How ChronoTrack D-Tags Work

Runners in the 2006 Great Gorilla Charity Race take to the streets of London.
Runners in the 2006 Great Gorilla Charity Race take to the streets of London.
Miles Willis/Getty Images

The American psychologist Timothy Leary once observed that, as humans, we continually face the "frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we're going in this ocean of chaos."

Obviously, Leary wasn't a running enthusiast.

Because if nothing else, runners often pride themselves on two things: knowing where they're going and knowing exactly how long it took to get there. Maybe that's why they're so fanatical: The race simplifies the entire, freaking human condition.

Ah, but it's not quite that easy. Throw enough competitors out there on the road and even a footrace swells with complexity. Larger marathons can feature runners by the tens of thousands. Imagine even a fraction of them crossing the finish line at the same moment hungry for their best time, and you get a taste of the problem.

Fortunately, humans don't have to face that timing problem on their own. We have fabulous technology to lessen both our logistical and our existential dilemmas. The ChronoTrack D-Tag is one such technology, using ultrahigh frequency (UHF) radio-frequency identification (RFID) to track runners' feet as they race past antennas at key points along the course.

The result? Clarity and certainty about your place in the universe -- or at least 99.84 percent certainty [source: Pique]. And you don't even have to drop acid to get there.

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