This page is about how to time a run. It will explain exactly where the timer starts and stops.
For all categories, the timer starts when the player "gains control" of Mario during the opening cutscene. "Gains control" is actually an inaccurate way of explaining it though. For the ease of retiming runs after the fact, the first frame of the speedrun is the first frame Mario appears in this cutscene. Technically the player has control of Mario for a frame before he shows up, but this is ignored.
When racing, a countdown is usually the cue to start. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! And on go, the run starts. With the above timing convention, trying to advance from the title screen at the proper time so Mario appears exactly at Go! is difficult. So instead, during a race, all racers will idle on the title screen, and all press Start on the 1 Player Game option on Go! just so that everyone starts at the same time. The timer generally starts at this point as well. This means the timer will be running for the extra time it takes the intro cutscene to start up. This difference is exactly 132 frames, or 2.196 seconds.
Generally, runners will use this cue of pressing start on the title screen as the cue to start the timer as well. In order to compensate, the timer is configured to start at -2.196 seconds, so that it hits 00:00.000 exactly when Mario appears.
For categories that defeat Bowser, the timer ends when the player loses control of Mario. The first frame the player doesn't have control of Mario is the same frame that Peach appears out of the Clown Car. Therefore, the last frame of the speedrun is the last frame at which Peach is not present. The frame Peach appears marks the first frame after the run is complete.
Whistle / Wrong Warp Timing
For categories that end on a whistle sound (e.g. beating a boss), and for categories that end on a wrong warp (e.g. 0 Exit), the timer ends when the player "loses control" of Mario. In both of these instances, the frame that the player loses control of Mario is consistently relative to the screen fade out that occurs directly afterward. This convention of ending timing comes from the 0 Exit category. The player loses control of Mario one frame before the screen fades a bit.
This timing convention is carried over to any other category that ends timing at a fadeout, such as after defeating a boss. The run still ends one frame before the fade out starts, even though the player loses control of Mario three frames earlier than that.
For other, non-completion categories (many of which are found on the extended categories leaderboard), the run ends on neither Peach nor a fade out. The exact ending time is described in the rules for these unique categories.
Retiming Runs Recorded at 30 fps
This page is a work in progress. Please check back later.