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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Computer Chip to Eye L.A. Marathon Runners

LOS ANGELES -- Big Brother will be watching every step Los Angeles Marathon runners take this year, but no one seems to mind.


A German-engineered computer chip fastened to each entrant's shoelaces will mark start, half-marathon, and finish times.


Although the chip has been tested in several smaller marathons beginning in 1994, it will be the first test of the Real Time Champion Chip and timing system in a major U.S. marathon. The Los Angeles race, to be held March 3, is expected to have 20,000 participants.


Runners' start times will be logged by the chip from the crossing of the start line instead of at the gun.


Boston Marathon officials, who have tested the chip in the wheelchair division of their race, will be keeping an eye on how it works in a mass finish.


Los Angeles officials had another reason for using the chip.


"It will be difficult for anyone to pull a Rosie Ruiz in Los Angeles,'' said L.A. Marathon president William Burke, referring to a 1980 Boston Marathon disqualification in which Ruiz entered near the finish to win.


Anyone trying to shorten the 26.2 mile distance and still cross the finish line will be easily identified, Burke warned.