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Timer Spotlight: Steve Turrisi, Race Day Professionals

“We don’t sell timing services. We sell experiences. And when people pay for those experiences it is very rewarding for us to see them so happy and so appreciative.”

Steve Turrisi, Race Day Professionals

Overview

Steve Turrisi, from Race Day Professionals, is a RunSignup RaceDay Certified Timer who took the initiative to proactively offer RaceJoy for one of his important Florida races. The event organizers weren’t that familiar with RaceJoy and initially not that engaged about the product. That quickly changed on race day when they realized the value of RaceJoy. Steve shared his experiences with us and we thought other RaceDay Certified Timers and race organizers would benefit from his experience.

About

Race Day Professionals serves primarily the South Florida area and is a family-based business. Steve Turrisi and his wife, Ronni, founded the company in early 2016 and their two sons are an active part of the company. Steve has been in the business for about 14 years and he, like many timers, has a full-time job outside of this timing business where he has provided technical support, product development and training for an audio company for the last 30 years.

“I love the running community…the technology behind the gear…the thrill of the start and the joy of the finish.  Every aspect of my life (both careers) has been focused on people and technology and how to bring them together in a positive way.  As a result, education has been and remains a huge part of my life and careers. “

Race Day Professionals’ foundational service is timing and scoring events. However, they extend the value they provide to races to include pretty much anything that will help the race be successful, including course design, management, registration setup and support, participant tracking, bibs, shirts, and other swag.  

Steve takes full advantage of RunSignup’s RaceDay Suite of technology products and partners with us to provide valuable feedback and insights on product features such as for RaceDay Scoring. He has invested in technology education by becoming RaceDay Certified. Recently, Steve offered RaceJoy for the first time and let us know how it went.

Approach to Offering RaceJoy


This was Steve’s first time offering RaceJoy at one of his races. He took extra care to make sure he got the handle of things, and his goal was to give the race the first hand experience of understanding the value of RaceJoy. He sees RaceJoy as an opportunity to provide a value-add service to races by improving the participant experience and giving the race monitoring and communications capabilities – and in return it can help bring additional income to their company.

RaceJoy Setup

Steve shared that the hardest part of setting up the race in RaceJoy was getting an accurate course map, and the actual setup was very easy to do:

“Once I had the course map, I was able to easily import it into RaceJoy and begin laying out the details. It was pretty simple.”

Steve made use of the more advanced feature of Geo Cheers where custom audio sound files play as participants cross certain points on the course. He chose select points along the course to add some fun moments for participants.

Race Day Display

RaceJoy’s monitoring dashboard enables timers and event organizers to have a global view of runners on the course who are using RaceJoy. On race day, Steve used a large TV connected to a laptop that was positioned outside their timing tent to display the active runners that were on the course using RaceJoy. His experience:

“I turned on monitoring and was giddy when I saw all the flashing bubbles! It was working!!! Having never done it before, I was so worried if it would all work as planned. It certainly did. Many people came up to me asking if they could track people on the course. I encouraged them to look into RaceJoy for the next event so that they could track their friends and family.”

Race Participant Feedback

Steve shared that one of the participants was especially excited to use RaceJoy for the first time and they asked her to report back after the race to provide feedback on how it worked.

“She came over and noted how nice it was to have reminders about pace and things like that. She noted that there were a nice number of ‘things’ happening, but not so many that it was distracting. She appreciated the ‘late race’ cheer (‘Never give up…never surrender’ at mile 11 or so). I thought that feedback would make you smile as much as it made us smile.”

Last Runner Tracking

One trend we frequently see when monitoring races is that the last runner typically uses RaceJoy when it is available. For those finishing towards the end of the pack, the challenge and accomplishment for completing the course can sometimes be significantly more than for those finishing first. RaceJoy is designed to support the participant and help others to support them as well. So, for those needing that extra boost, RaceJoy is a perfect race support tool. As Steve shared:

“A woman named Jennifer was using RaceJoy and appeared to be in the back of the pack. She was my ‘last place tracked runner’…and as it turned out, she was the absolute last runner. So, I had a race progress report from that person! When the Event Directors came over I was able to show them the exact progress of the race and the estimated time that the last finisher would cross. I could see the light bulbs go on. In that moment they could see the value of RaceJoy. They could actually see the real progress of their event. No more ‘how many are left out there?’ with the inevitable and almost unavoidable ‘not sure’ reply.”

Many events will use RaceJoy to track the lead and tail vehicles so that they can easily monitor the status of the first and last finishers to more effectively manage race day. This is something Steve plans to do in the future and also intends to track emergency personnel, course marshals, and key event staff.

Race Organizer Perception

Steve shared that the race organizers were at first a bit lukewarm about RaceJoy, but he was confident that once they saw it in action they would appreciate what it could offer the race and its participants. After being able to track the last finisher and seeing its other capabilities, they were all in.

“One of the event directors asked me why I offered RaceJoy. I said that I thought it would add to the experience of our participants and give us insight into race progress. Next year, I told him, we should find a sponsor to pay for the service. He fully agreed and said ‘We want everyone to use this!’. A bit optimistic, but his point was clear. The service is valuable and a benefit to everyone.”

Some Helpful Tips

Steve and Ronni created some helpful ways to make the race experience easier for participants and increase user adoption for RaceJoy.

  1. Map Access: The map built for RaceJoy is an interactive course map that can be shared in emails, websites, etc. For this event, they printed and laminated pages with a QR code that linked to the event’s course map that was created in RaceJoy. This way participants and spectators could quickly scan the code to access the map and helped reduce the inevitable questions about the course route.
  2. RaceJoy Download Page: They also made a page with QR codes that went directly to the iOS app store and the Google Play app store for anyone wanting to download RaceJoy.
  3. RaceJoy Features: To help explain RaceJoy’s features and how it works, they had the instructions and “feature sheets” for RaceJoy laminated and posted at all packet pickup locations.

The Purpose
We thought we share Steve’s final comments. It conveys not only the real goal and purpose behind RaceJoy, but the authentic engagement he and Ronnie have to provide value and positive experiences to their races.

“A benefit that we realized with Jennifer…our last place person…since we knew her approximate finish time, we were able to organize a nice sized crowd to cheer her across the finish line. The happy tears were shared by more than a few people…including my wife and I. We don’t sell timing services. We sell experiences. And when people pay for those experiences it is very rewarding for us to see them so happy and so appreciative. Thank you for helping them have a great experience. I plan to offer RaceJoy to as many races as I possibly can.”

And thank you, Steve and Ronni, for embracing RunSignup’s RaceDay suite of products and for being a valuable partner in changing the race experience!

Looking for a Timer that Goes The Extra Mile?

If you are a race or new race in the Florida or Jamaica area and needing a timer, check out Race Day Professionals. They will be happy to explore your needs and will work with you to help deliver on race day.

Steve and Ronni Turrisi, Race Day Professionals

Interest in Offering RaceJoy at a Race?

RaceJoy is available through RaceDay Certified Timers. Check to see if your timer is certified or contact info@racejoy.com.

RaceDay Timer Certification

Steve and Ronni are RaceDay Certified Timers, which enables them to offer comprehensive RaceDay tools, including RaceJoy. If you are a timer and would like to become RaceDay Certified, the next training will be held at RunSignup’s Summer Symposium July 27-29 in Philadelphia, Pa.

 

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