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Runners' times recorded using microchips

PUBLISHED: 10:18 16 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:29 05 July 2010

THE hosts of the Great East Run in Bungay made club history yesterday by casting aside stopwatches in favour of electronic chips tied to athletes' shoelaces for the first time.

THE hosts of the Great East Run in Bungay made club history yesterday by casting aside stopwatches in favour of electronic chips tied to athletes' shoelaces for the first time.

The 20k race, which attracted athletes from across East Anglia for its 10th anniversary, gave Bungay Black Dog Running Club race organisers a chance to see how electronic timing compared to traditional techniques.

Before starting the race, each athlete was required to attach a lightweight chip to their shoelaces which was timed to the gun, and identified them as they crossed electronic mats at the finishing line.

The technology is designed to give more accurate recordings and eliminates the risk of human error.

Chairman of the race committee Roland Shaw said the Race Timing Systems technology was a success and would be used for the club's biggest event in the racing calendar, the Bungay Marathon, which takes place on April 19.

“It has been really good as we used to have a lot of people running backwards and forwards, looking at bib numbers,” he said. “It cuts down on the number of people we need and enables us to collate results in a matter of minutes, so we were able to announce the results of the early finishers while the later finishers were still running.”

The race, which is just short of the half marathon distance, started and finished at Bungay Sports Centre and passed through neighbouring Suffolk villages.

The 500-strong field was about 100 runners down on last year, which Mr Shaw put down to the credit crunch and a rival race on the same day, saying he was hoping for a big turnout for the club's next major event.

“A lot of people use this as a training race to a bigger running event such as the London Marathon or the Bungay Marathon, so it's well-positioned,” he said.

The drizzle did nothing to deter the first woman home, Tamara Jordan, from Stowmarket Striders, who broke the course record by one minute, finishing in a time of 1hr 16mins 20secs. She was nearly four minutes clear of her nearest rival, Jane Clarke from the City of Norwich club, with Tracey Curl from Norwich Road Runners taking third place.

The men's race was won by City of Norwich runner Neil Davison in 1.10:16, with Benvenuto Baldelli from Cambridge & Coleridge two minutes behind in second and Charles Lound, representing Dulwich Runners AC, coming in third.

Full results can be found at www.greateastrun.org.uk

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