Runners and Cyclists Across the Nation Use RaceJoy!

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This past weekend, RaceJoy was used by runners, walkers and cyclists at races across the nation! From California to South Carolina, people took advantage of RaceJoy’s GPS tracking and cheers to add to their race experiences and be supported by friends and family.

The races with the highest RaceJoy usage were:

We also saw a diverse style of races this weekend – from running to cycling and from 5Ks to 100 milers. All provided a very different course experience, from beautiful Silicon Valley, to running through the founding history of our country or over a bridge to scenic Knoxville, Tennessee. Most of the races proactively requested their courses be loaded into RaceJoy so that their participants and spectators could have real-time information and an interactive experience that embraces race day.

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Participants and spectators who took advantage of RaceJoy this weekend were able to experience advanced runner/cyclist tracking by carrying their phones during the race. Other key RaceJoy features included GPS-based progress alerts with pace and estimated finish time updates typically at every mile and RaceJoy’s fun Send-a-Cheer feature where supporting fans can send motivational pre-recorded cheers or custom Text-to-Cheers.

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The California Classic Weekend was one of the first California races to adopt RaceJoy. Race organizers chose the buyout option and offered RaceJoy’s live tracking and cheers as a free service to its participants and spectators for free. RaceJoy was met with great reception with more than 1,000 using RaceJoy and 500+ participants opting in for the real-time tracking and GPS progress alerts. Supporting family and friends showed their support by sending more than 2,400 cheers to race participants. Clearly, the Silicon Valley folks liked the technology. Are we surprised?

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The California Classic Weekend is an unique race that offers a 100 mile bike event on Saturday and a half marathon, relay and 5K on Sunday. We saw high usage in the bike race and tracked one person for more than 10 hours! RaceJoy also issued close to 9,500 GPS progress alerts across the two race days. For the cycling event, alerts went out every 5 miles and during the running races, they were sent out at every mile.

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10-Hours of Tracking in RaceJoy: Cyclist at California Classic Weekend

Another race that offered RaceJoy’s features for free to its participants and spectators was the Lady Tutu 5K in Columbus, Ohio. Race organizers for the Lady Tutu 5K have also opted to provide RaceJoy as an added free experience across a series of their other 5K races, including the Lady Tutu 5K in Cleveland, Ohio and the Challenge Columbus 5K.  Clearly, they are focused on offering a quality experience beyond the ordinary race. Send these people a cheer!

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The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon came in second for highest usage this weekend, and had more than 450 people using the app and 120 tracked participants. The Knoxville Marathon organizers took the initiative to have their race loaded into RaceJoy and was available in RaceJoy for a 99 cents upgrade fee.

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Race organizers for the Knoxville Marathon heavily promoted RaceJoy prior to the race to let participants and supporting family and friends know they could make use of RaceJoy’s runner tracking and cheers. One of the more effective ways they did this was through a Virtual Events Bag ad placement.

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Knoxville Marathon Virtual Event Bag

Another race that requested their race to be loaded into RaceJoy was a repeat race from last year, the Charlottesville Marathon.

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Close to 400 people used RaceJoy for the race, and more than 3,100 GPS progress alerts were sent on race day.

Race organizers of the Charlottesville Marathon also promoted RaceJoy and included information about the app on the race website.

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Charlottesville Marathon Website

Some other races available this past weekend were the Savannah Women’s Half, the Cherry Blossom 10 MilerRock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco and BTC Statue to Statue 15K.

Thanks to all the race organizers who were proactive in having their events loaded into RaceJoy. And thank you to all who tried out RaceJoy for the first time and to all our repeat users! Together, we are changing the race experience!

If you’d like to offer RaceJoy to your participants and spectators, you can easily get your race loaded through RaceJoy’s Website or on your race’s RunSignUp dashboard. We require a two-week minimum load time.

Together, let’s change the race experience!

