Getting Caught Up in Finishing Times

You remember how the Fort Lauderdale half I ran last week had some issues with timing? Some of us got caught at a draw bridge and others got caught at a train crossing. The race was kind enough to provide two sets of results – the “official” time and an “unofficial” or adjusted time based on these two factors.

I am not sure how the adjusted time was calculated though because my official time is listed as 3:03:20 and my adjusted time is listed as 3:03:21.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 10.55.26 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 10.55.10 AM

So basically, instead of subtracting X minutes from my adjusted time they added one second?

I couldn’t help but notice that other people have complained.

Someone on the Facebook Page wrote, “Official time 1:45:41. Unofficial time 1:45:42. Watch time around 1:41.”

Another person wrote, “I had two minutes less on my watch than your official or unofficial time.” 

And a third person wrote, “You do know the unofficial and official are the same right?”

So, the general consensus seems to be that the race times are off by 2-3 minutes, which is what I believe as well since I crossed the finish line in under 3:01 and both of my times are listed at 3:03.

I saw one person comment about the draw bridge and the official response was that people who got stopped at the bridge were running slower than 16 min per mile which is the cutoff time so their times wouldn’t be adjusted, but that would be impossible since at that time I was averaging about 13:25/mile and my finishing time averaged out to 13:45. Even if my time WAS 3:03 there is no way I could have been averaging 16+ min/mile at the bridge and finished in the time I did. Maybe the drawbridge went up twice?

Plus my time WAS adjusted and an extra second was added.

I know I really should not care what some website says about my finishing time, nor should I care about a couple of minutes here or there. It really shouldn’t make a difference…. but it is kind of driving me crazy!

I should be like the person who commented and said, “Wow folks! It was a race for fun. Yes we all take our training seriously but we are not professionals. Get over it and just put an asterisks by it and chalk it up to an unfortunate part of an otherwise great event.”


I want to be like them, and I usually am! I guess the couple of minutes here just matter to me because this was such a big PR race for me. I don’t want to put an asterisk next to it!

Even with a 3:03***** finishing time I still had a huge PR day so I really should not care but … hmmmm!

This is just adding more fuel to the fire for my upcoming half marathons!!!

And just so this post doesn’t seem too negative, I will leave you with one of my favorite pictures from this weekend:


Can you believe this guy?! 😛 He’s living the good life!

Have you ever experienced a race timing issue like this before? Or ever had a bit of a grey cloud hang over your PR times?



  1. November 17, 2014 / 6:46 am

    This situation would drive me nuts. Yes, it’s only a couple of minutes, but it is YOUR PR!! That’s important stuff! And if they are going to adjust times for runner delays, they should at least get that right!!

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:10 pm

      Yes exactly! Since they delayed posting the results in the first place to adjust the times I wish they would have at least made an attempt to get it right. I can’t see how adding a second to a bunch of people’s times made sense to anyone… So weird!

  2. November 17, 2014 / 6:47 am

    You are completely justified in being annoyed with the finishing times. I would be extremely pissed. Especially because the adjusted times aren’t even closer to being accurate! That does not make any sense to me….

    As for the people that say “suck it up, it’s no big deal”, well, that is diminishing what the race means to other people. Some people train their asses off to hit a goal time, pay big bucks for registration, and maybe even big bucks to travel. To some, it IS a big deal. I personally don’t race a lot, so if I spent the $$$ on a race and traveled, I would be very angry. It would seem like a waste for me.

    I feel like the two things you should be able to count on in a race is that the race course is accurately measured and it is not compromised by something that could add minutes to your time. Waiting for a car to pass by- eh. Waiting for a BOAT!? Whole other story.

    As you know, there is a huge **** by my 10k time as it wasn’t even a 10k! I am annoyed by that as I didn’t sign up for the race all willy nilly… I trained for weeks to obtain an official 10k time. Instead, I got a 5.9 mile time.

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:14 pm

      That’s exactly how I feel, the adjusted times are further away from the actual times, so I’m not sure exactly who did these calculations or what they were based on. The race organizers are now saying we can email our Garmin times and they will adjust our previously “adjusted” times to basically say whatever we want them to, which annoys me EVEN MORE somehow! They don’t seem to be taking it seriously at all. I mean I could email in and say my Garmin time was 2:59 and they would just go ahead and change it from what it sounds like >:(

      I’ll be back again for this race next year because it’s *my* Fort lauderdale race, but I hope they learned some lessons from this year. Last year when they had a different sponsor everything went really well.

      Are you planning to run another 10K sometime soon-ish?

      • November 17, 2014 / 11:13 pm

        Oh my word, the emailing the Garmin is just the worst thing ever because some people will lie.

        I was thinking about doing a 10k soon after my last one but my piriformis and IT band were a little… iffy so I didn’t want to push it. I would like to try it again eventually though!

  3. November 17, 2014 / 7:32 am

    Agreed, it is annoying. BUT it is also just a humbling reminder that we are all human and race mistakes happen and it makes the flawless races all that much more appreciated!! And we all already know you’re crushing it out there =)

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:15 pm

      You are so right, Amanda. I don’t think I ever appreciated race organizers / timing companies before the way I will going forward! I have taken their good work for granted in the past!

