Virtual races are growing in popularity – either as stand alone events or as a way for remote participants to feel like part of a race. The new Virtual TXT service helps to bring more connectivity with your virtual participants. There are two general ways you can use the new TXT service.
- Virtual add-on to a race. For example, you have a Turkey Trot. Simply add a Virtual Turkey Trot and reach out to past participants who may have moved away or might be relatives or friends of your participants. You can send them multiple txt messages on race day, and they can reply with their results with their phones. This gives virtual races the benefits of seeing their name in the results, getting a finisher certificate and more.
- Virtual race. There are a growing number of virtual races that run for a month or more. The Virtual Race TXT service allows TXT’s to be spaced out and participants report at any time during the month.
Actual times can be posted, and is fully integrated with our Results platform – allowing for auto-calculation of things like pace, age grading, as well as personal finisher pages and even finisher certificates. People can even sign up to be notified when a virtual runner finishes – so my sister in North Carolina could keep up to date with me running the real race and I could know when she finished. People can also simply txt back “done” and they will be listed as a finisher, but without a time like Kip below.
There are many uses and variances that can be done with this service – send a video, send congratulations or even a coupon via txt from your sponsor.
The virtual txt service adds $1.00 to the processing fee to cover the costs of the txt messages. It also must be approved by RunSignUp Support to ensure setup is done properly and the messages are appropriate.
When participants sign up, they will be offered a page to set their phone or email for notifications. Note we automatically adjust the send time to the participant’s time zone. So if you set up your virtual race on the east coast and someone from the west coast signs up, they get the race day first txt at say 7AM Pacific rather than 7AM Eastern (4AM!)
Setup has a lot of flexibility. The first step is to make sure you have classified your virtual event as a virtual event on the first step of the wizard.
The full setup page on your dashboard is long, but broken into sections. The top section allows you to pick and configure a virtual event. Once it is selected, you must set a text message keyword. This allows any phone to txt the results and we will know which result it is for. There must be at least one number in it – you can see the example at the top of this blog. Below that is the registration instructions. This will appear during registration. You can explain more fully the benefits of sharing their finish, and even include images to get participants more engaged.
You must turn on bib assignment next. This is so a phone can txt in results for anyone.
Next, define when you will accept txt results. This example is for a full two months. Note you also set up the Results Display. This can be further refined in the Results pages on your dashboard.
You can also set valid times, so it can catch common errors:
You can also include links to other webpages and videos in your txt messages with these options:
We give default tags that give instructions on how to post results:
Now you can set up your message. The first one is a welcome, letting people know how to know about your virtual race day:
The second message gives instructions (as seen at the very top in the txt stream) on how to post results:
You can then send up to three additional messages, with options for if people have posted their time or not:
Participants can also be directed to login and post results on your race website:
If you have signed up others, you can see all of their information:
If people sign up for email, the messages also are delivered. This shows the email with a link the the results posting page:
We are seeing more races add a virtual component – and this is a way to help those that can not attend your race to be their in spirit. We are also seeing pure virtual races with thousands of participants, and this new service will be a great addition to add value to your offering.