Timers, like many businesses, are facing difficult times in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet more people are getting outside and running than every before. We expect there will be a surge of interest for running events as things begin to open up. We also expect the need to have virtual race options is something events will need to offer for quite some time. This is an opportunity for timers to position themselves as an expert in the industry and become the virtual event resource while expanding the services they provide RunSignup’s Crisp McDonald held a webinar on ways timers can respond and pivot their services for the months ahead.
We are all aware of the SBA forgivable loans and this is something we highly recommend timers look into – especially as new funds are becoming available. Our advice is to move fast and follow up repeatedly with your bank. The squeaky wheel gets the oil and there is a lot of competition out there.
Some tactical ways timers can save money include:
- Review existing expenses and trim where possible.
- Put services, expenses on temporarily on hold, when possible.
- See if can defer payments for real estate and other larger expenses.
- See if car insurance company offers discounted rate for reduced driving or for vehicles not currently being used.
- Check if you can put your SIM cards on hold for a specified period of time.
- Bring work in house temporarily.
- Switch to RunSignup’s free websites.
Timers have an opportunity to pivot their services and create revenue generating options that embrace the need for virtual races and social distancing. Proactively targeting your existing and local races to become expert resource for virtual events can set timers up for success now and into the future. In addition, there are new challenges and responsibilities that races may want to offload, such as t-shirt design, production and distribution, that a timer could fill in. Here are some examples:
- Provide virtual race conversion and supportive services to existing races and new races.
- Encourage Fall races to have virtual event now to avoid the mass rush that will come later in the year.
- Provide registration and web setup services.
- Offer virtual scored results services with approval review.
- Offer RaceJoy’ mobile event experience.
- Go full service and offer swag design, procurement and distribution.
- Provide other related services available on RunSignup’s platform, such as virtual event website, virtual pre-race bibs, bib assignments, e-finisher certificates, and corral times.
Contact Your Races and Convert to Virtual
Our number one advice to timers is to get in touch with their events and personally reach out to each one now. Timers should discuss what the event’s plan is and encourage that they either change to a virtual event, create a virtual event option if later in the year, and explore creating new virtual races that take place sooner. As many races have postponed their events to the end of the year, races would be wise to consider hosting one prior to the mad rush. Also, having a series of multiple virtual races creates more revenue opportunities for event organizers.
We encourage timers to reach out to their local officials to better understand the changing policies of their region. Timers can then use this information and become a source for their races and offer value-add services like written guidelines to support social distancing that races can use with their events.
Also, timers can use this as an opportunity to expand their customer base. Look at the local races around you and pitch switching to virtual and offer supportive services like virtual registration, website, results, and so on.
Offer Virtual Results
You can offer your events virtual results using RunSignup’s Virtual Results Bot. Users have a variety of ways to easily submit their results. You can also offer enhanced virtual results where you would review and approve result data as it is submitted. Though, consider reducing your typical fees by 30-50% your typical processing fees. Here is a blog with an overview on RunSignup’s Virtual Results.
Timers can offer their events RaceJoy’s live phone tracking, progress updates at every mile without timing equipment, and remote cheer sending. In addition, timers and race organizers can monitor and communicate directly with those using RaceJoy on the course. RaceJoy now also automatically submits the participants’ finishing times as they cross the finish line and scored results appear in the app. Features, like off course alerts and the ability to add audio directional cues, help virtual runners stay on course. Currently, RaceJoy requires a defined course path and does not support the Run Anywhere model. However, the Run Anywhere option is in development and expected to be released by early June.
RaceJoy’s mobile race experience is available through RaceDay Certified timers only. The next certification training is to be held on May 21 and is free for timers.
Go Full Service
Timers can also look at ways in which they can expand their services to include things like offering bibs, t-shirts, medals, and other swag. Services can range from design to distribution. Timers can offer to do shipping and charge for these services. They can then negotiate volume discount pricing from manufacturers. It is a potential way to make up for the lost revenue with reduction in timing.
Optimize Your Time
Timers can also take advantage of this time to increase their training. RunSignup is offering ongoing training webinars and will have RaceDay Certification training sessions for RaceDay Scoring and RaceJoy in May. RunSignup has many recorded webinar sessions and helpful blogs – so check them out.
Timers can also take advantage of this time and lack of cars by certifying their courses.
Virtual Race Resources
The virtual race space has quickly changed and involves a greater level of complexity. The phrase “virtual race” now can mean having onsite course options or a Run Anywhere national event or a blend of the two. RunSignup offers many resources for those timers that are new to the virtual race experience at the links below.