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The collection of retrospective lap times from video footage is a potentially useful research tool to analyze the pacing strategies in any number of competitive events. The aim of this study was to validate a novel method of obtaining running split-time data from publically available video footage. Videos of the 1500-m men’s final from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, 2005 and 2009 World Championships, and 2010 European Championships were obtained from the YouTube Web site, and split times were collected from all competitors using frame-by-frame playback. The typical error of video split times ranged between 0.02 s and 0.11 s for the 4 laps when compared with official split times. Video finishing times were also similar to official finishing times (typical error of 0.04 s). The method was shown to be highly reliable with a typical error of 0.02 s when the same video was analyzed on 2 occasions separated by 8 mo. Video data of track races are widely available; however, camera angles are not always perpendicular to the start/finish line, and some slower athletes may cross the line after the camera has panned away. Nevertheless, the typical errors reported here show that when appropriate camera angles are available this method is both valid and reliable.
Mytton is with the Dept for Sport, Public Services and Enrichment, Sunderland College, Sunderland, UK. Archer is with the Dept of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK. Thompson is with the National Inst of Sports Studies, University of Canberra, Australia. Renfree is with the Inst of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK. St Clair Gibson is with the Dept of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.