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Getting Started with Zone4 Timing


Welcome to Zone4 Timing! If you are using Zone4 Timing for the first time, this is the place to start. This page will give you a broad overview of our timing system.

Before you know it you will be an expert timer like Etienne. Look at him. What a pro!

This is Etienne. He is a Pro!!

Our Goals

Our goal at Zone4 is to provide you with easy-to-use technology, allowing you to time your race with high precision and provide results in a timely manner.

As you may know, race days can be chaotic. Our reliable timing system let’s you focus on the things that matter on race day.

What you need to know

In order to time a race successfully, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Race Timing Software and Hardware. Learn the basics and get comfortable with how to use the tools.
  2. Learn the details of the race that you’re timing. Get to know your race so that you can get organized and start building your race file.
  3. Building a Race File. Apply what you have learned to build a race file for your race.
  4. Timing your race. It’s race day and time to apply what you have learned and deliver accurate and timely results!

This may seem like a lot, but don’t worry you can handle it. Timing is all about being prepared. By reading this, you are on the right track! Keep going and before you know it you will be a timing Jedi master!

1. Race Timing Software and Hardware

In order to time a race you will need a good overall understanding of how Zone4 software and hardware work.

So where do you start?

First, read through the information on our timing hardware below. Next, go through Timing Task 1, which will introduce you to the Zone4 Timing software.

Timing Hardware

Race timing hardware is used to record and store timing data which is then sent to the timing software. Race timing hardware can be separated into two categories: core timing equipment and advanced timing equipment. Most races will only need to use core timing equipment. If you are unsure what hardware you need for your race, use this guide to help you figure it out.

Core Timing Equipment

Advanced Timing Equipment

Timing Software

The Zone4 Timing system is the software that processes the data from your timing hardware and produces results. No two races are the same so every race file you create in Zone4 Timing will be different. In order to access the Zone4 timing system, you will need to login to your Zone4 account at zone4.ca

Need to Create an Account?

Don’t have a Zone4 account? Click here to set one up. If you need to have access to an existing Organization you will need to contact your organizations admin so that they can give you permissions on that organization. If you are unsure who the admin is for your organization you can contact us during business hours at:

Need to create a New Organization?

If you need to create a new organization, then first create an account then select the Time a Race or the Create a Registration Form and follow the steps to create an organization.

Already have an Account and an Organization? Ok let’s get started!

It’s time to work through Timing Task 1 and learn the basics of Zone4 Timing by setting up a simple race and getting times.

You do not need any timing equipment or an active registration to complete the task. This will likely take about 45min to complete

Timing Task 1

2. Learn the details of the race that you’re timing

Now that you know the basics of using Zone4 Timing software and hardware and have built up a practice race file, it is time to get to know all the details of your race. That way you can be prepared for race day and build up a race file specific to your race.

Timer Responsibilities

As a race timer you are responsible for more than just your race file and setting up equipment. You are also responsible for coordinating with the race organizer to make sure you are both on the same page about race details. You also must coordinate and instruct any volunteers helping with race timing. This usually consists of giving them instructions on:

  • Handing out timing chips
  • Using backup equipment if needed.

Race Day Preparation

In order to learn more about how you should be preparing for race day read through the following documentation.

What to ask the Organizer?

When coordinating with the race organizer these are some of the questions you will want to get answers to.

3. Building a Race File

You know how to use the equipment and you know all the relevant details of your race. Now it’s time to build your real race file. You will want to get started on your race file 2-4 days before your race. That way you have time to get any questions you may have about your race answered.

Want to start earlier? Go for it! You can start building your race file as early as you want. Just know that the earlier you start the higher the chances are that you will need to re-build parts of your race file as race logistics change.

If your race is significantly different then the one covered in Timing Task 1 you may want to use the relevant documentation linked below to setup your race file.


Detailed Step by Step Documentation

  1. Create a Race
  2. Create Start List
  3. Course Setup
  4. Setting up Results
  5. Timing a Race

Sport Specific Documentation:

Advanced Features & Equipment Documentation



4. Timing Your Race

You have built your race file and coordinated with race volunteers about your race. Now all that’s left is timing. We highly recommend making a list of tasks and schedule for race day. Here are some things you can include on that list.

  • Setting up and testing equipment
  • Coordinating with volunteers
  • Watching timing data as it comes in.
  • Dealing with racer issues (wrong course, wrong start group, missed a lap etc).
  • Troubleshooting timing issues
  • Taking down and packing up equipment.

Final Notes

Wow you’ve made it! If you followed all those steps you are now ready to time your race. Still nervous? Don’t worry we are here to help. That’s why we have an emergency support line that you can call at any time if you are having urgent timing issues:

Emergency Timing Support Line: 403-688-0440

Note that the emergency support line is not available for issues with Zone4’s Legacy Timing system or for Summit Bridge.

Also Don’t forget the two golden rules of Chip Timing!

Another good thing to keep in mind are the two golden rules of chip timing. If you read the Preparing for Race Day doc then you will already be familiar with this, but it’s important so we are reminding you about it anyway. The two Golden Rules are:

  • Make sure the right Timing Chips go to the right Racers.
  • Turn on and test your timing points.

Updated on 2021-02-24

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