photo by John Kerschbaum
Eric Bender (a.k.a. "The Snapper") beginning his solo sprint run
on October 26th, 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island.
With all races, the timekeeper started the clock as soon as the ferro of the gondola emerged from under the Crawford Street bridge. A spotter on the bridge gave the signal to start the clock by raising a red blanket.
Yes, a flag might be more official, but the blanket was bigger.