Timing Operations and Setup: Typical situations around the U.S.
During the spring of 2016 I worked at or visited over 25 different track and field competitions in Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. I continually see electronic timing systems set up with trailers, tents or vans parked on the infield or outside the track and many using generators for power.
The current electronic timing system used by 90% of US high schools, colleges and universities has been around since 1991. Stadium press boxes are still being built with mainly the football facility in mind. Spectators want to sit where the action is and with the design of today’s running tracks, the common finish line is beyond most seating areas.
Timing companies and schools utilize several thousand dollars in computers, printers, timing equipment and displays and they end up majority of the time on the field under a 10x10 tent in undesirable weather conditions. Many times, they end up powered by gas generators that emit exhaust fumes around the timing setup and athletes and is not the cleanest and most reliable form of electrical power.
In May, I provided the timing and results
for a Collegiate Athletic Conference. The facility looked nice, had a top of the line Mondo track surface, plenty of bleacher seating and a decent press box. The timing required three (3) cameras and two (2) separate finish lines. There was no space
on the exterior of the track to properly
place and protect a camera system, the power to the infield for the common finish
line was accessed by several 50-foot extension cords and the second finish line had no power, so two (2) races had to be timed by hand. The scoreboard was only accessible from the press box and the timing was all done from a tent on the infield, so we were unable to provide live results or a running time for the competition.