Any great city run is as much a social as physical exercise.
The organizers of the Times Colonist 10K, the 23rd edition of which takes place through the streets of Victoria on April 29, have responded to that by instituting a timing system that will allow the participants progress through the race and their times to be posted automatically to their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
The format, put in place by the company Race Day Timing Services, is a first for British Columbia and has previously only been used in the New York City, Chicago and Singapore marathons.
When the runners or walkers go over mats placed across the road at the 5K and 8K marks, as well as the finish line, their time and place will automatically be transmitted to their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Participants can sign up for this free service beginning two weeks prior to the start of the race.
Im not sure if I want my time posted on Facebook, quipped Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, who plans on racing in the Times Colonist 10K.
At least theyll know where to send the ambulance.
As of Wednesday, 7,157 people had registered for the 2012 event. A total of 416 teams have registered, with 49 of them being school teams. The number of registrants in 2011 was 13,086 with 10,205 of them crossing the finish line.
Organizers said they expect to breach the 14,000 registration barrier for this years event, which includes the Thrifty Foods 1.5K Family Run.
This is more than just a race, said Fortin, during a press conference Wednesday announcing the new timing system. It reflects and defines what Victoria is all about. It feels like you are a part of something huge.
In another first for the event, the timing chip will be embedded into the back of each race bib.
The system can handle an unlimited amount of people you can imagine how large the New York City Marathon is and is reliable, quick and accurate, noted former UVic Vikes runner Mark Nelson, owner of Race Day Timing.
Family members or friends can go on to Facebook from anywhere in the world and know how you are doing in the middle of the race. And you no longer have that big [timing] disc strapped around your ankle, which you used to have to return after the race or lose your deposit. You can simply dispose of this chip as you dispose of your bib.
Lucy Smith, former international runner and triathlete and past womens winner of the TC 10K, can envision what the future holds in terms of this race technology.
Facebook is a very visually rich medium and I can see a time in the future where cameras could be added to the process and everybody can also have their picture posted automatically on their page as they cross the 5K and 8K marks and the finishing line, she said.
The Times Colonist event is the second-largest 10K in Canada, behind only the massive Vancouver Sun Run.
This will be the second year for the new one-loop course, starting at Government and Belleville streets and snaking downtown to Fairfield to Dallas Road to James Bay.
To register, go to www.tc10k.ca. For more information, call 250-744-5538.
© Copyright 2013