Bib Labels – Adding Registration Date Ordering

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 5.34.37 PM.pngOur great bib labeling tool just got a bit better. You can now sort by Registration Date as well as Registration ID.

This is useful for getting the labels for the most recently added people on the last page of the bib print out. For example if you per-labeled all of your bibs, but are still taking registrations, then you can just print out the last page(s) for all the new people who registered.

Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run Case Study focuses on tiered pricing for a sellout race, building bib labels, and differentiating your race to create positive word of mouth. 

View the PDF Version of the Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run Case Study

Case Study Header for WordPress

Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run and RunSignUp

Picture1 The 2015 Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run came to RunSignUp after hearing about the integration with Race Director during a Webinar, and seeing results of a poll indicating that a high percentage of Race Director users prefer RunSignUp.  The important factors in the move included a lower cost (the race chooses to absorb processing fees), and the potential to better integrate with their club system.

About the Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run:

2015 marked the 12th edition of the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners’ Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run, directed by club member Daniel Todd.  The event was initially named to indicate that runners’ “dogs” (feet) would get dirty…but someone suggested that Daniel allow actual dogs as well, and the idea took off.  Dogs are not only allowed to participate, but are actually encouraged and provided accommodation (at no additional cost).

Offering Low Cost, Tiered Pricing with a Sellout Race

While the race started with just 63 runners, it has grown over the years and now caps out each year. Because of this, Daniel is able to use a unique tiered pricing system that allows him to reward early registrants.

  • The first 100 Runners pay just $15
  • The next 150 Runners pay $25
  • The remaining Runners pay $35Picture2

To accomplish this in the RunSignUp system, Daniel sets the race at $35, and uses publicly posted coupon codes (limited to the number of users for that price range) for the discounted options.

This year, Daniel used the RunSignUp Loyalty Program to give last year’s runners first access to the $15 slots by allowing them to register earlier.  60 runners took advantage of the Loyalty Program access; the remaining $15 registrations sold out in a few hours when regular registration opened.Picture3

Because the race sells out, the tiered pricing allows Daniel to know ahead of time exactly how many registrations will be sold at each price point, and budget accordingly.  This also helps him to maintain a low price point on the race: his goal each year is just to collect enough in registrations to offer runners a good process, make a donation to a local animal shelter, and put a little bit of funding into the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners Club.

 Building Bib Labels for an Easier Packet Pickup

DPicture4aniel used to do Bib Assignment in Race Director; this year, he assigned his bibs in RunSignup and then synced it with Race Director.  He was able to customize his bibs to include ALL information that volunteers at Packet Pickup might find important, including information collected in custom questions (like whether they have a dog and need a bandana).  The system saves his Bib preferences, so he can re-use that bib label.Picture5

The Bib label builder was very easy and saved automatically. Always, no matter what system I use, somewhere in the mix the labels get screwed up and print off the label…this time, every page printed perfectly.  In other words…it WORKED.  That’s the key.”
– Daniel Todd

Communicating with Runners: Widgets & Email Marketing

The Dirty Dog 15K is listed on the WVMTR’s website; to keep traffic there (and engaged with the club), they use a widget on their Club site for sign ups.

“I really like the addition of widgets.  It appears that people are staying on your website; you can customize it and really make it a part of the site.  Our entrant list on our website is just a widget to RunSignup.”

The second tool that Daniel used to keep runners informed was the new Email Marketing system.  He likes to send both pre and post race emails to his runners, and values the ability to use RunSignUp to communicate effectively with those runners.

“One thing we try to do is to make the race a little bit better each year: that much more organized, that much more efficient…the only way you get a good word of mouth is by putting on a good, efficient race with a positive experience for runners.”

Differentiators:  Creating a Unique Race Experience

The goal of every race is to create an experience that differentiates it from other race options. While allowing dogs was more of a post-naming accident, it has become an integral part of why runners to Charleston, West Virginia from throughout the area for the 15K trail run. In 2015, they had runners from 15 states, as far as Florida and Ontario, Canada.

