We had a very successful race day registration at the Princeton 5K today. Many thanks to Bill Boyajian of Best Racing and Donna Dourney, race director extraordinaire for giving us this opportunity! There were 49 race day entries and we gave them the choice of paper, Chromebook, iPad or Laptop. 17 chose paper and 32 chose their own data entry. All except one paid cash, probably because we did not promote the idea of race day registration via kiosks. The Chromebook seemed to be the most popular, although there were several iPad enthusiasts.
Here is a video and more detail below that:
The setup was organized like this:
Runners registering this morning would go to a table that had both paper entries as well as the 4 devices. If they chose paper, they would then walk to the second table and follow the normal procedure of getting a bib, the volunteer marking the bib number on the paper, and then entering that data into RunSignUp when they were not serving a runner.
For runners who used the kiosk, they were able to go to the bib pickup station and tell them the name. The volunteer would see their data on their RunSignUp page (it gets instantly put on the list), select them, and scan the bib number with the bar code reader.
The best way to handle the bib pickup station is to have two computers – one to enter the paper entries and one to hand out the bibs to those who are pre-registered.
For networking, we used an iPad 3 with 4G networking from Verizon. This supported the 5 other devices (the iPad 3 was also used as a kiosk station. We had 3 bars of coverage and it was very fast (I had tested earlier and gotten download speeds of 3-10Mbps). It was a pretty sunny day, and we did not have a problem with being able to see the screens. It was about 30 degrees, but the computers were all coming from warm cars and had not problem surviving the temperatures for the 2 hours they were out in the open.
We learned a lot, and will be making a number of small adjustments.
We also debated the other way to handle race day registration, and decided that some race directors and timers would want to do one or the other. In this system, the kiosk asks for the bib number as part of the registration process. This means that volunteers would be helping the runners register and ensuring the bib number is entered correctly and to answer questions.
Either way it is done, there were lots of benefits. The volunteers liked the system much better than last year, and the runners who opted for the kiosk alternative made the choice themselves.
With more advanced promotion, there would also be more smartphone registrations in addition to the kiosk registrations.