April 5, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 14

Foot races just got hi-tech in Petersburg

Participants in Petersburg triathlons and 5-K runs will soon have the quickest, most-accurate race results than any other area in Southeast Alaska.

With a financial gift from the Chamber of Commerce, the Petersburg Parks and Recreation has purchased a Jaguar Cubby Race Timing System from Innovative Timing Systems.

The system, which costs about $4,000, uses radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to transmit data from a chip on each of the runners to a computer that tabulates race results.

The RFID chips are worn usually on clothing or in shoes. As the runners cross the finish line the results are available instantly, said Donnie Hayes, director of Petersburg Parks and Recreation.

“As a group of people come across the finish line we hand type the finishing numbers, and it's not very accurate,” Hayes said of the way race results have been tallied.

Race results taken by hand result in a time-consuming process, Hayes said. “As far as technology goes, it's a huge step up,” he said. Hayes added that he plans to have the system ready in time for May Fest events.

The new chip-system will also be used by Petersburg High School cross country meets coming this September, said cross country coach Jo Ann Day.

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