Since that first year without getting to use any chips I've dealt with chips that were attached to velcro straps and then fastened to your ankle that were kind of bulky. I've also used chips that fasten through your shoe laces and then have to be removed and returned after you finish the race, unless you feel like paying about $30 to keep it. That wasn't fun after running 13.1 miles or whatever. I've also used a chip that goes through laces but is disposable. And then I've used the "D-Tag" timing chip, which is also disposable. It comes attached to your bib number and you peel it off, then slip it through your shoes laces and take it off whenever after the race at your convenience.
So while timing chips have gotten progressively smaller, lighter and easier to get an accurate "net" time for a run even with thousands of people ahead of you, it looks like the Frederick half marathon I'm running this weekend is taking it one step further. Their "B-Tag" timing chips come adhered to the back of your bib number, but you just leave it there and pin the bib on as usual. It does not need to be removed and placed on or near your shoes. Take a look:
And here's a close-up view:
Again, I don't know how long it's really taken to get from no timing chips to timing chips you don't even have to think about, but I'm pretty amazed that it's gotten from nothing to this for me in under four years.
I just wonder whether I'll have to run over timing mats anymore or will they put up something along the sides of the road that you run through like how stores have those things you walk through that set off an alarm to keep you from shoplifting if you don't get that thing removed from it.
Guess I can think about that while I'm run/walking miles 10-13 this weekend. Sigh.