Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K Case Study

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 Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K Case Study focuses on the Check-In App and RunScore Results. 

View the PDF Version of the Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K Case Study

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Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K and RunSignUp

The 2015 Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K used RunScore results for fast results posting, and was an early adopter of the free Check-In App.

About The Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K

logoDirected by Marty Schaivone of MS Running Productions and timed by Jim Gerweck of Club CT, the Soutwest Cafe Margarita 5K is a unique race held at 7pm on a Saturday evening…and followed by a free post-race margarita from the host Southwest Cafe.  The race grew 25% this year; we talked with Jim Gerweck about their pre-race and race day process.

Pre-Race Check-In

The timing of the race – on a Saturday evening – makes runners highly prone to procrastinating on registering, as they want to wait to see what their weekend plans will be, how they will spend their day, etc.  To encourage early pickup, the host Southwest Cafe offers a discount for dinner for runners who check-in on Friday evening.  They also left online registration open through Saturday afternoon to allow as many people to register before the race as possible.

Picture2To expedite the Check-In Process, Jim used the new Check-In App.  Via the Race Day tab on his Race Dashboard, Jim was able to view (and/or edit) the fields he wanted to for each runner checking in.

While the Check-In App is designed to allow use with spotty (or no) internet connection, internet was not an issue for the race – they did have a kiosk for registration open, as well – but the process with the Check-In App was cleaner than checking in via kiosk.

Overall, they had great success with the App: It updated as they went (it syncs with RunSignUp periodically, or you can force a sync) so runners who registered after check-in started would pop up in the App.  Jim also found that editing runner information to update a bib number was easier in the app than Kiosk Mode.

Search Function: The App’s Search function was super-smooth: because a lot of families would come in to get multiple bibs, they searched by last name. This would pull up the family all together, and expedited the check-in process. In less than 30 seconds per person, they were checked in.

“[We] checked in over half the pre-entrants the night before the event, which made things a lot simpler and less hectic the next day.” –Jim Gerweck, Timer CT Club

Lessons Learned:

One failed option for the Southwest Cafe Margarita 5K was barcode scanners.  They did send all participants an email with a barcode to try to expedite check-in; however, most runners had the barcode on their phone and the scanner they had could not read the smart phone screens (many can’t).

The scanner that we (and some 10,000 person races) have been testing with, and have had success with on smart phones, is the Arkscan Ecom Series ES201 Super Mini Multi Functional USB Barcode Scanner High Speed.  (Full hardware recommendations)

The race did fine without using the barcodes (using the search function instead), but be aware that if you do need barcodes on phones to work, you may have to spend a little more money on your hardware.

Picture5RunScore Results

As he does with any race that has strong Wi-Fi, Jim used RunScore results to push his results up online at the conclusion of the event. He still prints and posts results onsite, and waits ~30 minutes to catch errors or corrections, and then pushes them live.  It’s a clean, easy system, and people can see their results by the time they are leaving the venue – before they even arrive home.

Another benefit to RunScore Results? When you have to make a correction (for a missed tag read, etc.), those can be updated and posted seamlessly.

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!

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