The Scott Coffee Run was this past weekend. As followers of us know, this was the race that inspired the creation of RunSignup in 2010. Bob is a race director for the race and saw the need for better technology at races.
We wanted to share our observations from a “post pandemic” race.
It seemed like the happiest place on earth. To see everyone smiling, talking and sweating together felt so good…
We had 597 total participants. Down 30% from 858 in 2019, but pretty respectable.
We only had about 50 people registered before May. We saw a big pickup as things became clearer after the CDC guidance May 13, with over 150 registrations in the last week.
Our timer was telling us that she has about 60% of her fall races organized ready to roll, and expects more race directors to start to begin planning over the next couple of months. We are going to write a more general post on this topic with more general numbers, but our whole endurance community is trying to go from 0 to 60 very quickly. Early movers will benefit since there will be an increasing amount of demand with more runners than ever, and a very crowded fall calendar.
We had 73 people sign up for the virtual run. We will continue to have a virtual option in future years, as we had a combination of people who used to live in town, or were traveling who wanted to participate. We even had a couple of people do last minute switched to virtual because travel plans came up (yes, people are starting to travel in addition to run races!). We also saw a number of people uploading their virtual results and photos.
We also made use of the new shipping features we added during the pandemic.
New Version of Checkin App
We used the new version of the checkin app. The new version (which we was in progress pre-pandemic but got put into cold storage to build lots of virtual and challenge technology) was released a month ago, just in time for the wave of re-openings. We added a couple of dozen nice little features, but the thing that all the volunteers saw was a fast app that was very natural to them running on their own phones.
We had 3 people checking in 227 participants (with one helper organizing shirts) in about 45 minutes on race morning. There was no line. That is a rate of over 100 per volunteer per hour, and those 3 people could have handled about 50% more people.
New Version of Photo Platform
Over the pandemic we were building a new version of our photo app. It has a much nice user experience both for the race director/photographer, as well as for participants. We also upgraded the auto-bib tagging. As you can see from below, the day after the run, there were over 1,800 views for 337 photos.
Our primary sponsor, Lacas Coffee, also got great visibility with their watermark on all their photos
The tagging also went really well. We went thru all 337 photos and made about 20 updates – some of them people we knew or could imply a bib number. For example, the automated system (which tags a photo within a minute of upload) caught all of these bib numbers correctly.
Working with our Timer
We are fortunate to work with Staci Siconolfi-Lymperopoulos (we can’t say her last name either) of Compuscore. Together, we make use of all of the RaceDay tools to deliver results quickly to participants. We highly recommend that you work with your timer to make sure you are giving your participants a great experience.
We used an open, rolling start instead of the normal gun start. We kept the starting line open for 15 minutes so there was not crowding. We had done work on our RaceDay Scoring application for timers to make this simple.
We have gradually improved the results page and individual results page during the pandemic. Results are posted online within seconds of participants finishing. And as soon as their photo is uploaded, those are also included on their individual result page.
In addition, we set up results notifications. About half of the people want those delivered via txt and half via email. In either case, those also go out within seconds of participants finishing to both the participant and anyone following them.
It was amazing the feel the energy created with people coming back together. Things were not quite normal, but everyone was understanding and just happy to be back. We were also happy to see a number of the improvements we had worked on to prepare for the reopening of races work out so well. Of course we have a couple of notes where we want to make a few improvements, so expect more and more technology solutions from us just like we have been producing for our customers for over a decade.