Some of you may have noticed that there have been tweaks to the results over the last couple of days. For full disclosure, here's why changes have been occurring.
We did not get the power plug securely fastened to the chip reader. Thus the chip reader was working on its internal battery and the battery did not have a full charge. The chip reader ran out of battery power at about 10:50 AM. We didnít notice it right away and it was about 11:06 AM when we had the chip reader up and running again.
Thus no times were being recorded in the chip reader during that timeframe, which covered approximately 150 finishers.
Our backup timing consists of volunteers keying in runnersí bib numbers as they finish. This is referred to as select timing. We had two teams of volunteers doing this. So to fill the gap of missing times, we pulled in the select timing data, and that gave us about 140 of those 150 missing times. Iíve received a few e-mails of missing times, so those have been added as Iíve received them.
Our third layer of backup is a video camera. Based on runnersí A-Frame splits, there was another 5 runners that I didnít have a finish time for during our power gap. I used the video to get the finish times for those runners.
One side effect of using the select timing data is that the select timing data can contain typos. For example, one team could enter a bib number of 1460, but the other team would make a mistake and enter bib 1469. I was pulling in both sets of select timing data, thus in the example above, both bibs 1460 and 1469 would receive a finish time, even though 1469 is a typo. Later in the race, when 1469 actually finishes, the software would ignore that time because it already had an earlier time with that bib number. Thus there have also been some corrections to address those scenarios.
Also, the wrong chip was put on 2 bibs. Bibs 1850 and 1849 had each otherís chip attached.
Each marathon bib was double chipped, and there is a mapping in the software that is used to map a chip id to a bib number. So with two chips, both of those chip ids will map to the same bib number.
There were some more problems with the wrong chips attached to the bibs. Bibs 359 to 366, and bibs 376 to 400 all had the wrong chips attached to the bibs. (And I hope there are no more that I donít know about.) So when both of those chips were read as a runner passed a timing location, it would map to two different runners.
Luckily, we double chipped the Marathon bibs and the bottom chip was correct. It was the top chip that was wrong, as the top chip for that group of bibs all had somebody elseís chip attached to the bib. The reason we double chipped the Marathon bibs was to get a higher read rate so we could keep track of everybody on the mountain.
Depending on which chip the reader saw first, mapping that chip to an actual runner had about a 50% chance of being correct. This resulted in some of those runners having the wrong times, since somebody else who actually had that runnerís chip on their bib could have finished before them (and the system takes the first time seen, except at the start, where the last time seen is taken).
The saving grace with this mistake was that each bib was double chipped. I was able to use the bottom chip data as a reference to go through and correct everybodyís times for that group of runners. But itís time consuming, as itís a manual process to correct the times, and it has to be done at 5 timing splits (Start, AF-Up, Summit, AF-Down and Finish).
The interesting part of all this is that I really havenít received very many correction e-mails, and not a single angry-gram e-mail. In other years when there have been hiccups, Iíve received some real doozy angry-grams.
I think the adjustments are close to being done, but it will be at least until Thursday before we declare the results final, and then Matt folds all the result data into his stats.
We had lots of lessons learned this time around. Weíll strive to do better next year. I knew going in that we'd make mistakes since this is our first go-around with chip timing. I'm actually pleased with how things turned out, despite the hiccups.
Thanks very much, and great job to all of you out there on the mountain this year. Even those of you bent over and losing your breakfast looked great.