RaceJoy Goes Extreme in Alaska!

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This past weekend the inaugural Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon took place and was the first race in Alaska to provide RaceJoy’s advanced tracking and cheers. Offering one of the most challenging and breathtaking extreme triathlons in North America, this new race experience is sure to be on the top of serious athletes’ bucket lists.

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Alaskaman caps the event at 315 participants and takes athletes on an epic journey through the cold, crisp and clean waters of Resurrection Bay, along the beautifully scenic and mountainous passages of the Seward Highway, and up the extreme trails of Mount Alyeska over one of the hardest run courses in the sport. The swim-bike-run course length is approximately 144 miles in length with a total gain of 10,100 feet between the bike and run courses. Given such a challenging course, not all complete the tough terrain. There was a total of 153 finishers who fully earned their finishing medal!

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Quickly becoming known as one of the most challenging one-day endurance triathlon events in North America, safety was a key concern for race organizers. The Alaskaman required each participant to have their own support crew and to use RaceJoy so race organizers could use RaceJoy’s monitoring system to live track athletes on the course. Participants are also required to have an escort during the last seven miles of the run. Clearly, this is not your average race!

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More than 200 participants used RaceJoy’s live tracking and 2,200 spectators tracked participants and sent 3,500+ cheers through the app to offer encouragement and support. This 11 spectators per participant ratio is a record for RaceJoy where typically participants have about two people supporting them in RaceJoy.  This unique and significant achievement drew many family and friends to share in the experience and cheer on their athletes

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 Participants received audio progress updates every five miles that included information like pace, elapsed time and estimated finish time. The supporting family and friends received these as in-app notifications. RaceJoy issued 81,080 progress alerts at the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon – for its first year, that is an extreme amount of progress alerts!

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Much like the live-tracking in the app, RaceJoy’s monitoring system provides race organizers with an at-a-glance view of participants as they move along the course. The monitoring system also alerts the race organizers if anyone has gone off-course during the bike or run portions of the triathlon. They were also able to see how many participants had crossed specific milestones along the course and then drill into individual participants to see their performance information. Organizers could send instant audio messages through RaceJoy to individual participants, if needed.

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Prior to race day, race organizers did an excellent job of communicating and educating the athletes about RaceJoy so that participants could make full use of RaceJoy’s features, including the need to use a portable battery as a backup. As a safety precaution RaceJoy was listed on the Alaskaman website as a mandatory piece of equipment on both the bike and run portions of the course.

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In the weeks leading up to the race, the race organizers also posted to social media about the use of RaceJoy, encouraging participants to gain familiarity with the app before the night prior to the race. The organizers themselves did tests on the course using AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to gauge cellular coverage on the course, and posted a Cellular Coverage Map to notify participants and spectators.

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The Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon race management team is clearly dedicated to creating a very unique challenge for athletes on an amazingly beautiful, but tough course. Thank you for including RaceJoy in your inaugural year! And a huge CONGRATULATIONS to all the finishers!

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Race Organizers

If you’re interested in enabling your event for RaceJoy, visit our website or your RunSignUp dashboard to learn more or request a demo at info@racejoy.com. Please note we require a minimum two-week lead time before the race date and an electronic version of the course map (KML/GPX format preferred).

Custom Question Reporting

We have expanded the Participant Report to easily do a search based on Custom Questions. We added a button on the Search All Fields to filter on Questions.

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When this button is clicked, all of your custom questions that have optional answers (not free form word answers) show:

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Note only one field may be selected at a time. Note you can still download a spreadsheet to do additional filtering and sorting.

RunSignUp Quick Hits for Advanced Users (Version 2017)

For the second year, Sales Lead Bryan Jenkins took the RunSignUp Race Director/Timer Symposium Attendees through a set of the most missed and underutilized features on our platform. We have them collated here – take a look and see what you could use!

Search Box Bib/Email
Need to find a participant quickly? Instead of navigating to the participant report first,
there is a search bar at the top of each page of your Dashboard.
https://runsignup.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/quick-participant-search/

Strike Through Pricing
Use Strike-Through Pricing to highlight special deals or price changes and provide a stronger call to action to register immediately.

