Timing a Race

Now that you have setup your race file, you are ready to learn the basics of race timing with Zone4’s software.

Timing Dashboard

The timing dashboard is your home during the race. This will give you an overview of each racer’s progress through your timing points and help you detect potential timing issues.

To get to your timing dashboard go into your race file and click on the Timing button at the top of your page.

Summary Chart

The summary chart is a quick way to keep track of the statuses (on course, finished, DNS, etc) of all your racers. It gives you a count of how many racers are:

  • On course (Green Section)
  • Finished (Blue Section)
  • Set to DNS (Dark Grey Section)
  • Set to DNF (Light Grey Section)
  • Set to DSQ (Red Section)

The number in the center of the circle automatically shows the number of racers that have finished. However, you can hover your cursor over any section of the circle to see the number of racers with that status instead.

You can also click on sections of the circle to get a list of all racers with that status.

Course Groups

In the Course Groups section you can see a count of all the racers with a certain status for a specific course.

There is also a Times drop down menu beside each course name. This menu gives you options for viewing racer times for a specific course. These options are explained below.

All Assigned Times List

To get to the All Assigned Times window for a particular course group click on the Times drop down menu and then click All Assigned Times.

The All Assigned Times list is a very useful feature that you will use during your race. Here you can see all the times that have been assigned to all the racers in a particular course group. You can also fix incorrectly assigned times here by re-processing all times.

In this window you can see all the racers in the course groups listed on the left and the time they crossed each timing point to the right.

You can sort a column from first to last racer crossing time by clicking on the name of that timing point and selecting Sort this column. This can be useful for finding incorrectly assigned times.

Assigned Times List for an Individual Timing Point

You can also view times for a single crossing point in a race. There are two ways to get there.

Method 1: In your All Assigned Times window click on the name of the desired timing point and select Open Crossing View.

Method 2: Beside a course group click on the Times drop down menu and then click on the desired timing point name.

In this window you will see a list of all the racer’s times for that timing point ordered from first to last person across. You can also see racer times for the previous and next timing point.

A number in the top right of the screen shows you the number of racers between that timing point and the previous one.

You can use the arrows at the top right of the window to go to the times list for the previous and next timing point.

Racer Statuses

Here is good place to find and set racer statuses. Click the Set Racer Statuses button to open up the Racer Statuses window.

Here you can see tabs with all the possible statuses at the top of the page. You can click on any of these tabs to see the list of racers with that status.

In the DNS, DNF and DSQ tab you can search for a racer by their bib number and then hit enter to mark them that status.

Timing Points

At the very bottom of the Timing Dashboard you will see a section labeled Timing Points. Here you can see a list of all the timing points with their associated timing devices.

You will notice that your timing devices will all have a red exclamation mark beside them initially. Before your race starts you must make sure that each red exclamation mark has been changed to a Green Check Mark.

This Green check mark means that your devices have been able to get chip times and that these times can be seen in Zone4 Timing.

IMPORTANT: Test All Your Timing Points Before Hand

The Green check mark is a great way to test whether your timing points are setup correctly before your race. In order to get your timing device to go from having a Red exclamation mark to a Green check mark, you must test your device before your race. This means once you have setup your timing point, run a chip (one that isn’t assigned to a racer) over the timing loop. After the computer has had time to process the data you should see the green check mark. If the timing point is setup incorrectly then the device will still have a red exclamation point.

For detailed instructions on setting up a timing point click here.

Recording Start Times

Recording a start time is one of the important things to do when timing your race. Here you will learn multiple methods for setting a start time.

If you aren’t worried about being precise or if you trust your race to start exactly on time, you can use the Scheduled Start Time that was set when setting up the start list as the “Recorded Start Time”. To learn how to do this click here.

In most cases however you are going to want to record the actual start time for your racers.

Recording a mass start time

It is very important to record a mass start time for your race, even if you are using a chip start format.

Using a timing device

First you will need to assign a timing device to the start timing point in the Courses Page. Follow the instructions on the Course Setup document to learn how to add a device to a timing point. For a mass start this should be a keypad device (usually a phone with the Zone4 app).

