Hand Time Conversion Standards

All results posted to Athletic.net are categorized as hand-timed results or results obtained with Fully Automatic Timing (FAT). Results for each athlete are marked accordingly. If an athlete's hand-timed result is then to be used for a seed time, a conversion factor is often used to make the hand-timed result comparable to a result obtained with FAT.

In general, hand times tend to be faster than those obtained via FAT. This is because a human timer must react to the starter's gun (creating a small delay in starting the clock), and also because human timers tend to anticipate the athlete's crossing the finish line, and tend to stop the clock slightly early.

There are two common conversion factors:

  1. Athletic.net/T&F News Conversion: This is the default conversion, widely used around the world and published by Track & Field News. To apply this conversion factor, a hand time is rounded up to the nearest tenth (e.g., 10.83 seconds becomes 10.9 seconds, and 11.77 seconds becomes 11.8 seconds). What happens next depends on the length of the race:
    1. For races under 300 meters: A conversion factor of 0.24 seconds is added to the time.
    2. For races from 300 meters up to (but not including) 800 meters: A conversion factor of 0.14 seconds is added to the time.
    3. For races 800 meters and above: No further conversion factor is added beyond the initial rounding up to the next tenth.
Athletic.net uses the above conversion factor in all rankings. This allows athletes timed by hand to be ranked side-by-side with athletes timed using FAT. For more information, see Rankings.
  1. NFHS Conversion: The National Federation of High Schools has a similar conversion to the one above. To apply this conversion factor, a hand time is rounded up to the nearest tenth (e.g., 10.83 seconds becomes 10.9 seconds, and 11.77 seconds becomes 11.8 seconds). After the time is rounded up, the conversion factor is added. For NFHS, all races, regardless of length, have a conversion factor of 0.24 of a second added to the rounded hand time.

When a meet host uses Athletic.net to collect entries for a meet, the meet host may have the option to select which conversion method is used. Athletic.net will then automatically apply the selected conversion factor to any hand times used as seeds so that the hand times remain comparable to times obtained by FAT during the seeding process.

In addition to selecting one of the conversion factors above, a meet host may also choose to:

  • Accept FAT only: Meet hosts may choose not to accept hand times at all. If this is the case, an athlete's best available FAT time will be used as a seed.
  • Apply no conversion: Meet hosts may also choose to accept hand times as equivalent to FAT times, and apply no conversion factor whatsoever. Hand-timed seeds are compared directly with FAT times to provide seeds.


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