When organizing a track meet or road race, always use a manual backup method for backup timing.
How many times have you seen a “NT” for “no time” next to the final results?
You can’t re-run the race. Some meet organizers don’t care as the race is to determine who wins, place, or show. Give out 3 medals… ribbons in high school… next race, please!
But if you require a time for standards, qualification, or funding purposes (i.e. carding in Canada), that’s another story.
In a road race, your goal of running a marathon may be qualifying for the exclusive Boston Marathon with their “tough” qualification standards (I can hardly run a 8 minute per mile, let alone for 26 miles!)
While we are on the topic of faulty mechanics, you can argue the same backup recommendations using (**cough cough**) wind gauges for 100 & 200m in World Record or Personal Best performances.
Here is an article from the last Honolulu Marathon and a technical glitch resulting in inaccurate finishing times. I feel sorry for some of these runners who were trying to qualify for Boston, but then again, if you are going to run a personal best in a marathon, there are other marathons with flat fast courses and desirable weather conditions.
A technical glitch has jeopardized the results
Inclement weather created massive problems with a relatively new electronic timing system in the 35th annual Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, leaving hundreds — perhaps thousands — of runners without proof that they completed the grueling 26.2 miles. Others did not receive accurate finishing times.
“We didn’t have our equipment weatherproofed as well as we should have,” said SAI Timing’s David Simms, who has worked with the Honolulu Marathon for 21 years. Intense rain caused an electrical short just before the start of the race, leading to problems with the transponders that competitors wore on their shoes and the software that interacted with them.
Apologetic officials admitted that the effort to streamline the system and save money backfired, and promised to do whatever they could to obtain the information that competitors needed.