At the PSCI Icicle ten miler we had a women who finished second in her age group using gun time but first in her age group IF we scored using chip times. She wanted her first place plaque. I contacted Doug White (certifies my routes) and Tom Fort (Pres. of DE Sports Club and at the time regional RRCA represenative) and both said awards are given out using finishing place or gun times. I contacted the President of the RRCA and he too agrees. His answer is below:
"The order in which the athletes cross the finish line will be the official finish position." USATF Rule for Road Events (quoated in full below).
LONG DISTANCE AND ROAD EVENTS (Running and Walking)
RULE 135 THE FINISH LINE 1. The finish of the course is the edge of the line closest to the approaching runners. 2. Should there be an extensive painted design adjacent and prior to the finish line, the exact location of the finish line shall be clearly stated in instructions to all competitors 3. A tape may be held above and parallel to the finish line and at right angles to the course by individuals who are not serving as 2001 Competition Rules 109 judges. The individuals holding the tape shall be positioned so they do not interfere with the view of the judges. This tape is not itself the finish line, but is there only to indicate the approximate location of the actual finish line to approaching runners. 4. In events using transponder timing mats, the mat shall be placed so that the edge of the mat closest to the approaching runners is the finish line and that at least 15 cm of the mat be of a color in contrast to the running surface to indicate the finish line. 5. Races may use separate points along the finish line as the crossing location of the first men's and first women's finishers. 6. In addition to an authorized finish line imaging system, an officially designated video or photograph may be used to review the order of finish. RULE 136 FINISH LINE RECORDING AND TIMING 1. Officials at the finish should record each number as the athlete completes the race, along with the athlete's finish time. The order in which the athletes cross the finish line will be the official finish position. 2. False starts in road races should not be recalled. The timers shall start their watches or timing devices at the flash/smoke of the pistol or approved apparatus or at the first moment a competitor crosses the start line, whichever happens first. 3. The official time will be the time elapsed between the start of the watches or timing devices and the athlete crossing the finish line. If an athlete crosses the start line after the start of the watches or timing devices, the athlete's time elapsed between the start and finish line can be made known to the athlete, but will not be considered as official time.
So don't be upset at the race director....I just try and follow the rules.