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What is RFID?
The timing tags employ RFID technology, or Radio Frequency Identification. The tiny RFID chip inside the tag works much like your favorite radio station. Both the RFID tag and reader are tuned into the same frequency to enable them to communicate. As you cross each timing mat your tag communicates with the mat and records what time you crossed. 

RFID technology is currently used in many applications across the world, in everything from missiles to pet tags to warehouse inventory tracking – anywhere that a unique identification system is needed. The tag can carry information as simple as a runner’s name and bib number to something as complex as instructions on how to assemble a car. RFID chips are being used in hospitals to track a patient’s location as well as the location of doctors, nurses and medical equipment. Retailers use RFID to track inventory in real-time. Race timing is a natural extension of this technology.

What is the difference between tag timing and the traditional timing chips?
Although the technology inside is different, the way you use a timing tag is very similar to the way you would use the traditional timing chip. The tag attaches to your shoe on race day and is read by mats along the course, just as a chip would be.

What are the advantages of RFID timing tags?
Timing tags are unique to each individual runner. The tag will have your bib number pre-printed on it so you can be assured that the tag you received is your tag. They are also disposable and don’t need to be collected after the race.

I own a ChampionChip. Can I use it instead of the timing tag?
No, personal ChampionChips may not be used. All runners must use the timing tag provided with their packet. The timing mats along the course will not pick up the signal from any ChampionChip device.

How do I make sure I have the right tag?
Each tag will be clearly marked with the bib number of the participant to whom the tag is assigned. Because the timing tags are clearly marked with the runner's bib number, there is no need for "chip check" or "tag check" at packet pickup. The purpose of traditional chip check was to ensure that the chip given to the runner was the correct chip. Because the tags are already labeled with the runner's bib number, there is no need to check that the tag is correctly assigned. The tag is always "on" and does not need to be activated. There will be no "tag check" or "chip check" at the EXPO.

What is tag time and how is it different from gun time?
Tag time (Chip time) is recorded by an electronic tag that is attached to a runner's shoe. Your tag records the time at which you cross the start line, the finish line and several split times in between. Tag time is often shorter than gun time because tag time begins when a runner crosses the start line while gun time starts when the gun is fired; many runners don't cross the start line until several minutes after their official gun time has begun.

Why use tag timing?
Tag time is a more accurate measure than gun time of how long it takes a runner to complete the race. Tag time is only 100% accurate for the first row of runners, who cross the start line when the gun sounds. Runners who are farther back are "on the clock" before they even cross the start line, making their gun time longer than the time it actually took them to complete the course.

What happens if I lose my tag?
Your tag will be attached to your bib when you pick up your packet, so the likelihood of losing your tag before race day is very low.

If you do lose your tag, you will not have an official time and will not be recorded as an official finisher of your race. This means that you will not be able to use your race time to qualify for other races, such as the Boston Marathon. Since the tags are disposable, you do not need to return it after the race. This means that the days of being charged a fee for not returning your chip are over!

What if the tag gets wet?
The tag is completely weatherproof and will work regardless of rain, heat, storms, humidity or other inclement conditions. To see a video of the tag working in water please click here.

How accurate is tag time?
Tag time is the most accurate form of marathon timing available because it measures the exact time between a runner crossing the start line and the finish line. Tag time also records several important splits, providing an accurate record of a runner's pace.