Race > Registrations > Dates, Pricing, & Options – Strike Through Pricing

Blogs:
Strike-Through Pricing 
Strike-Through Pricing for Event Grouping

Event Display Options
Make a specific event or package stand out with logos/buttons to encourage registration in your premium or priority event.

Race > Registration > Event Display Options

Example: Night Nation Run

Blogs:
Highlight Events During Registration
Customize Event Details on Race Websites

How-To: https://runsignup.com/How-To/Event-Display-Options

Social Sharing
Increase the value of runners sharing your event on social media (free advertising!) by uploading a custom image for the event. Embed your race date & a logo or sponsor logo for an effective social image!

Promotion > Social Sharing > Facebook/Twitter Share

Blog: Social Share Update

Financial Event Summary Table
A rough estimate of numbers per event that can be used to demonstrate basic race financials to non-accountants.

Financial > Summary > Transactions > Event Summary

Fast Registration Options
Use caution to ensure you’re collecting needed information, but within a specific date range (i.e., late registration) it can be helpful to capture more mobile registrations with a simple registration path.

Race > Registration > Fast registration options 

Blog: Fast Registration Options

Participant Data breakdown
Quick view of your participants and how they came to your event (paid, $0 entries with coupons, and imported entries)

Race > Actions/Common Tasks – Breakdown button

Shipping Address Verification
Turn on various settings to ensure that an address is correct to allow for races with an option to ship bibs and packets instead of requiring a pre-race packet pickup.

Race  > Registration >> Shipping

Blogs:
Shipping Address Validation
Shipping Address Correction Stats
Shipping Address Improvements

Short URL
Setup a short URL to your race to make it easier to direct people to your event – they work with bikesignup, trisignup, etc, as well.

Race  > Race Page > Race URL

Blog: Custom Race URL

Bib Ranges
Set errors to trigger if bibs are being assigned that fall outside of the bib range for your event(s).

Go Race Day > Bibs > Bib Validation – General Options

Blogs:
Bib Validation
Bib Assignment – Multiple Ranges

Shared Coupon Report (Share email report with a specific email)
Share a specific Coupon Report with an outside party without sharing additional information. For example, a partner in a mutual promotion or a sponsor who wants to know who uses their code.

Financial > Pricing > Coupons > Shared Coupons

Blog: Shared Coupon ReportShared Coupon Report

Compressed Team Reports
Pivots an entire team and pivots into a single row – helpful for some types of timing software or specific team check-in options.

Participants > Groups/Teams > Group Reports

Blog: New Compressed Team Report for Triathlons

Automated Emails (Sponsor Offers)
We have a few automated emails for things like incomplete registrations & RaceJoy. Turn these on to cut down on manual notifications sent to runners. Our newest automated email is for Sponsor Offers, which includes the option to highlight your sponsors and the opportunity to create a digital bag of offers (promotions) from your sponsors alongside event information.

Email Marketing > Automated Emails -> Sponsors

Blogs:
Automated Emails
Sponsor Offers and Sponsor Promotion

Reserved Entries
Allow runners to register for an event that is (technically) full, without manual processing of payment and data import. You can customize the entries and set specific events, prices, and cutoff dates – this is a great way to handle deferrals, discounts for a specific group, or for a specific team.

Participants > Reserved Entries

Blog: Reserved Entries

Sponsor Reward Codes
Reward sponsors who have an in-store promotion with a very specific offer by using bulk codes to track conversions.

Race > Registration > Reward Codes

Blog: Sponsor Reward Codes & Gift Certificates

Custom Content Widgets
Add custom content from RunSignUp to your website by building a widget with the ability to edit a participant’s registration, etc.

Race > Race Page >Custom Content > Widget ID

Other Advanced Features to review that were not covered within the 2017 Symposium Presentation:

Repeat Participant Reports
See how many (and who) of your runners from previous years have registered again…and see who has not so you can target them directly.

Participants > Marketing Reports > Repeat Participants

Blog: Repeat Participants Report

Heat Map
See where your runners are located in a quick, visual view, and download zip codes for more analysis.

