Innovative Timing Systems and Timing Chip Stains
After the Mission 5k the other week, I came home to discover a black stain on the front of the shirt which I had worn to the race. I turned the bib over and noted the attached timing chip was from Innovative Timing Systems. I thought back to a mystery stain on another shirt I had raced in earlier this year at the Double Creek Half Marathon and went and checked the bib number from that race… yes, also an attached chip from Innovative Timing Systems. You may remember (or read again in my linked post) that I complimented the timing system from the Double Creek race.
My conclusion from these two bibs and shirts is that Innovative Timing Systems is not using durable enough ink on their timing chip system to stand up to the conditions of the races. I took some time this evening to look at all my bib numbers all the way back to my first race in 2008, and saw three other races which had used this timing system: St Leo’s 10k 3/17/12; Mistletoe Half Marathon 12/3/11 and Green Legs and Hamstrings 10k 3/12/11.
As you can see from the dates of those races, they were not in the heat of summer. I had a photo from the St. Leo’s 10k and so I was able to check the green shirt which I wore to that race and there is no stain there. It seems the sweat and humidity were factors in the staining. While I might humorously suggest that women glow instead of sweat, I will certainly admit to sweating when I run. There, I said it! Then again, I think I’m rather average in that department. I have seen many runners with a lot more sweat. It is possible the smooth, white fabric was also susceptible to staining, but again, they are quality technical fabric shirts – the very kind a race timing company should expect the race participants to be wearing.
I emailed Innovative Timing Systems this evening with a complaint about the quality of their ink. I will follow up on this blog with any response I might receive from them.
However, the point stands that I now have two white technical fabric shirts which are unattractively stained across the stomach. Both have been pretreated and washed and the stain did not budge. You might say that they are workout clothes and what should I care about a stain. My response is that I should not have to be concerned about my bib number damaging my clothing.
While looking through my bib numbers, I found a variety of other timing chips attached to the bibs. None seemed to have any fading or bleeding from the printing. I would suggest Innovative Timing Systems consider working to find out what materials, inks and/or sealants are working for these other companies.
I will now be somewhat reluctant to race in events timed by this company. I had otherwise been impressed with their timing system, so this is disappointing. Though I suppose I can just try to always race in my already-stained shirts, or just always wear black.
Have you ever had a bib number damage your clothing?
How about any other negative results from a bib number, timing chip or other race item?
What would you do?