses can be used. The amount of equipment that is needed depends on a few different factors like:
- Number of Participants
- Width of Finish/Start Lines
- Concentration of Traffic at Finish/Start Lines
- Tagging Method
Race Timing Tag Placement - What to Know
In an RFID Race Timing System, it is very important to determine where the RFID tags will be attached to each participant’s body because tag read range and accuracy are greatly affected by the water content in the human body. There are five recommended tagging methods for timing races with RFID:
- Bib Tagging
- Double Bib Tagging
- Shoe Tagging
- Hip Tagging
- Wrist/Ankle Tagging
Each of these five tagging methods is frequently used in race timing, and has its own pros and cons. For more information on those, and other recommendations – checkout part three of our RFID Race Timing eBook Series, RFID Race Timing Series.
Learn More About RFID Race Timing with our Race Timing eBook Series
- RFID Race Timing Series: Part One
- RFID Race Timing Series: Part Two
- RFID Race Timing Series: Part Three
Learn More About RFID Race Timing with These Articles
- 4 Types of Race Timing Systems
- Race Timing Best Practices
- All About the Timing: RFID is Changing how We Race
- From Marathons, to Mountain Bikes, to Motocross - Timing Your Race with RFID
- Build Your Own RFID Race Timing System
- RFID Insider Podcast 1: RFID Race Timing and Impinj Speedway Readers
- Chip Timing vs. Gun Timing: What is the Difference?
- Racewire and the RFID Race Timing Industry
Race Timing RFID Sample Packs
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