Participants > Marketing Reports > Heat Map > Download Zip Codes

Blog: Heatmaps for Races and Partners

Loyalty Program
Reward runners from previous years, volunteers, or any other specific group by offering early registration…matched directly on personal info, so there’s no password to be shared around.

Race > Registration > Loyalty Program

Blog: Loyalty Program for Priority Registrants

Quick Multi-Race Access/Editing
If you have multiple races, sometimes you want to switch between races on a single page. Perhaps you are adding coupon codes across multiple races and want to do that on all 4 of your races.

“My Other Races” button at the top of all Dashboard pages

Blog: View Races Options

Shared Reports
Share limited participant data with other users, securely.

Reports > Participants > View Participants > Customize a Report (Report Options) > Save Report (Report Options)  > Race > Secure Access/Info Sharing

Blog: Share Secure Reports

Giveaway Inventory
In addition to having the ability to track the inventory on your giveaways, we have a giveaway projection tool that will help you plan how many giveaways to order based on previous orders.

Race > Giveaways/Add-Ons > Giveaway Inventory

Blog: Giveaway Inventories

Google Analytics
View demographic information on the visitors to your site…and monitor the effectiveness of your marketing with analytic web data on your dashboard.

Promotion > Google Analytics

Blogs:
RunSignUp Google Analytics Part One
RunSignUp Google Analytics Part Two
RunSignUp Google Analytics Part Three

Custom Content Display, Menu, and Pages
Our race websites have a lot of flexibility: you can pick what items are on the main menu, which ones are sub-menu items, and the order that it all shows up.

Race > Race Page > Custom Content/Pages
Race > Race Page > Custom Content Display
Race > Race Page > Menu Order

Blog: Race Website Customize Content and Menu

Giveaway Reports
View your Giveaway Report by males and females.

Reports > Giveaways/Add-Ons > Giveaway Report

Blog: Male/Female Giveaway Reporting

Misc Settings
Looking for something that doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else on the dashboard? It’s probably in Misc Settings; for example, for events that are not actually races (like a Symposium!) you can customize the wording used throughout your site.

Race > Race Page > Misc Settings

Blog: Changing Race Enhancements

Welcome Jeff Kohart – New Developer

unnamedWe would like to welcome Jeff Kohart (about a month late) to RunSignUp. He was an intern with us last summer and has since graduated with a Computer Science degree from Gettysburg.

He is happy to be returning to work in Moorestown, NJ (the central office for RunSignUp) where he grew up.  While at Gettysburg he was heavily involved in campus radio, Ultimate Frisbee, and Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity.

Between last summer and the last month, he has made contributions to various parts of the site, including volunteer management and the Promotion Dashboard.

He ran cross-country at Moorestown High School under the stern tutelage of Bob Bickel and he still runs casually as a source of relaxation.  When he isn’t enjoying a good movie or book, he is looking for new music to rock out to, as well as trying to wow and amaze the other members of the RunSignUp team with obscure pop culture facts.

Endurance Swimming Discovers RaceJoy!

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This past weekend RaceJoy hit the water with its first all-swim event, the Portland Bridge Swim.

The Portland Bridge Swim is approximately 11 miles. The course runs under 11 of Portland, Oregon’s Willamette River bridges, through downtown and beyond. This is a significant challenge and a huge accomplishment for the participants.

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Safety is Key!

Safety is a key concern for open water swim events like this and most event organizers require participants to pre-qualify for the event and to arrange for individual escorting as seen at the Portland Bridge Swim. Frequently, event organizers of endurance swim events will seek a tracking solution so that they can keep track of the swimmers in the water. Many try out various options like renting tracking devices and may even explore developing their own app. These options can get very expensive and events report that they typically don’t provide the capabilities they are seeking.

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Organizers of the Portland Bridge Swim saw an opportunity to use RaceJoy’s live tracking by taking advantage of the escorting kayakers’ role and having them carry a phone and use RaceJoy during the event. Organizers then used RaceJoy’s web-based monitoring system to see an at-a-glance view of the swimmers’ locations as they completed the 11-mile course.