Once this is done you will be able to record a group start time by assigning a time to the bib number of any racer in the start group.

To do this:

  1. Open up the Zone4 Go app on the phone you assigned as a start device
  2. Go to the Keypad tab
  3. Type in the bib number of any racer in the start group
  4. Hit the + button
  5. All the racers in that start group will be assigned that start time

Changing an Incorrect Mass Start Time

If you enter an incorrect bib number on the timing device or record the start time at the wrong time you can manually change start times in the Start Times window. To open this, scroll down to the Start Times section and click Manage Recorded Start Times as shown below.

Here you can erase incorrect start times and manually write a start time in the box as shown below. Keep in mind that if someone has entered the incorrect bib number when assigning a start time, the time may have been assigned to the wrong group.

If you record a time without a bib number attached to it, or a bib number of somebody who is not in the race, you can find the time by clicking on Device Times Grid beside the start timing point.

This will bring up a window, where you can see all the times recorded by that device and the racer associated with the time.

Times not associated with any racer will be highlighted in red.

Once you have found the actual start time in the grid, you can copy it into the Manage Start Times Window.

Entering a Mass Start Time on the Web

In the Start Times window you are able to record a mass start time for a group from your computer. To open this window, scroll down to the Start Times section and click Manage Recorded Start Times as shown below.

Here you can see a Record button beside each start group. Clicking the Record button will assign a start time to the group corresponding to the moment it was clicked

This is a good method to use when you are doing a chip start race. The recorded mass start time won’t automatically be assigned to racers, but it can be used as a backup start time or to check the validity of individual start times.

Recording Individual Start Times

In an Individual Start race (for example, a time trial) you will first need to add a device to record start times. Follow the instructions on the Course Setup document to learn how to add a device to a timing point in your race. 

As start times are recorded on your start device, they will be automatically assigned to individual racers.

Setting a Start Window

Start Times by default use the last recorded start time for each racer. This works well if a start time is accidentally recorded for a racer before their true start time. However, it can also cause problems if you have volunteers keying in bib numbers at the start line and they accidentally type in the number of somebody who has already started. 

You can add a restriction to only accept recorded start times that are within a certain threshold (often 15sec) of the racer’s scheduled start time.

To do this navigate to the Settings page and scroll down to “Race Start Setting”. Set Record Start Times to Only around the scheduled start time and type in the desired length of time in Start Tim Window as shown below.

Remember that if your start gets out of sync with your schedule you may need to adjust this time window.

Correcting Individual Start Times

If for any reason a racer is given the wrong start time or no start time at all, you can type in a correct start time for that racer:

  1. In the Racers page search for the racer by name or bib number

2. Click on their name to open their Edit Racer window and go to the Timing tab.

3. In the All Recorded Times section, you can see every time that has been recorded for that racer. Find the racer’s true start time in the list and copy it.

4. In the Assigned Times section, find the Individual Start box. Paste or manually enter the racer’s start time in this box.

Just like with the mass start times above, the Times Grid for the start timing point can also be useful when looking up the racer’s correct start time if you can’t see it in their Edit Racer window.

Editing Racers

From the All Assigned Times List you can click on the name of an individual racer to bring up their Edit Racer window.

The Edit Racer window will be one of your most used windows in Zone4 Timing on race day. This window has three distinct tabs as pictured below.

  • Racer Info:  This is where you can view and change any information for an individual racer. Here you will be able to change a racer’s category, race distance, correct any misspelling in their name, or assign them a new number.
  • Timing: This is where you will be able to view and fix the times that are assigned to that racer and set their racer status.
  • Results: Here you will be able to see the final race and lap times for that racer and how far behind the leader they were at each timing point.

Late Entries

Adding racers that were not imported from registration is easy, but can be time consuming. It is best to avoid adding a lot of racers on race day especially if you need lots of data fields for each racer.

  1. First navigate to the Racers tab of Zone4 Timing.
  2. Once there click on the Create a New Racer button.

3. In this new window, fill in the relevant information. The number of fields displayed here will vary depending on what you have set up in your registration.

