Another hot day for Saturdays  annual club trip  to the  10K race  Le Touquet in France – not quite on a par with 2012 but still enough for the heat to have an impact on finishing times. Speaking of times – this year we had what we thought was a conventional chip timed race with the chips being threaded onto to the running shoes. So what does this tell the runner – well certainly in the large UK races you run over a mat at the start line and run over a mat at the finish with the mat sensors recording an accurate lapsed or”net” time for all runners irrespective how long it actually took them to get to the starting line of the race . Le Touquet regularly (as was the case this year) has more than 1000 participants ie fits into the “large race” category so all of us assumed  that there would be a starting mat for the chip timing , made no great effort to get as close as possible to the start line and started our stopwatches as we shuffled or walked across the defined start line. And yes  as you may have guessed already – no starting mat and times which were based on the gun start and finishing mat times. So the message is always check your mats and position yourself appropriately when it comes to the start of the race.