Prize Money in major races like the Boston Marathon should be awarded based on Gun Time
The weather at this year's Boston Marathon was horrible. Many elite runners and others just could not handle these conditions and did not finish. For the first time I can remember, several female runners that started in wave one placed. With all the pressure of the media, the B.A.A. is going to hand out cash awards based on chip timing. This year's race should be looked at as unique and I do endorse the B.A.A. decision. But to change things in the future would not be a good idea. Chip timing works for age-group but most major road races use gun time to award prize money. In fact, gun time is the only time accepted by both USA Track & Field and the International Association of Athletics Federation. David Monti, publisher of Race Results Weekly, wrote Sports Day, "To score an elite race based on chip times is both rare and risky. It's risky, because it is possible for an athlete to purposely start well behind the elites, say five minutes, then compete for prize money clandestinely and out of view. It's very possible that the first man or woman to break the tape will not actually be the race winner if the race is scored on chip time. How would that look?" We also know that there are people who cheat. It is much easier to keep track of the smaller elite fields than a field of thousands. I think we do need to stick with gun time in the future for the overall top open places.
posted Friday May 4th
by Bob Anderson