4. Be sure to add a category, bib and chip number for each racer or they will have no times assigned to them and won’t appear on the results. These new racers will automatically be assigned to start group and course groups based on their categories.

5. Once you’re finished click the Save & Close button at the bottom of the page and move on to the next racer.

Adding racers this way will not change the data from your registration form. If you want to add late entries and have them reflected in your registration data you will need to follow the steps outlined here and then update your racers in Zone4 Timing.


Assigned Times vs Recorded Times

Recorded Times

The recorded times list shows every single time a racer has gone over a timing point even if the system has not assigned that time. For instance, if a racer is warming up on the course before the start of the race and they cross a timing point, this time will be ignored by the system because that racer does not yet have a start time. These times however will be shown in recorded times.

If a time that should have been assigned is accidentally ignored (This can happen when, for example a racer has not been given a start time) those times can still be found in the recorded times list and assigned to a racer. Recorded times are an essential fail safe on race day.

To learn how to assign recorded times to racers click here.

Pictured below is an example of the recorded times for an individual racer. As you can see they have been ordered by the time of day when they were recorded. The timing device that recorded the time is also listed to the left of the time.

Assigned Times

Assigned times are the times that have been assigned to a racer for a specific timing point. This will usually happen automatically, but you have full control to delete, modify, or enter completely new times by typing a time into the appropriate box.

The system will always attempt to use the best time for a particular timing point. For example, if a racer goes over the start loop multiple times before actually starting, the system will assign the last time as the racer’s start time.

If you have multiple timing devices assigned to a single point, the time from the most precise device will be used.


This area will appear once your race is in progress. Here there will be four different coloured numbers displayed. Each number shows a count of all the racers with that potential timing issue.

  • Fast Splits (Green): Shows racers with split times that are faster than average.
  • Slow Splits (Blue): Shows racers with split times that are slower than average.
  • Missing Times (Red): Shows racers who reached a timing point without having recorded a time at the previous point on course. These are generally the most important warnings.
  • No Matching Racer (Yellow): Shows chip numbers with times that have not been assigned to racers.

If you click on any of the numbers you will see a list of racer with that problem.

If you click on the racer’s name you will open up their Edit Racer window and will be able to view their times and fix any issues. If there is no issue with their times you can click Dismiss next to the timing issue.

Changing a Racer’s Chip Number or Distance

Race package pick up is generally hectic, so it is quite possible that a chip gets handed out to the wrong person. This could mean that during your race you may receive warnings that a chip has been getting times, but that the chip has not been assigned to a racer. Or this could mean that two people end up with each other’s times.

It is also possible that a racer will decide to change their race distance on race day and their times will not make sense for the course they singed up for.

These are easy problems to fix if you follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Racers tab in Zone4 Timing and search for the name of the racer who has the wrong chip or distance.

2. Click on their name to bring up their Edit Racer window go to the Racer Info tab.

3. Here you can type the correct chip number into the Chip Number field and change the race distance in the field that shows which course your racer is doing.

4. Stay in the Edit Racer window and go to the Timing tab.

5. Here click Clear All Assigned Times and then click Re-process All Recorded Times.

6. Double check your results to make sure that the racer’s times have been corrected.

Did Not Finish, Did Not Start, and Disqalified Racers

Near the end of your race you can start looking at your All Assigned Times list to find racers who don’t have any recorded times. It is usually safe to assume that these racers never actually started and you can mark them as DNS.

You may also have racers who started your race, but got injured or did not finish for some other reason. You can mark these as DNF.

If a racer has violated a race rule then you can mark them disqualified racer (DSQ).

Marking Racers as DNS, DNF, DSQ

If you click on the name of the desired racer you will bring up the Edit Racer window. In the Timing tab, you can change a racer’s status by using the drop down menu Set to DNS/DNF/DSQ and selecting one of the options listed.

After the Race

After the race it is important to review both private and public results sets. Look for outlier times, missing times and racers who did not start or did not finish. If you wish to print results click here to learn how.

Updated on 2019-06-28

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