I have been timing races since 1985. I do both kinds of
timing: Manual and Chip.
Manual timing: I use a pull-tag system with barcodes. My custom software automatically merges the times recorded at the finish with pull-tags collected at the end the chute. I can get the results out pretty fast using this method.
Chip timing: I use UHF disposable chips that attach to shoe. The Chip has the bib number written to it. I do not use matts which is safer because it does not create a tripping hazard. I use antennas that can read from 30 feet. But I typically make my start and finish chute about 15 feet wide. It can handle 250 or more runners a minute. As a backup, I record bib numbers at the back up the chute.
Unfortunately, my schedule is pretty fill. But if you want to contact me, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org