  4. November 17, 2014 / 7:33 am

    That is so strange! I am surprised they didn’t do a QA check to make sure it logically made sense! I had a couple of instances in which the official results was wayyyy off the official time. I emailed the race officials and they fixed it to approximately where my watch was. One time they put in gun time results instead of the chip time results for the final (they did not split them out until much later in the week.

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:18 pm

      I think they did do a QA check… supposedly they delayed posting the results in the first place to make sure they accounted for the issues on course. However, they still appear to have gotten it wrong. The race organizers are now saying we can email in with the time from our Garmins and they will make the change to our adjusted times, but that just feels wrong to me for some reason. I mean I could email in with any time… 3:00:44 (my Garmin time) OR 2:59:00 the time I wish I ran and I think they would accept either.

      That’s frustrating to hear that your race posted gun time results instead of chip times!

      I suppose these things happen. I think normally I wouldn’t care, this was just such a big PR for me that I hate feeling like it’s tainted! Boo!

  5. November 17, 2014 / 7:34 am

    Yep, I’ve had a race mess up my results. It is really frustrating, but fortunately for me, it wasn’t a PR. Their timing mat system failed and they lost all of the results and used finish line photos to estimate finish times for all of the races. Or they let people submit their times and have them added to the results. A person bumped me from 2nd in my age group to third, with their submitted time. But there is a picture of them crossing the line a few minutes behind me. So frustrating! But you’ve just got to let it go.

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:19 pm

      Oh my goodness, that is super frustrating! Way worse than my experience.

      You are right…. gotta just breathe deeply, blog to vent and let it go!

  6. November 17, 2014 / 8:05 am

    That’s so weird. They really need to come out and just say, “Look, this is exactly what happened and next year we plan to redesign our course without stops.” I ran a small race in September where we still had to watch for local traffic – police were directing traffic but still good to be mindful. No adjustments for time but I never had to stop. But with things like drawbridges and train crossings, I really feel that they need to take that into consideration when designing the course from the get-go.

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:21 pm

      I agree! The course was different last year and we didn’t have any issues. This year there is some construction on the far end of the beach which I assume is why the course was different. Hopefully next year we’ll be back to the regular course!

  7. November 17, 2014 / 8:36 am

    This would drive me crazy too but I full on dive into the next race to overcome…see tomorrow’s post lol. As much as I expect race timing to be accurate for the money I’m paying, and the coordinators to fix this mishap properly, it’s out of our control. Time to circle the next race on the calendar and train for the sub 3. I know you have it in the bag.

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:24 pm

      Of course you are right! I need to just move on … I just really needed to vent because it’s been driving me crazy since they posted the adjusted results. I just don’t understand how they added a second to my time? So bizarre!

      I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post! Can’t wait to hear what you have on tap next!

  8. November 17, 2014 / 9:04 am

    That would be annoying that the “corrected” time is +1 second…I would be frustrated. BUT, let it fuel you for your next PR—You WILL get those 3 minutes back in the next race!!!
    I wish I could get as comfy as our pets are able to…they are living the life!!!

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:25 pm

      YES! Now I am even more grateful that I have another race on the schedule so soon. Hopefully I can knock this one in December out of the park and laugh about the timing mishap! 😀

  9. November 17, 2014 / 9:47 am

    That must be so frustrating. Maybe you can turn it around and just think of it as extra motivation for the next race. It sounds like you’re totally ready to get that sub-3 time, but even if that isn’t going to happen, all you need to do is PR by a second so you can drop that pesky asterisk! 🙂

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:26 pm

      Is it sad that I now hate the word asterisk? haha

      The next race can’t come soon enough!

  10. November 17, 2014 / 1:04 pm

    Honestly, I think I’d be more annoyed by them saying they’re fixing it, and then screwing up the fix (and not admitting to it), than if they’d just said “sorry, the times are the times, we couldn’t control the drawbridge/train” and just left the official times as is. Because if they hadn’t tried to adjust, then you *could* legitimately go, “this is my official time, but realistically subtract x minutes because of the drawbridge”, whereas now it’d look like you’re lying because they’re saying they adjusted for that even though they didn’t. Sure, in the grand scheme of things the race time doesn’t matter, but I think there is an argument for the principle of the thing, when a company says they’re doing something for their customers and ends up making the situation worse.

    I fortunately haven’t personally had that issue (I guess a couple times of being stopped to let traffic through an intersection, but never more than 15 seconds or so, so never enough to make a different), but a couple years ago when Karey and I did a NYE 5k, she got caught behind a train, for about 5 minutes! I was waiting at the finish line for her, worried about what happened to blow up her race as the time went past when I was sure she was prepared for, and eventually went indoors (cause this midnight on NYE, cold!), later finding out why she’d been delayed, otherwise she’d been on track for the expected time range.

