For the second year, L.A. Marathon officials will deploy an RFID solution to track the running times of its competitors. More than 20,000 competitors at this year’s marathon, scheduled for May 25, will be issued RFID-enabled timing tags to be attached to their shoes.
The time-tracking solution is provided by ChronoTrack Systems Inc. The company’s “D” timing tags are attached to a runner’s shoe with a plastic strip backed with highly durable adhesive designed by labelstock convertor MPI Label Systems. The strip is bent into a “D” shape around the shoe’s laces, ensuring a uniform placement of each runner’s tag for the optimal timing result – other time-tracking solutions allow more flexibility in the runner’s placement of the tag, which can cause uneven results.
Each “D” timing tag carries a UPM Raflatac UHF Gen 2 DogBone RFID tag and Impinj Monza 3 tag chip. The tracking solution is completed with a series of five ChronoTrack urethane ramps placed at critical timing milestone points along the race route. These ramps use UHF antennas to transmit race data to Impinj speedway readers, and ChronoTrack controllers format the collected data for use in scoring software packages.
At the 2008 Los Angeles Marathon, the ChronoTrack solution provided accurate time data for 99.84 percent of all participants. This was comparable to results achieved with higher-cost time-tracking solutions used previously.
“Our third-party timing verifier told us it was the most accurate timing method he’d ever seen, and he compared it against the same method used to time the Olympics. Both race setup and cleanup were much easier—hours instead of days— and we needed fewer volunteers and far less equipment,” said Terry Collier, Executive Race Director of the Los Angeles Marathon. “We easily saved between fifteen and twenty thousand dollars.”