We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users. This Ford Timing Case Study focuses on Integration with the Race Director, Widgets for existing Websites, and RunSignUp GO features.
Overview: Ford Timing, a technologically adventurous Timing company in California, chooses RunSignUp for its tight integrations and easy Race Day features.
About Ford Timing: Ford Timing was founded by Aaron Ford in 2009. They provide Timing Services for Road Races, Cross Country & Track Meets, Triathlons, Duathlons, Stair Climb Challenges…and any other kind of race you might come up with. Ford utilizes The Race Director Timing Software and ChronoTrack Chip Timing for the events they work with. Currently, Ford Times 70-80 Races each year.
“I think it’s safe to say, in this day and age, my Race Directors expect more than just Timing, and if we’re able to deliver the Live Results, the Notifications, etc, than that’s a real competitive advantage for our business.” – Aaron Ford, Ford Timing Owner
RunSignUp and Integration with The Race Director
Aaron came to RunSignUp with an established trust in the Timing Software he used (The Race Director), and it was crucial to him that his registration company have the ability to work with The Race Director instead of requiring that he change software. Aspects of the integration with The Race Director that are especially important to Aaron include:
- The Race Director allows for Push & Pull Changes: Changes made to data in The Race Director can update the information in RunSignUp, and changes made to the data in RunSignUp can update the information in The Race Director.
- Using The Race Director means that most of the work is done locally in the software, so the internet requirements are limited. The race can be scored even with a weak internet connection.
- There is control over sending results: Aaron can review result information before publishing it. For this reason, Aaron chooses Manual Publishing of Results, instead of Automatic.
“With RunSignUp, because youhave control over when to send up results, you can ensure that they are correct. I like being live, but I want to be RIGHT, so that I can send that right text message the first time.”
– Aaron Ford
RunSignUp and Integration With Your Site
Aaron uses widgets to make RunSignUp a seamless part of the Races he times. Widgets can be placed directly into the website of the Race so that runners can register without ever leaving the Race Website. Similarly, Results Widgets allow RunSignUp Results to “live” on the Race Website.
Integrating registration and results into an existing Race Website brings more traffic to the Race Website, and removes roadblocks for Runners.
RunSignUp Go: Testing Race Day Technology
While there are features of RunSignUp Go that Aaron uses regularly, he also tries to test out new features on a per-race basis. For the Moraga 4th of July Fun Run that he timed, he tested out leaving Online Registration open through the start of the race. People could sign up online before leaving their house in the morning, on their phone on the way to the race, or as they walked up to Bib Pickup, and their information was immediately available to the volunteers at Bib Pickup.
Considerations When Allowing “Pre”(Online) Registration Through Race Day Morning
- Registration periods on RunSignUp were set so that the price increased to Race Day price at midnight
- Runners registering online (instead of by paper) are more likely to input accurate data
- Runners can pay by credit card online, instead of needing cash.
Aaron could then use dynamic bib assignment to get each of the late-registrants assigned bibs (discussed in more detail later), and push the late registration information into The Race Director to ensure that his participant data was updated prior to the start of the race.
RunSignUp Go: Using Dynamic Bib Assignment
For mid-to-large races (over 200 runners), Aaron utilizes Dynamic Bib Assignment for Bib Pickup. The logistics of Race Day, Dynamic Bib Assignment:
- To manage Race Day, Aaron keeps a stock of cheap, refurbished Chromebooks that can be used either as kiosks for registration, or by volunteers assigning bibs.
- No bibs are pre-assigned and labeled.
- As Runners enter, volunteers look them up by name on their Chromebook, take the next bib off their pile, and assign their bib number.
- For a race with 1,500 runners, Aason has found that 8 stations are adequate to keep Bib Pickup moving smoothly with Dynamic Bib Assignment.
- Using Dynamic Bib Assignment, Ford has checked in over 600 runners in under 2 hours, using 8 laptops.
Note: it is important to ensure that there is a strong internet connection in order to use Dynamic Bib Assignment.
Benefits of using Dynamic Bib Assignment
- Eliminates wasted Bibs: If you have pre-assigned bib, and 10% of your runners don’t show up, you have wasted 10% ofyour Bibs. That cost can accumulate over the course of multiple races.
- Saves time: limits line back-up for common letters, and removes the need to search through Bibs to find the correct one.
- Better evaluate the effectiveness of pre-race Packet Pickup and/or a specific Volunteer/Pick-Up location: RunSignUp reporting will show you when your bibs were picked up, and how many were picked up by a specific User.
Beyond the simplicity of one-click push of results from The Race Director to RunSignUp, Aaron finds some advantages to RunSignUp Results:
- The ability to do SMS texting and email notifications.
- The text on SMS & Email notifications is customizable. For example. Aaron removes Age Group Place from his results notifications because that is more likely to change with chip timing.
- RunSignUp results are Mobile Responsive, so Runners can access their results quickly on their phones, or on a tablet or laptop kiosk that is set up at the Race.
- Results are searchable by bib number or name.
- Results can be hosted as a widget on the website for the race to that result can be found on the Race Site immediately when they are published from The Race Director.
Summary: Ford Timing prefers RunSignUp because it combines “flashy” Race Day features that runners want with technology integrations and manual controls to allow them to ensure consistency and accuracy.
If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small, email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!