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Because RaceJoy uses GPS and Cellular technology, the person monitoring the race day activity could see exactly where the swimmers were real time. Organizers were also able to see how many swimmers had crossed certain milestones along the course and track key personnel like the safety boats out on the water. The monitoring system provides race organizers with the ability to directly communicate with specific kayakers or all kayakers, if needed, through the Send-a-Message feature.

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Friends and Family Showing the Love!

Swimmers were also able to be tracked by their friends and family by using the RaceJoy app. Supporting spectators tracked the participant’s blue dot move along the river course shown in an interactive map view. Because this was such a significant accomplishment we saw a greater ratio of spectators than we typically experience for road race events with close to four spectators tracking each swimmer. Where with road race events, we typically see one to two people tracking each runner using RaceJoy. This kind of support is so encouraging to those taking on such a challenge and is great to see.

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Supporting fans also received progress alerts at every mile notifying them of the swimmer’s location, pace and estimated finish time. RaceJoy issued 5,000 progress alerts at the Portland Bridge Swim. Spectators received these alerts real-time and could plan to meet the swimmer at the various bridges and the finish line. Swimmers after the event reviewed their progress alerts splits and we received feedback from one swimmer how valuable this information was to their accomplishment.

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Next Swim?

This weekend, on the other side of the country the Maggie Fischer Memorial Cross Bay Swim will be offering RaceJoy to its swimmers and spectators.  The 5.5 mile open water swim finishes at Gilbert Park in Brightwaters, New York. Like the Portland Bridge Swim, each swimmer will be accompanied by a kayaker who will carry a phone and enable RaceJoy’s tracking along the course.

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Offer RaceJoy?

If you’d like your event to offer RaceJoy, sign up through our website or on your RunSignUp dashboard. Please note that we require a two-week lead time prior to the race date and an electronic version of the official race course (KML/GPX format preferred). Feel free to contact us at info@racejoy.com for more information and to request a product demo.

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RaceDay Scoring Pre-Alpha Walk-Thru

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We will be giving timers an Alpha version of RaceDay Scoring at the RunSignUp Symposium next week. Matt Avery will be doing a tutorial and we will be handing out USB’s with the Mac and Windows native versions. We still have a long way to go, but RD Scoring can be used to score a simple, real race. In addition, all the “guts” are there to score complex races. We are looking to get some testing and feedback at Symposium.

This blog is being written beforehand to provide some written instructions and context for either before or after the tutorial. There will be changes between the time of this blog and the Alpha even…

RDScoring has this architecture:

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The Connectors, Timing Filters and Scoring Engine are what makes up RDScoring, and is what will be installed as a native Windows or Mac app on your PC.

The main Dashboard of RD Scoring takes you thru the process of setting up a race – mostly in the order of the menu at the left. This interface is likely to change a fair amount to make things easier and hide some of the “raw” complexities that are a bit exposed in the Alpha:

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The typical steps to scoring a race are:

  1. Setup Race. Today this is done by connecting to RunSignUp and syncing race and participant data.
  2. Timing Devices. This is where the definition of your timing equipment is done.
  3. Timing Locations. This maps your timing devices to specific locations like Start, Finish, 10K Split, Triathlon Bike Transition Exit, etc.
  4. Scored Events. Defining which events get scored and mapping the Timing Locations. For example picking the 5K, Then setting the Start and Finish Locations, and defining the Approximate and Actual Start times.
  5. Segments. Entire Race is the default segment, but you can define any number of segments for things like splits, or triathlon segments like swim, transition, etc.
  6. Age Groups. Define age groups and gender for scoring. This will expand to have many scoring parameters like Athena and Clydesdale.
  7. Participants. This is where you can sync and edit and add participants.
  8. Scoring. This is where you define how you score top finishers (chip or gun time), how many people in each age group, whether there is double dipping, etc.
  9. Reports. This is where you format and define the output (View, HTML, PDF, Sync to RunSignUp or other API, etc.) your results.

Step 1 – Connect to RunSignUp and Sync Race and Participant Data

The gear icon at the top right takes you to a configuration page where you can set up to point to either RunSignUp Production or RunSignUp Test. Connecting will show a list of races that you can import from RunSignUp. In a later version you will be able to create stand alone races right in RD Scoring.

