Race Director Input on Refunds and Bib Exchanges

We heard back from some race directors in response to our blog on Bib Exchange and Refunds – a Runners Right?.  I think the two responses below capture the range of comments:

We are a non profit that runs a road race as a fundraiser for our programs serving homeless and low income folks.  We are not professional race managers.  We work for a year to put on our events which include a 5K, 10K, 3K walks and kids sprint. Evrything gond on for the race is  on top of our regular work. We cannot refund entries because our costs don’t change due to 1 or 2 or 10 runners dropping out. We state on the application that if the person does not participate their registration will be considered a donation and that we do not give refunds.  We also do not allow people to switch races because it makes more work for us to keep track of it and make sure the race management co gets the changes.  – Lisa Christie

And one that was totally in favor!

I totally support the ability to exchange bibs.  Have it be done online and charge a small fee to do it.  It’s really a no brainer and it will generate additional revenue.  What is the big deal?  If the old athletes information is exchanged for the new athlete, what is the harm?  Frankly, I don’t know why it hasn’t been done sooner. – Valerie Kilcoin

Assigning Bib Numbers

As another part of our big Results project, we are enabling multiple ways to assign bib numbers.  This is not currently released, but we wanted to give our race directors and timers a preview.

There are four ways to assign bib and/or chip numbers:

  • Auto-assign.  We let you start at any number and go in ascending or descending order.  We let you write over existing numbers or just add to the ones that have already been assigned.  We also will sort the Participants by Last Name, First Name, Address, or by date of registration.
  • Manually Assign.  This let’s you make edits as well.
  • Import.  You will need to match the Runner ID number for this import.  You can also import new runners as a separate process if they are not already registered in RunSignUp.
  • API.  This is for other systems to be able to post bib numbers.  We hope to have The Race Director and RunScore support this feature for timers.

Here is a quick video on how it works today.  This will likely change a bit, but should be released in the next couple of weeks!  Let us know your input.

Bib Labels

One of the many little tasks race directors and timers have to worry about is printing labels for their bibs.  As part of our Results project we are working on, we will be coming out with ways to assign bibs, or upload bibs from Excel or from timing software like Race Director and RunScore.

We have released an early version of our Bib Labeling capability.  It gives race directors and timers the ability to easily print out on the pervasive Avery 5160 type labels, and gives a lot of flexibility on selecting what information to display and how on the labels.

Here is a quick video that shows how it works.  Let us know your feedback!

Free Services Strategy – Free Results Posting

A couple of years ago when we started RunSignUp, our basic strategy was to charge a processing fee when it cost us to process a transaction.  We uplift our cost for the charge to pay for our salaries and infrastructure and hopefully make a profit.  We figure this is a pretty decent way to associate value with cost for races – meaning larger races pay us more than smaller races.

We also came up with a strategy to not charge for our services that cost us relatively nothing to deliver on an incremental basis.  As an example, you can let volunteers sign up for free since there is no charge.  Or you can enter paper registrations for free.  It basically costs us some money for storage and processing, which is really, really cheap.

We are getting around to putting together some pretty cool services now that we have the basics of registration covered.  Right now we are putting a lot of effort into Race Results.  We will write more about this over the next month.  But so far we have Simple Results posting, and are testing Mobile Timing.  We will be having full results posting for races and timers over the next month with lots and lots of cool features that will be great for runners looking for fast results and mobile access, as well as making it easy for timers and race directors to give that to them!

While we are doing a lot of interesting and tough development work on this, we will be providing this for free to any race.  We now give races the ability to create a Race Info page on RunSignUp WITHOUT having to do registration.  If you do registration on Active.com, that is fine – we will even point to Active.com for you.  Once you have a race on our website, you will then be able to post results – for free.  No strings attached.

Of course we hope you like our services so much you start using us for registration, so we can continue to develop cool stuff and provide runners with an easier, better, less intrusive and lower cost way to register online!

Mobile-Cloud Timer App

Stephen Sigwart, Andrew Burke, Billy Connoly

We have been working hard on giving race directors and timers the ability to post results and give runners the ability to see their results.  We are starting to enter Beta with this, and have a number of features coming such as easy posting of Race Director and RunScore result file, nice looking results display, and an Open API to make it easy for others to integrate with our system.

Today we were having a little hack session and trying out a new Mobile App we have created for the iPhone to do simple timing of an event.  Think stopwatch, collecting bib numbers and posting them – except everything is done with an iPhone!  We will be testing this live next Tuesday at a race here in South Jersey.  If all goes well we will be releasing the application and code (in open source!) shortly afterwards.  Exciting stuff!