Tobacco Road Marathon Offers RaceJoy’s Live Tracking on Picturesque Course!


The 2017 Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon offered RaceJoy’s live GPS tracking and cheer sending for the first time! This popular race weekend offers more than 20 miles of picturesque experience along the American Tobacco Trail in Cary, North Carolina.


The Tobacco Road race weekend has grown to attract runners from around the world and has donated more than $760,000 to charities, such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, various military veterans’ organizations, and the American Red Cross. The fast, flat nature of the course, ideal running temperatures and picturesque trails draw runners with all fitness levels.

Photo by Dennis Gelser – Tobacco Road Marathon Facebook Page

This year, participants and spectators were also treated to the interactive, real-time race day features available in RaceJoy.


550+ Participants carried their phones and used RaceJoy to be tracked during the race and 1,200 supporting friends and family tracked them live as they moved along the course. These 1,750 people made full use out of RaceJoy’s features!

“Just wanted to thank you for this great app! Yesterday I ran the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in Cary, NC. Thanks to the app, my husband and three young kids were able to follow me and show up at the right spot at the right time (which is a challenge with 3 young kids), so my boys were able to finish with me! A great experience and a great memory for the rest of my life. Thanks for helping to make that possible!” –  Petrie T.

Finisher Photo of Petrie T. – Congratulations!

Participants and spectators who took advantage of RaceJoy received progress alerts at every mile that included information like location, pace and estimated finish time. Participants received these as audio alerts, a helpful feature when out on the course to avoid looking down at a phone. Spectators receive the progress updates as in-app notifications accompanied by a cowbell sound. Over the course of the weekend, 18,000 progress alerts were issued to participants and spectators!

“Sharing my joy as I was only steps from the finish line. Thank you for putting on a great race!” – Jade C.

Photo provided by Jade. C – Finisher of Tobacco Road Marathon

Another popular feature of RaceJoy is the cheer sending. Users can send fun, prerecorded audio clips or personalized Text-to-Cheer messages in the days leading up to, during and after the race event. The Tobacco Road Marathon users showed some great support by sending more than 2,600 cheers to participants!

“My first full marathon experience!” – Carmen M.

This is a unique and attractive race option for those seeking to qualify for the Boston Marathon or to achieve a new personal record. Whether it’s your first, like Carmen, or your 50th, the fast, flat course combined with the ideal running temperatures found in spring time in North Carolina make the Tobacco Road Marathon a race you should add to your race list!

Thank you race organizers for including RaceJoy in your 17th running of the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon! And special thank you to all of you who embraced RaceJoy. We hope it helped to bring a little more joy to a special race.


Race Organizers:

If you’d like to add your event to RaceJoy, follow the easy setup wizard on our site, or your RunSignUp dashboard. To learn more about all the features available in RaceJoy check out this Organizer Overview or review RaceJoy’s Website. Please note, we require a two-week minimum load time and an electronic copy of your course map (in KML/GPX format).


Race Director Financial FAQ

Races are all about variety and what sets them apart, but it turns out that there is one thing that all races agree on: they want to get paid!

As a payment facilitator and a PCI Level 1 Compliant Service Provider we take payment setup seriously, with a process designed to get our races paid accurately and on-time while preventing fraudulent events. We have a Financial FAQ for Race Directors to help all events complete Payment Account Creation and decode their payments.

The FAQ covers the race Refund Reserve, Payment Account Issues (such as changing payment info, switching from check payment to direct deposit and upgrading a payment account), and Payment Issues (such as when payments are made, what a payment is for, and receiving both checks and direct deposits).

View the Race Director Financial FAQ

Active Sues RunSignUp for “Couch to 5K”

IMG_2542Active has recently filed a lawsuit in US District Court in San Diego against Bickel Advisory Services, LLC (dba RunSignUp) and Bob Bickel personally and one of our employees for the infringement of their trademark “Couch to 5K“.

When we were notified of the suit, there were 9 training programs listed on RunSignUp with that term. Additionally a total of 30 events, of roughly 45,000 total events, had listed with that term over the past 7 years of RunSignUp’s existence. A total of 1,540 total participants had signed up for those training programs via RunSignUp over that time.

RunSignUp never used “Couch to 5k” itself, was unaware of any alleged trademark infringement by those listing on our site, and took immediate action to work with a number of running stores that had used the term “Couch to 5K” to refer to their training programs that were listed on RunSignUp. All references were removed from the RunSignUp site within 2 days of notice, and a process is in place to make sure that listings do not infringe going forward. RunSignUp takes trademarks seriously, and we will work with any trademark owner who simply notifies us (you need not sue us) to remove any valid infringing trademarks on our site.

As a web hosting facility for the endurance community, RunSignUp only has an obligation to protect against trademark infringement of events that post on our website if we are notified, which we did promptly. This is well established, including in a case where Tiffany’s took EBay all the way to the Supreme Court.

In addition, the term “Couch to 5K” has been very widely used since it first came into use in 1996, and Active registered the trademark in 2010. We discussed the background of this term with the original developers of the training program, Dave Camire (Cool Running Founder and Yankee Timing owner) and Josh Clark (who worked with Dave on the Cool Running website). Before Dave sold Cool Running to Active in 2007, the term had become very widespread. In fact, two of the running stores we contacted that had multiple training programs on our site said that they had used the term since about 2003 and 2006.

Using the Wayback Machine to look at internet archives, it is simple to find websites like Beginner Triathlete that had a Couch to 5K Training Program in 2004 –

The term is so widespread, there is even a course at Wellesely College called “Couch to 5K”.

Doing a quick Google search shows 622,000 hits on the term “Couch to 5K”. Here is a quick set of examples:


While we think we acted responsibly and consistent with our obligations, in order to avoid unnecessary legal fees, we offered to settle with Active by paying them our entire Processing Fee revenue from these events ($279). Unfortunately Active has rejected our settlement offer so we will defend ourselves in court based on prior case law. Hopefully this does not inspire Active to sue the many running stores and coaches and colleges and others who have inadvertently used the term “Couch to 5K”.