    I don’t think they adjusted the official times, but they did alter the course the next year, so it was at least nice that they acknowledged the issue that way, and took steps to at least prevent it from happening again.

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:28 pm

      They have sort of admitted to it in that they are allowing us to now email them with our Garmin times and saying they’ll adjust the previously adjusted times. However, that somehow feels extra dishonest. Even though submitting my Garmin time would allow me to have the accurate time listed, it feels like cheating. I mean, I could probably email in any time within a +/- 3 to 5 minute range and have it accepted, you know?

      This year the course was altered because there is some construction going on at the far end of the beach. Hopefully next year we’ll be back to the normal course.

      That stinks about the train on your 5K course. I mean five minutes in a 5K is a HUGE deal! That would be sooo incredibly frustrating!

  11. November 17, 2014 / 2:00 pm

    Apparently someone out there is worse at Math than me, even I would have subtracted….bizarre. It would irritate me for sure because i hardly ever get to race. It’s so frustrating to have a time fail! Isn’t that why we run these things to have an “official” result.

    • November 17, 2014 / 3:29 pm

      Same here! This was only my third half marathon ever and I was really proud of it. Well, I still am proud of it, I just wish the times listed on the website were more accurate.

      I’m glad I vented here on the blog today, now I just need to breathe deeply and let it go!

      • November 18, 2014 / 10:58 am

        I am on my 3rd half too 🙂 Yes, it would have killed me if they would have messed up my time Saturday! You are going to get great runs in this winter!

  12. November 17, 2014 / 4:10 pm

    Ugh I would be SO annoyed too-especially when it’s so blatantly incorrect!!!! It sucks to not have an official PR time, but you’re improving SO much that it’s only going to be your PR for such a short amount of time. Totally agree with your frustration and I think it is 100% justified-but don’t let that asterisk damped your happiness about such an AMAZING PR!! 😀

    • November 17, 2014 / 10:18 pm

      Thank you, Bae! I hope you’re right and that I can PR again at Palm Beaches next month!!!!

  13. November 17, 2014 / 4:24 pm

    Well, I like that you are just going to use this as inspiration – after your next half you will have a new official PR I’m sure so maybe then this won’t bug you so much.
    Weird about the official/unofficial times – I think that there is a glitch in the system!!

    • November 17, 2014 / 10:19 pm

      Haha yes! Just a little glitch! It’s almost funny since they added time instead of subtracting it. I wonder who was responsible for adjusting the times? Oy!

  14. November 17, 2014 / 5:48 pm

    That would be really tough to get stopped by something that was out of your control during a race and then have it not handled properly by the race directors. Personally, I believe they should treat all athletes the same. If the leader of the race would have been stopped, don’t you think they would have been very responsive to that situation.

    Perhaps to avoid this altogether, they should map a route or course that does not have potential barriers for the runners. At least you are aware of your time and PR – and you should be PROUD of it!!

    • November 17, 2014 / 10:24 pm

      I am giving the race directors a little bit of leeway because I know they had to use an alternate course this year. There’s a lot of construction going on at the north end of the beach so instead of running down the beach from miles 5 to 13 this year, we only ran the beach from miles 8 to 13. The alternate part of the course before the beach is where the train and the bridge issues occurred so I hope we’ll be back to normal next year! Fingers crossed!

      It is frustrating though that they took the time to make adjustments and yet the adjustments are just so odd and totally off!

  15. November 17, 2014 / 7:21 pm

    I would be annoyed too. It just doesn’t make sense! How is everyone’s adjusted time 1 second faster??? Well , I do know some runners why keep track of their times & PRs by their watch time instead of official time. In cases like this, it really makes sense.

    Love the picture! I love when they have their tongues out like that.

    • November 17, 2014 / 10:26 pm

      I have no idea! That’s the weirdest part of all. The race directors said they waited extra long to post the times because the timing company needed to make the adjustments … but the adjustments made make no sense! So weird! I’m really glad I had my Garmin with me!

      I love when they stick their tongues out too while sleeping, so adorable! I just imagine he’s dreaming about laying in a box full of treats, haha

  16. November 17, 2014 / 8:38 pm

    So, I would not be running this race again ever if I was in this mess! Time is VERY important during a race — even if you are running for fun, and a timing error is unacceptable in my mind. My friend ran a marathon in Seattle a few years ago and the course was measured too long. So they had to adjust everyone’s time. That sounded super annoying, too!

    • November 17, 2014 / 10:28 pm

      I’ll sign up to do this race again because it’s so convenient for me since I can walk to the startling line and walk home from the finish line, but if it wasn’t so convenient I don’t know if I don’t it again.

      I think an extra long course would be the most frustrating scenario that could happen at a race. During that last mile you’re pushing and just NEED that finish line to come up!

  17. November 17, 2014 / 10:36 pm

    Yes, but…sometimes it’s really nice to know exactly where you stand with your running times. I feel your frustration.

  18. Juhee
    November 23, 2014 / 1:01 pm

    I know this wasn’t the focus of your post but Cecil!!! So… cute… can’t handle…