Agee Race Timing - $0.10 shoe tag idea.
Someone that purchased the software was asking me my thoughts on tag placement. My expectation is that most people will buy the UHF inlays (called a wet inlay because it has an adhesive backing) from somewhere like Alien or Avery Dennison and then just get the free bib numbers from RoadID or RunnersWorld or another site like that. They would then simply stick the UHF inlay on the bib and then use my software to tell the tag what bib number it's on.
However, I have another idea I'd like to run by everyone and see what they think. This would be a MUCH more reliable method - which means it will handle even larger race, and it would be a lot easier to set up the finish line area. I will be testing this idea over the next few days (starting tonight) and I'll share the results.
I like the idea. It's similar to what I used on one of those mud races.
Why would you take the tag off the bib? This increases the chance the participant will make some sort of error.
Yeah, you're right that the likelihood that someone will misplace the shoe tag prior to the start of the race is probably higher, and of course they may place the inlay on the inside lace of the shoe instead of the outside lace of the shoe - which of course increases the likelihood that they accidentally rip it off, and finally it's possible that even if they did put it on right, they may decide to fold it back and tuck it between their shoe and their sock so that it's not flopping in the wind.
However, with any method - including using bib numbers with built-in tags - you have to worry about people forgetting to put it on, people putting it on their outermost clothing and then taking the item off and wrapping it around their waist, and of course reading through torsos and reading the tag on a very sweaty individual where their bib number is pretty much glued to them.
As for the shoe tags: If someone misplaces it, it's easy to issue them another tag at any time in the software - especially if you purchase the optional TR200. I've ran many races over the years where shoe tags were used - and knowing that the tag was how I was going to get a finishing time caused me to take extra care not to lose it and to put it on correctly. Also, the inlay is so small, it will not be noticeable at all to the runner. The inlay flopping around is actually a good thing - the antenna's only need to see it for a millisecond in order to read it - so a flopping inlay that is facing the antenna would actually provide greater reliability than a stationary inlay facing 90 degrees in relation to the antenna.
Maybe the best option is what I mentioned in another post. Sticking the inlay on medical wristbands like this: http://www.tabband.com/TabBand-Stat-p/tabbandstat.htm.
I'm going to be testing every possible tag position this weekend and I'll let you know what I find. One member of this website shared his idea, and it will remain confidential, but if none of my ideas work then his idea will be my recommended tag position - however the end user can do whatever they want.
Anyone else have any other ideas? I'd be happy to test them.
We use Mylaps bibtag and we seem to have over a 99% read rate - last week out of about 330 finishers we had two bad reads that I know of - one could be attributed to clothing - the other is a mystery, probably a bad tag. Amongst the timers I know there seems to be universal agreement that the tag on bib solution is the best. The challenge is telling the runners to wear it on their chest unobstructed - but as race directors and timers we should be enforcing that for safety and selects anyway so at least it's justifiable.
Have you tested the idea? Does it have to be long? A similar method for a mud race with obstacles and mud (obviously) and several other perils seems to still be reliable. Bibs are great, but runners can put them on in all sorts of ways, and some even put them on a layer that gets moved mid race depending on the season. Participant education is key.
Originally Posted by Brian_Agee
You'll probably have to do a good bit of R&D because most feedback on a non-existing product will be just baseless speculation anyway. Past experience will give you a sense of what to look out for, but collective experience shouldn't be relied on to the point of limiting innovation.