DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
I recently ran a 10K in Houston. My chip time was fastest in the masters division, but another woman had a faster gun time. She was deemed the masters winner. I won the 45 to 49 division with a gun and chip time faster than the other competitors.
So, my question: Are places based on chip or gun time? Is there a standard practice from race to race? And, if chip times don’t help you in placing/winning, is the only use for chip time to qualify for Boston (or another race with qualification standards)? Thanks in advance! Kellie
A few things here...
First, the race has to be clear on its website and its application as to how the race is going to be timed and scored. Many races these days are stating that gun time will be used for the overall prize winners (i.e., top overall men and women or even top masters men and women), but net time (the time recorded by the timing chip) will be used for all age-group scoring and awards.
If I understand you correctly, you won your age division and also had the fastest net time of all women 40 and over, but when they gave the masters women’s award, you didn't win, since that one was determined by gun time.
So, if you are in a position to win your age group, you should find out before you enter how the race is timed and scored. If it is clearly stated that they will be using gun time to score all award winners, then it certainly would behoove you to line up as close to the starting line as possible so that your gun time and net time are the same (or as close as possible).
You should also be sure of the race’s definition of the masters division. Is it everyone age 40 and over, or is it limited to just those in the 40 to 44 or the 40 to 49 age group?
There is no right or wrong choice by the event in either of these matters. Many races just aren't as clear as they should be, so it is up to you to find out before you enter the race so you can be strategic.
And, to answer your question about the Boston Marathon, we do accept net times for qualifying purposes.