Once you have added a race you will see it appear in the drop-down list from the top of the page. When you connect to the race all Participant information will be automatically and bi-directionally synced on a regular basis (and you can also force syncs).

Step 2 – Set up Timing Devices

Timing Devices are the ways you are collecting the times. We support a variety of manual, file and chip timing devices. Once Devices are set up, they are available for other races. Timers with chip systems can set up all of their systems.

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Setting up an individual Timing Device is fairly simple, and depends on the type of device. For example, here is a view of the standard RunSignUp Protocol that we will be documenting and putting in open source:

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We support a variety of devices in the Alpha:

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Note also that we have a variety of actions that we can take on devices, depending on what the device offers and our level of support.

Step 3 – Timing Locations

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Once Timing Devices are setup, you can then assign the devices to one or more Timing Locations. You should typically have a Start and Finish (Lap Races will get added later), as well as Splits. There are also parameters to filter, such as bib ranges and times. You also set the priority of devices for primary and backup.

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Step 4 – Scored Events

A Race may have multiple Scored Events, like a 5K and a 10K. This let’s you set up each Scored Event based on the TIming Locations. In the example below, there are a number of events, and the setup is just for the 5K. Note how it aligns the Starting Point and Endpoint with one of the Timing Locations (Start and Finish).

One of the key parameters here is the entry of the Actual Start Time. This will be used for calculating gun time based off of time of day scored reads during scoring.

Step 5 – Segments

There is a default segment called Entire Race that accepts all of the data defined earlier. The only real data to change would be Endpoint occurrence in case a timing location is being passed several times in a race.

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You can add segments for splits and other uses like triathlons.

Step 6 – Age Groups

This is a pretty simple form today, that will gain power as we move toward release. Today it is a pretty manual process for entering in gender and age groups.

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Step 7 – Participants

If you are syncing with a RunSignUp race, it will also sync the participant information (bidirectionally). It has search and display capability:

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And you can Edit and add participants:

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Step 8 – Scoring

We are using a concept called a Listing. A Listing is a way of taking computed fields and doing filtering (like looking for Females 21-40) and Sorts (like sorting the fastest in that filtered group) to produce a Listing Output. The quick view of a listing output will be something like this:

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A group os listings will look something like this:

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We do not have a User Interface yet to allow you to define Listings yet. Only 3 default Listing Templates, which are mechanisms to read the setup data like Age Groups and Gender, and create each individual Listing. We are including 3 default Listing Templates:

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Each Template will read the setup information from previous steps (like Age Groups and Gender) and create each Listing automatically.

Techie Note: Templates are actually JSON files that define how to create a Listing (also a JSON file). This makes the RD Scoring platform very open – where anyone with the proper knowledge can create listing files. And since these Templates and Listings have a standard portable format, they can be shared in the RD Scoring community. This means there could be several different people working on the best XC Scoring Template and it will provide the community with many options and flexibility. In the Alpha version, we give you the ability to download the templates (but there is not documentation yet on how you could do your own). Eventually we will have several wizards and screens in the tool to allow you create Listings and Template Listings easily by clicking and dragging.

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Step 9 – Reports (Result Publication)

This is another area that will receive a lot more ease of use features before it goes to production. Right now you have to hand build each report.Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 1.36.38 PM.png

There are several output formats today, with more coming (like API connections to RunSignUp and others). Clicking on View will run the report in RD Scoring. :

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This is the report builder today for the above report:

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See how Column 1 is multiple fields and we provide a way to concatenate these fields with a space between the First and Last names.

Fields can be static text or they can come from scored read data, participant information or output from the Listings. In this case I am adding a column to show the total number of overall finishers that is being generated by the listing:

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Note how I centered the new field and it is added to the Report View:

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Summary

As you can see, we have created much of the foundation for the next generation of Scoring. When it is fully released, it should be easier to use than The Race Director, and have the type of customization power that RunScore provides. We are also hoping for a robust community that will share Listings and Report Templates.

We are releasing the Alpha next week to start to get some input and testing. We are hoping to release a Beta in the next couple of months that will introduce more ease of use and configuration, the ability to handle non-RunSignUp races, and much more documentation than this blog.