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Timing chips

Did the Grandma's Marathon timing chips slip?

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The timing chips that Grandma's Marathon runners wore on their shoes to transmit their progress and their finish to sensors failed in at least 25 to 30 cases.

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That's how many calls and e-mails Grandma's Marathon staff received Monday from unhappy finishers who didn't see their names in the News Tribune, said Bob Gustafson, the marathon's public relations director.

Most, if not all, appeared to be from runners of the full marathon.

"They basically were concerned because they knew they had finished and didn't see their names in the paper," he said.

Among them was Dan Moller of the News Tribune's information technology staff, who said he noticed his progress wasn't recorded by the sensors at several points along the course, including the finish line.

"The chip didn't work," said Moller, who ironically is responsible for transferring the data from the race to the paper to make sure all the runners' names are listed.

Grandma's Marathon staff is working with the timing company, ChampionChip Minnesota, to find out what happened and to make sure that the runners who were missed are recorded in the final results, Gustafson said.

He didn't want to speculate whether dampness or other conditions might have caused the chips to fail. Moller said by the finish line, his feet were soaking wet.

Gustafson said the official results always take 10-14 days because of problems that occur.

"The day of the race, all of times are unofficial until we get everyone's time entered, until we make sure we get the results correct," he said.

While all the finishers may not have been listed in the newspaper, they will be in the online results and the race results magazine that's sent to all finishers, Gustafson said.

The particular style of chip, which runners could keep as a souvenir, was used for the first time this year. But the marathon has used chips that runners didn't have to return for three years.

"Chips that are souvenirs are more expensive for us to purchase," Gustafson said. "But it's one more memento."

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