RFID Helps Run the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon

January 24, 2013 Krysia Johnson

Krysia at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon

This race is HUGE! I was waiting in line for at least an hour to pick up my bib for the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon. Winding our way through the Wide World of Sports complex we couldn’t believe how many people would be at the start line with us on Sunday. A little research told us it would be around 27,000. Finally, we got to the front of the line, found our booth to check-in, and picked up our race materials. The volunteer who was checking people in explained to us that this race would be using a newer technology to time our run – a ChronoTrack B-tag.

A B-tag? Yes! At first I was just thankful that we wouldn’t be tortured with the Velcro strap around our ankles that have a hard tag attached for race timing. Then, I got excited to run my first race with the tag attached to the bib rather than wrapped around my shoelaces. I always have a (unfounded) fear that it will come detached from my shoe partway through the race. We went over to the testing station to make sure that all of our tags were working properly and would be able to correctly identify us throughout the race. Success! Each of us were able to see that the tags were working correctly and we were ready for the run on Sunday.

The 26.2 miles was definitely a long slog. It was hot, hot, hot. Each time I saw one of the readers on the course catching a running split I knew that I was that much closer to the finish and it kept me going. I mentally kept track of what my Garmin watch was telling me my time was to that point– I wanted to compare later on. Finally, the finish line came within sight. Phew! I made it! Now, thanks to the B-tag, I have a permanent record of finishing the race that I can use to compare to other runs and to motivate me in the future. Every split was recorded. I’m definitely hoping my next race uses the same race timing technology.

The Walt Disney World Marathon relies on Powered by Impinj RFID race timing technology from ChronoTrack Systems, which is used at 25 of the 30 largest running races in the United States. Learn more about the technology and read how the LA Marathon succeeds with Chronotrack’s system in the case study.

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