A Simplified Version of Gross and Nett Time Posted on September 16, 2018

By Rameshon

A doctor, after reading my blog spot, quickly messaged me, today, to suggest me to further clarify between gross time and nett time. I was glad than ever to to do this, as I can see that people want change, to put efficient people to do the work. Moreover, there were some who messaged me on told me their displeasure they had on those who did not do their job responsibly, especially in doing the most important job – time keeping. The situation shows that it warrants manual time keeping as well, for standby timing, if everything fails. The runners messaged me and discussed and one of them mentioned (who would like to stay anonymous), ” Nowadays the race is organised more for publicity and for raking profits from races, and it has come to a point that it is not for the sake of the public. If this is so, it is good for the government to intervene to see that the race is run properly in a transparent and fair manner.” 

It is sad that people are not aware that if they are not able to ascertain their own true nett time. It becomes a fact that the race has gone in vain. As a runner, also a young budding runner, in the past, I had progressed my timing in 10km from 46min, when I was in secondary 3 boy, and developed my time to 31min 46sec, in Loughborough Echo 10km race, in year 1993.

My personal opinion for all runners is to get the nett time and it is very important before one goes for a race. Many who do personal training, with me, currently, always focus on nett time. That is how one can keep improving. My main reason for breaking the national record 5 times in marathon till I did 2hr 24min 22sec has to do with getting the nett time, not the gross time. Gross time is more for winning in a race, for top runners. Hence, the top runners must stand in front of the pack before the race starts.

After much thought, I decided to do a simplified version of gross and nett time – a theoretical model, to make everyone understand.


Picture 1 –  A diagram to simplify Gross and Nett time. There are Runner 1, Runner 2, and Runner 3.

Let us assume that on a particular day, the race is for 10km, and the start time is at 7am, sharp, Runner 1, is 100m away from the start, and infront of him or her, there are many runners, from the start. The race starts, by the Guest of Honour flagging off or or when the gun goes. From where one starts to move, the point is taken for start of gross time.  Once the runner goes to the start area, the chip time is taken, and the runners either walks or runs, for the chip time to be taken. The time taken to finish is taken as 1hr 20min 00sec, from where he hears the gun go or being flagged off, till finish. However, from the start of taking the chip time to the finish, the time stands as 1hr 17min 00sec. This is called nett time. It is that simple. This is easy as A,B,C to understand and it is at least 10 times easier to understand than sitting for PSLE Maths Examination. I hope that people do not just laugh at this, but it is true. Gross time is always slower or at least same as nett time, not the other way around. If it is the other way around, then the purpose of organising becomes meaningless.

As for Runner 2, in the Picture 1, he or she starts at 50m away from the start. As soon as the gun goes off or it has been flagged off, the runner may take some time, but not as bad as runner 1, as there is more zig-zag runner to be done by overtaking slower runners. If one is a developing runner, it is wise to go behind as one can pace oneself well. If one is quite fit, it is good to stand, not in front of the pack, but somewhere 10metres to middle of the crowd, gathered to run in the race.

For the Runner 2, The gross time is taken as 1hr 00min 00sec. However, when the nett time comes out it is 59min 20sec, as there were movement to the start and it took 40sec to reach the start, by, maybe, walking.

As for Runner 3, he or she is 5 metres, and the gross time is 40min 29sec. As the start is so near, one gets the nett time as 40min 29sec. That is how many top runners usually get the same time, for gross and nett.

Today, for example, there was BMW Berlin Marathon 2018 and the world record for marathon was broken. At the same time, one can see that, for all runners, the gross time is either the same or slower than the nett time. Many international races also has this format. I am not sure why this is happening so many times in Singapore races and many runners have shown their frustration to me and has told about the unfairness. It is time that this stops, as it is gross mistake and the organiser must ensure in enabling one to get the correct time, not the wrong time. If we put in our heart, mind and soul in organising the race properly, the timing of nearly everyone will improve tremendously. People will definitely be more motivated to train after attaining their short – term or mid-term goal has been reached.

About the Author

BSC (Hons) Degree in Physical Education (Loughborough University of Technology, 1992-1994)

Masters In Education (University of Western Australia, 2005-2008)

Edited By Tan Mariviv