Runners can bring 1-2 dogs; dogs must be on a leash for the first mile, but can run the rest of the race off-leash within eyesight, and running dogs receive a bandana.  There is also a “Top Dog” prize for the first dog to finish.  A full 107 runners (27% of the race) indicated that their dog was running as well.

There are a few other bells and whistles that Daniel uses to set this race apart:

  • Notifications: Because of the remote location, there is no internet and runners cannot get instant notifications; however, notifications are still turned on and go out as soon as an internet connection is made.  For a 400-person race, this is a nice perk even with the delay.  In 2015, 187 SMS notifications, and 168 Email notifications were sent out.
  • Results Scrolling on a TV Screen: Daniel further addresses runners’ desire to see their results instantly by setting up a scrolling results screen on a TV within about 10 minutes of the first runner finishing.
  • Video Results: There are video results for all runners.  This is complicated by the off-sets of having wave starts for a non chip-timed race, but is popular with the runners regardless. Video Bonus: it also helped Daniel to recognize and disqualify a few runners who were running under someone else’s bib, and had “placed” in an incorrect division.Picture8

Why it matters: As a custom question, the race asks runners a multiple choice question regarding how they heard about the race. 40.8% indicated that they had heard from Family/Friend; another 34.4% were previous participants coming back.

That means an overwhelming 75.2% of participants are registering because either they, or someone they know, had a great race experience.Picture7

Photo credit to Mary Shannon Johnstone…fantastic photos and a fantastic race!

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Offline Check-In App – Request for Feedback

Chromebooks for Offline Checkin App
Unpacking our $154 Chromebooks for development and testing!

We are in the process of building an offline check-in app and are looking for feature requests. We are hoping to have this available in June – so the sooner you give feedback the better. You can send feedback to info at

We are building this as an HTML5 app that will run in any Chrome browser. There is a database (IndexDB – an open database standard implemented by most HTML 5 browsers) where we can store data locally for use offline. We will download the entire participant data set into this local browser-based database and then update every minute with any changes that are available like new registrations or assigned bib numbers bi-directionally.

The advantages of this architecture are:

  • It can run in an offline mode without Internet connection
  • Any device supporting a Chrome browser supports this – PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and phones, Chromebooks, etc. Unfortunately there are reports of bugs in the Safari browser with IndexDB (although we have not seen issues in our testing), so we will only support Chrome browsers.
  • Low cost and ease of adding peripherals like label and receipt printers.

We will have a unique URL for this app for each race – something like You will set up a password in the race director dashboard so every device can just sign in with that one password and there are no user ID’s required. This will improve ease of use and security. We will allow each device to have a field for naming the device or user. This will be helpful for bib pickup occurring at multiple stores so you can know which people picked up at which store for example.

Each device should be logged in when connected to a high speed connection to download the bulk of the data. In tests we found an 18,000 participant download took 1 minute 15 seconds on a Chromebook. Once the data is downloaded, it stay on the browser cache until cleared. So you can do the download the night before the race and then race morning just sync changes.

After the initial download, the app is set up to download/upload changes every minute and is adjustable. If it is not able to connect it retries again later. Any changes made locally are stored and uploaded whenever the next connection is available.

We hope to support the following peripherals:

  • Dymo Label PrinterBarcode readers – for fast checkin
  • Dymo Label Printers – to print out labels that you could put on bibs during dynamic bib assignment
  • Thermal Receipt Printers – so you can print out a receipt for runners

The app works within the Chrome browser. It will be an improved version of the existing Check-In App. You will be able to configure which data fields appear on the main screen as well as the pop-up. You will also be able to configure behavior to optimize checkin, especially in combination with the peripherals.

Example Processes
For races that are doing dynamic bib assignment and have sent out emails with barcodes of confirmation numbers:  When a runner shows up with a copy of their confirmation with the barcode, you can scan it, scan the barcode on the bib you will give them and print out a label that you can slap on the bib in just a few seconds.

