Good Time Event Services (GT Races) is located in Kentucky and has been in the timing business for 12 years. The company originated with a focus on simply supporting the local running and cycling community with effective and accurate event timing. Their natural passion for partnering with events to provide the end participant with a better experience has propelled their business to where they now have five lead timers and seven assistant timers to service their races. GT Races primarily provides timing services to races located in Ohio and Kentucky along with events in the Eastern part of United States.
Shawn Daugherty, is the owner of GT Races, and is a RaceDay Certified Timer with certification in both RaceDay Scoring and RaceJoy. We reached out to him to get some insights on his experience with offering RaceJoy at his events. Shawn first shared his viewpoint on RunSignup and its strategy for supporting timers:
“RunSignUp has been a strong partner for our business. RaceJoy is a perfect example of RunSignUp’s continued commitment to add additional services that we can offer our partnering races. RaceJoy creates value for the partnering race director and ultimately enhances the end participant’s experience. We value RunSignUp’s commitment to continual participant experience enhancement.
No, we didn’t pay him to say this! Its with timers, like Shawn, that we are able to help races improve the overall race day experience.
Types of Races
We talked to Shawn about his offering RaceJoy to his events to get some insights to share with other timers. GT Races has currently brought RaceJoy to the following events:
- Tour De Donut
- Grand Lake Marathon
- Iron Horse Half Marathon & 12K
- Lake Cumberland Half Marathon & 10K
- Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay
- Ville to Ville Extreme
- Yolo Festival of Races
You will see a race profile pattern here of longer distance events like marathons, ultras, and relays. These truly are ideal races for RaceJoy and will naturally have higher usage since there is a greater achievement involved that draw supporting spectators into the mix. In addition, those events that have an increase in the fun factor like Tour De Donut and Yolo Festival of Races have a naturally higher social engagement that is ideal for the features offered with RaceJoy.
Market Response to RaceJoy
We asked Shawn what the response has been so far to RaceJoy at these events.
“RaceJoy is a really cool experience for participants, but equally important is the spectator’s experience as they track and follow their loved ones as they compete. RaceJoy is more than GPS tracking, it provides opportunities for the participant’s support group to rally around them, providing the ability to send messages and cheers to the participant. RaceJoy helps unify a participant and their support team/group.”
Many races want ways to elevate the participant experience, but also want to embrace the spectators since they are potential future race participants. Timers can help races address this spectator need by having them engage with participants during the race through RaceJoy’s tracking and cheer features.
GPS Vs. Chip Time
One concern that timers have expressed is whether RaceJoy will cause confusion with participants and if participants will challenge the official scored race time with the GPS progress updates from RaceJoy. We asked Shawn if he has encountered this and he responded “not even one question or complaint.” He elaborated:
“The design and engineering of Racejoy minimizes any potential conflicts between chip timed race scoring and GPS tracking. This is particularly important to us as timers. RaceJoy simply does not cause conflicts for the timers and/or the end participants. I would suppose true GPS scoring could replace a timer in theory, but in reality, you must have a Timer or troubleshooter who can handle odd timing irregularities in order to get an accurate set of results.”
We could not have explained this any better! We do expect eventually timers will mix in GPS data into the scoring results for additional split data reporting, but it is highly unlikely that GPS timing will replace using timing equipment for official results. Timers adding GPS tracking as part of their toolbox of services are getting ahead of the curve on this.
RaceJoy for Race Operations
RaceJoy offers features that help with race operations and adds to the race in other ways beyond the live GPS tracking of participants and cheer sending. Shawn shared their use of RaceJoy:
“We use a tail vehicle using RaceJoy to provide us the ability to see where the last participants are on the course while scoring at the finish line. Also, we use RaceJoy to help a Volunteer Coordinators with managing the events’ volunteers.”
What captured our attention was Shawn’s use of live monitoring screens at the race site at the Tour De Donut event. Clearly, people found it intriguing at the race site and the social media posts drew a great deal of impressions.
“We display the RaceJoy maps on the LED screen at the finish line. Spectators and support folks are truly entertained by watching the little blue dots move around the course. I have noticed that spectators will actual go up and use our mouse to click on their participant to see their information.”
Advice to Other Timers
We asked Shawn if he had any advice to share with other timers regarding their offering of RaceJoy at their events. His response:
“Just do it. RaceJoy is an extreme value add for the race and its participants. Also, the RaceJoy staff are very supportive and there to answer any questions you may have.”
Thank you, Shawn Daugherty
Special thank you to Shawn Daugherty for sharing your insights and fully embracing RaceJoy! It is timers like you that really are changing the race experience.
Become RaceDay Certified
RaceJoy is RunSignup’s race day mobile application that offers live GPS tracking of participants, progress updates at every mile and cheer sending. It is available primarily through timers that are certified in RaceJoy. If you wish to become RaceDay Certified, the next training is at RunSignup’s Winter Symposium in January.