Hi fellow parkrunners,
as of late, we've been receiving quite a few queries and complaints in regards to runner's finish times. So, what we thought we'd do is outline the finishing procedure for you, in order to give you a better understanding of how your times are tracked.
Step One: The Finish Line
Officially, our finish line is the entrance to the Green Point Urban Park. This means that, once you cross the gates, your time has been logged. You don't have to continue running to the scanning table or anything of the sorts. After you're passed the gates, you're done. Now comes the slightly complex part.
Step Two: The Timekeepers
The timekeeping devices that we use to clock the runners coming in are extremely accurately (where applicable). The time, down to the the split-second, is logged and recorded against your position. When a runner crosses the line, the timekeeper "laps" the run on the device and this is assigned a position (ie; Runner 1 is "lapped" as Position 1, Runner 2 is "lapped" as Position 2, etc) and stored in the device. It can get tricky when more than one runner at a time crosses the line but, in this scenario, the resolution comes when receiving a Finish Token (you are awarded the time that matches up to the finish token position).
However, other issues we encounter, such as runners crossing the line twice (when going back to run in with another person etc) or runners exiting the funnel through where they entered and not past the scanning table, are not so easily solved and cause havoc with results.
Unfortunately when this occurs there is very little that we can do. We do announce at the start of every run that there are rules for the runners to observe and we rely on you, the runners, to follow these rules but ultimatly the responsibility to ensure accuracy falls not only on the shoulders of the Core Team but as well as on the runners themselves. If we do not receive the required support from runners, in keeping to the rules et al, then we cannot deliver the best possible experience to them.
Step Three: Finish Tokens
Once a runner has completed their run, crossed the finish line and had their time captured, they need to ensure that they take a finish Token. The responsibility to receive this token is on the runner and not the volunteer in the funnel. When large groups of runners come in together, it would be near impossible for the lone finish token volunteer to try ensure that they hand a token out to everybody. If you finish the run before somebody but neglect to take your token, you will ultimately receive an incorrect result.
How it works is as follows; if a runner finishes in 20th position in a time of 22:45 ("lapped" on the timekeeping device) but waits before collecting their token, then the person finishing after them, in a greater time, will end up receiving the time and position of the runner who actually came in 20th.
The timekeeping devices "lap" your run and assign it a number, as explained above, and this number on the timekeeping device correlates directly with the finish token position. For this reason, we ask all parkrunners to ensure that they collect a finish token as soon as they cross the finish line.
It is also extremely important that you leave the Finish Tokens with the volunteer at the barcode scanning station. If a runner takes the barcode home with them, then effectively what happens is that a running position becomes an "unknown result".
So, while you may have finished your run and been "lapped" as position 30, because somebody else has taken Finish Token 30 home with them, you would then receive finish token 31. This would, undoubtedly, affect the results, however, as we have little to no control over whether the runners take the tokens home with them or leave them, as required.
Step Four: Barcode Scanning
The final step in the procedure is actually quite simple. At this point a runner should have a) crossed the finish line, b) had their time lapped by the timekeepers and c) collected their finish token from the volunteer. After these steps have been observed, the runner should present their parkrun barcode for scanning and then hand in their finish token. This step, while the easiest, is the most crucial, as it is at this point that the time and position is linked to the runners profile.
It is important to note that, once you have received your finish token, it does not matter what order you get scanned. As long as you crossed the line, for example, in 136th place and took finish token number 136, then you could wait until the very end to get scanned. We do not advise this but the fact remains that, once you have received your finish token, there is no observed order to get scanned in, however, for the sake of consistency and ease, we ask that parkrunners do their utmost to get scanned as soon as they complete their run. this helps avoid a bottleneck in the funnel and block up the entrance to the Urban Park.
If all these steps are observed then the runner should, in theory at least, receive the most correct time possible. In the instance of any sort of technical faults, the Core Team will do their utmost to inform the runners as well as recitfy the results as much as possible before they are submitted to Parkrun HQ.
Hopefully this clears any confusion up in regards to how times are logged for your run.
For future events, we will not be entertaining requests to amend times based on personal GPS and timekeeping units other than the official parkrun stopwatches, as there is no way for us to validate the accuracy of the results.
If you have any questions, suggestions or criticisms, please let us know. You can post on the facebook page or email us at email@example.com