For races that have a separate giveaway and add-on handout from the check-in, the idea of printer a receipt that the participant can take over to the giveaway area eases and speeds the workflow.

Option to identify others who registered as part of the same transaction. So the check-in person has the option to check the group in all together, or at least see the list of people together.

Early Performance
In early testing, we are using two races – one with about 500 participants and the other with 18,000. The 500 person race takes about 10-15 seconds to do the initial download of data, and searches are sub-second. The 18,000 person takes less than a minute and a half to download the initial data and searches take about 3 seconds.

Additional Development
We are also thinking about a Giveaway and Add-Ons Pickup App as well. This is for races who have separate check-in and pickup areas. It would work the same way as check-in, but would keep track of who picked up information.

No Network Backup is another thing we want to investigate. This is for the scenario  when there is no Internet access at all.  The check-in app could be used to assign bibs, and then each device would do a dump of their local database to a USB memory stick. The memory sticks could then be imported into the scoring software like RunScore or The Race Director on those PC’s.

Let us know if you have ideas or use case scenarios that you need this for so we can try to design it in!

Bib Validation

Bib ValidationWe have added Bib Validation. You can set up ranges of bibs that are valid for each event. This prevents handing out the wrong bib to the wrong person, and also helps with issues around runners moving from one event (5K) to another (10K). This is used in conjunction with the RunSignUp Go Race Day Check In features.

On the Check-In Report, it checks the bib and does not allow a bib if outside the range.

Check-In Bib ValidationIf it sees an event that the bib fits into, it suggests switching to that.  If the user selects “Yes”, it takes them to the event transfer page with the event pre-filled.  Once submitted, the user is instructed to close that window and they can simply resubmit the initial popup to save the bib.

Thanks to Aaron Ford of Ford Timing for the suggestion/request.  He has a Turkey Trot that he plans on registering about 1,000 people on race day morning with about 10-15 Chromebooks.  He was concerned about all the volunteers who will be using the check-in software for the first time and making sure they had out the right bib to the right runner. This helps make sure if a 1 Mile Fun Run person gets a 5K bib by mistake, the volunteer sees the problem immediately and corrects it before the race!

Ford Timing Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Ford Timing Case Study focuses on Integration with the Race Director, Widgets for existing Websites, and RunSignUp GO features. 

View the PDF Version of the Ford Timing Case Study

Case Study Header for WordPress


Overview: Ford Timing, a technologically adventurous Timing company in California, chooses RunSignUp for its tight integrations and easy Race Day features.

About Ford Timing: Ford Timing was founded by Aaron Ford in 2009.  They provide Timing Services for Road Races, Cross Country & Track Meets, Triathlons, Duathlons, Stair Climb Challenges…and any other kind of race you might come up with.  Ford utilizes The Race Director Timing Software and Chronotrack Chip Timing for the events they work with.  Currently, Ford Times 70-80 Races each year.

“I think it’s safe to say, in this day and age, my Race Directors expect more than just Timing, and if we’re able to deliver the Live Results, the Notifications, etc, than that’s a real competitive advantage for our business.” – Aaron Ford, Ford Timing Owner

RunSignUp and Integration with The Race Director

Aaron came to RunSignUp with an established trust in the Timing Software he used (The Race Director), and it was crucial to him that his registration company have the ability to work with The Race Director instead of requiring that he change software.  Aspects of the integration with The Race Director that are especially important to Aaron include: 

  • Picture5The Race Director allows for Push & Pull Changes: Changes made to data in The Race Director can update the information in RunSignUp, and changes made to the data in RunSignUp can update the information in The Race Director.
  • Using The Race Director means that most of the work is done locally in the software, so the internet requirements are limited.  The race can be scored even with a weak internet connection.
  • There is control over sending results: Aaron can review result information before publishing it.  For this reason, Aaron chooses Manual Publishing of Results, instead of Automatic.Picture6

“With RunSignUp, because youhave control over when to send up results, you can ensure that they are correct.  I like being live, but I want to be RIGHT, so that I can send that right text message the first time.”
– Aaron Ford

RunSignUp and Integration With Your Site

Picture4Aaron uses widgets to make RunSignUp a seamless part of the Races he times.  Widgets can be placed directly into the website of the Race so that runners can register without ever leaving the Race Website. Similarly, Results Widgets allow RunSignUp Results to “live” on the Race Website.

