Bib timing for Sigma Run
Elton Tucker, Assistant Editor - Sport
The most modern road race timing technology will be in place on February 21 for this year's 12th staging of the Pan Caribbean Sigma Corporate Run.
Set to begin on Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston, and end, after a 5.6-kilometre journey through Half-Way Tree, at Emancipation Park, the Sigma Corporate Run will feature the 'My Laps' bib timing system, which was first introduced at the New York City Marathon last November and will be used for the first time outside the United States at the Sigma Run.
Speaking at the launch of this year's event at the Altamont Court Hotel in New Kingston yesterday, race director Alfred Francis, the chairman of the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston and a Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) executive member, said the new timing system would ensure greater efficiency at the event.
Laps bib timing
"My Laps bib timing is a more efficient, simpler and accurate method of timing which is critical to the function of any international race meet," Francis said.
He continued: "In layman's terms, this is the essence of 'bib tag timing': a simple disposable timing chip attached to the runner's bib. The chip relays timing information once the runner or walker goes over the timing mats which are located at strategic points along the race route.
"It allows for efficient registration, significantly reduces chip handling process before the race and eliminates post-race handling. Because of its simplicity it requires zero instructions to runners."
Francis added that this is the third year that a chip system will be in place at the Sigma Corporate Run.
"The first year we used it for a minimum number of persons and last year we used it for everybody. But then, we had to collect back those chips. Now with 'My Lap' we will not collect them. It is more runner-friendly."
Last year, Francis explained, chips were tied to the running shoes of participants, now each chip with all the relevant information will be embedded on the back of each competitor's number.
The event, which is expected to attract as many as 10,000 walkers, runners and persons in wheelchairs, hopes to raise $10 million for the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre and other institutions which care for children with disabilities.
Dr Rory Dixon, the senior medical officer at the Sir John Golding Centre, said the more pressing needs of his institution were special transportation to get students to and from schools; a revival of their swimming programme and equipment to facilitate rehabilitation.
The National Health Fund (NHF) will be contributing $3.5 million of the Run's $10 million target and chief executive officer, Hugh Lawson, said events such as the Sigma Run are contributing to healthy lifestyle changes which will, in the long term, reduce the burden on health care.
Tara Nunes, vice-president, sales & investment services at Pan Caribbean Financial Services, thanked the sponsors who have already come on-board for 2010. They include The Gleaner, Catherine's Peak, D&G Malta, National Baking Company, Wisynco (Ocean Spray Wata), RJR Communications, Pepsi-Cola, Digicel, Digital Technology, Jamaica Civil Aviation, Nestlé Jamaica and Jamdammers Running Club.
"We are all aware of the challenges that are facing our country at this time and the fact that resources are scarce ... It is now more than ever that we need to come together and do all that we can to assist the less fortunate in our society," Nunes said.