Jason N wrote:
Or the RD could get a couple of teenage volunteers to sit under an umbrella just prior to each turnaround, armed with two clipboards and a list of race numbers. Someone comes by with a visible race number, they get crossed off each list.
Let's say I'm the time keeper/RD. You got flagged as cutting the course. I DQ you. You go and find the video link that I uploaded to tell me that, "if you look in the upper left hand corner of the video 1 and 3, you can see me run by." Well, someone has to go and dig up that video to analyze whether your statement is correct or not ... that's not 0 labor. Say I have 2 cameras out on the run course and 3 on the bike course at key turn points. That's potentially 2 videos that I have to upload and then analyze if you decide to protest your DQ. Now, if I want to be really thorough, I may want to do a sanity check on the other 3 videos to make sure that you were seen. Multiply this by 5-10 athletes, which Sportstats said was on the low side, and all of a sudden you are spending a lot of manpower.
Then, there's the cost of hosting those video on a server somewhere for long periods of time. The cost may be minimal, but there is now a new cost that I have to worry about. Like I said, doable for WTC ... not so much for smaller races where they are already at the margins.
Someone without a visible race number gets yelled prior to the turnaround at to produce the number (unfold it, yell it, whatever) when they come back after the turnaround. Next step up is to have each volunteer write down the numbers so you get an ordering. Next step would be to have each volunteer write down the number while someone else calls out the current race time, so you get a timestamp ordering.
Not every problem needs a high-tech, high-cost solution.
This is what they do at Honu 70.3. It is a single loop course but there are about 5 "finger like" out and backs which you could easily cut. They have a timing mat at each turn around, but in addition to that they have volunteers with clipboards just in case you "lost your chip."
I'm not sure people with a clipboard solves the issue as it still leaves the door open for human error and therefore people will claim "I was there, they must have not seen me" or "they wrote my number down wrong" or "the page with my number must have gotten lost" or "well as you can see from my data I ran a 4:30/min/mile pace on that segment and I ran by so fast they missed me." (or worse.. someone has their friend volunteer to write down the numbers.. and magically the cheaters number is on the paper, etc.) Paper with numbers adds to the mystery of "What happened" but it doesn't shut the door on doubt or crazy explanations that people might use. The JM case is a good example... if there was a paper recording of bib numbers from IMC this year and her number wasn't listed at a location it doesn't really change much, someone can still claim the data is inaccurate. Even the photos people have pointed to could be called into question unless there is 100% proof that the photos were in chronological order that day with timestamps, etc and they were posted online in that order, etc. The only clear solution is a camera recording video at all critical locations on the course. It's pretty black and white at that point... you were either there or you weren't and if the camera didn't see you run through then you weren't there. I am sure some cheaters would still claim "yes I was there, my brother saw me, I don't know why the camera didn't, etc." but at least the RD would have full confidence in his/her decision to DQ someone knowing there is little doubt in what took place on the course. I am sure in many cases it is very difficult for an RD to quickly look at some data anomalies and make the DQ decision. Video would clear that up pretty quick.
And.. maybe if WTC and smaller race organizations don't adopt the GoPro camera idea then maybe the ST community jumps in and makes it happen. This would not be difficult to do... we tend to have a huge number of people spectating and volunteering at big races. For the cameras we can just use older GoPros... gen1 or 2 devices that people have sitting around with no purpose (because they have been replaced with 4k gizmos, etc) I bet we could round up 20+ old cameras from the ST community for a "camera pool" to be used at major races. We just need a battery solution to keep them running all day (older units have awful battery life.) We set them up on the course at all critical path locations and post the raw video on a social media sharing site. Bonus is that we get some good race footage and we can all see ourselves out there on race day (personally I don't really want to see how I look 10 hours in as I am sure it's quite awful.) Knowing the tri community is out there with cameras on the course might be just enough to scare the cheater into staying home. In addition it would give all of us who "think" someone might have cheated us peace of mind when we can go back and look at the video from the day and see that.. "yep.. that guy really was ahead of me the entire race", etc. We would likely see less false accusations as there would be no guessing... we would have a birds eye view of how the day unfolded for everyone. Create some catchy ST phrase for it... publicize that this race is being "Slowtwitch-corded" (marketing people please help!) I'd love to see WTC and other take this on but until they do the community might need to step in and prove the value.
It solves the problem in the sense that if you lose your chip, you have a questionable time, you don't have GPS data, and you aren't marked on the clipboard you get DQ'd. The athlete can bitch all they want about the volunteer not marking down their number, but the RD and timing official will have sufficient evidence in their eyes. JM was DQ'd without clipboards and number marking, so obviously the burden of proof is not that high, but would at least add to the evidence for or against an athlete's claim.
Of course you could use video in certain spots if you can afford it and are willing to review all of it, but that doesn't prevent someone from jumping in a car or on a bike between timing mats or video spots so there is no full proof method short of video taping every athlete for the ENTIRE course.