Integrating registration and results into an existing Race Website brings more traffic to the Race Website, and removes roadblocks for Runners.

RunSignUp Go: Testing Race Day Technology

While there are features of RunSignUp Go that Aaron uses regularly, he also tries to test out new features on a per-race basis.  For the Moraga 4th of July Fun Run that he timed, he tested out leaving Online Registration open through the start of the race. People could sign up online before leaving their house in the morning, on their phone on the way to the race, or as they walked up to Bib Pickup, and their information was immediately available to the volunteers at Bib Pickup.

Considerations When Allowing “Pre”(Online) Registration Through Race Day Morning

  • Registration periods on RunSignUp were set so that the price increased to Race Day price at midnight
  • Runners registering online (instead of by paper) are more likely to input accurate data
  • Runners can pay by credit card online, instead of needing cash.

Aaron could then use dynamic bib assignment to get each of the late-registrants assigned bibs (discussed in more detail later), and push the late registration information into The Race Director to ensure that his participant data was updated prior to the start of the race.


RunSignUp Go: Using Dynamic Bib Assignment

For mid-to-large races (over 200 runners), Aaron utilizes Dynamic Bib Assignment for Bib Pickup.  The logistics of Race Day, Dynamic Bib Assignment:

  • To manage Race Day, Aaron keeps a stock of cheap, refurbished Chromebooks that can be used either as kiosks for registration, or by volunteers assigning bibs.
  • No bibs are pre-assigned and labeled.
  • As Runners enter, volunteers look them up by name on their Chromebook, take timage001he next bib off their pile, and assign their bib number.
  • For a race with 1,500 runners, Aason has found that 8 stations are adequate to keep Bib Pickup moving smoothly with Dynamic Bib Assignment.
  • Using Dynamic Bib Assignment, Ford has checked in over 600 runners in under 2 hours, using 8 laptops.

Note: it is important to ensure that there is a strong internet connection in order to use Dynamic Bib Assignment.

Benefits of using Dynamic Bib Assignment 

  • Eliminates wasted Bibs: If you have pre-assigned bib, and 10% of your runners don’t show up, you have wasted 10% ofyour Bibs.  That cost can accumulate over the course of multiple races.
  • Saves time: limits line back-up for common letters, and removes the need to search through Bibs to find the correct one.
  • Better evaluate the effectiveness of pre-race Packet Pickup and/or a specific Volunteer/Pick-Up location: RunSignUp reporting will show you when your bibs were picked up, and how many were picked up by a specific User.

RunSignUp Results

Beyond the simplicity of one-click push of results from The Race Director to RunSignUp, Aaron finds some advantages to RunSignUp Results:

  • The ability to do SMS texting and email notifications.
  • The text on SMS & Email notifications is customizable.  For example. Aaron removes Age Group Place from his results notifications because that is more likely to change with chip timing.
  • RunSignUp results are Mobile Responsive, so Runners can access their results quickly on their phones, or on a tablet or laptop kiosk that is set up at the Race.
  • Results are searchable by bib number or name.
  • Results can be hosted as a widget on the website for the race to that result can be found on the Race Site immediately when they are published from The Race Director.Picture1Picture2

Summary: Ford Timing prefers RunSignUp because it combines “flashy” Race Day features that runners want with technology integrations and manual controls to allow them to ensure consistency and accuracy.

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us
…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Your Favorite Features

We take pride in our our continual feature development, but it is still really overwhelming to hear our customers talk about how features have changed their workload and driven their businesses.

The most amazing thing?  Most of these customers also told us that they know they are only using a small percentage of the available features.  Just think about how many features you still have to discover!