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Results Kiosk App

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 9.06.56 AMWe have released the Results Kiosk App on the Web. There are also versions available in the Apple and Android stores. Make sure to watch for updates and download them.

This is a multi-platform App – meaning it runs as a native Apple, Android or Web application (http://results.runsignup.com). So you can mix and match Tablets and Chromebooks and Netbooks as well as cell phones. It is designed to work very well with Touch Screens.

The app also does local storage for fast searches. It also does incremental updates during a race whenever there is new data and there is an Internet connection.

The user interface is responsive – so adapts to the size of the screen you are displaying on. It also adjusts to how much data is available in results. A full example is below:

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Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 9.36.47 AMSearching is simple and works by bib or name. Partial completion works well – so searching for “31” will bring up bib 3177, 3121, etc.

 

 

 

 

Clicking on an individual shows details:

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Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 9.11.23 AMThere are several configuration options:

Kiosk – This locks the application on a specific race with specific display options. Simply edit a code like “123” and click the Kiosk button to enter into Kiosk mode and reenter the code to exit.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 9.10.01 AMDisplay View – We give you three options. Large is the default as shown above. List provides a simplified view of the data:

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You can also go “old school” and do Plain:

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Display Options

As shown at the right, most of these options are pretty self-explanatory. You should experiment before putting out your kiosks with your data to make sure it is set up the way you want.  Then lock in Kiosk Mode and you are good to go.

The Future

We are looking for feedback on this app and how we can improve it in the future. Feel free to send suggestions to info@runsignup.com.

More strategically, the architecture for how we built this app will be used for new versions of the Check-In App as well as a Registration Kiosk with Swipe. We now have a way to create these applications quickly to deploy as native apps. The ability to have data sync in the background when there is available Internet is also very powerful.

How to Build Your Own Race Map!

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To have a race loaded into RaceJoy, races need to submit an electronic course map in GPX or KML format so that RaceJoy’s system can create an interactive race course for the event. These maps are then used to track race participants and to provide GPS Progress Alerts at every mile. The alerts sent are based upon the map you provide. So, map accuracy is essential for a positive user experience for your race.

An accurate course map is a must for a positive experience for your race.

Each race is different and, up until now, many have used PDF files to share their maps with others. Building and customizing your map is easy and below is some help to get your race loaded with the most accurate course map possible.

Existing Map Tool

First, whatever map building tool you are using, you can keep using it! You will simply need to convert the file to GPX or KML to load into RaceJoy.  If you are using a map building tool like MapMyRun, RunningAHEAD, AllTrails or MapoMeter, you can still use it to import, maintain and customize your RaceJoy course map. If you use Google Earth or Google Maps, these will also directly produce the KML file RaceJoy needs. Follow the simple instructions outlined in the videos below to help you load your map according to the format you currently use.

No Map Tool

If you aren’t currently using any map building tools, no worries! There are great, free tools for you to use. Google Earth is a free, downloadable application you can use on any computer and then upload into your RaceJoy dashboard to customize. Or you can use RaceJoy’s map builder. You can also take advantage of tools like MapMyRun by walking, running, or biking the official race course and then importing your new file. The videos below can guide you on how to build your map using any of the tools you might choose.

Customizing your map:

You will want to customize your map by adding points along the course such as mile markers, water stops, aid stations, entertainment and so on. Some map building tools offer this ability, but you can choose to use RaceJoy’s map editor to customize your map. The videos also show you how to place your course’s mile markers according to your course certification document or the most accurate mile readings based on GPS.

Maintaining your map:

We know that courses change frequently. However, maintaining your map to be as accurate as possible is very important to ensure a positive user experience at your race. Below are a couple of options to maintain your course map:

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  1. Maintain with RaceJoy’s editor :
    1. If you don’t currently use a map building tool, you can maintain the map using RaceJoy’s Map Builder to make any changes to the course.
  1. Maintain in your current tool(s) and reimport the path:
    1. If you are already using a map building tool for other purposes, like for your website, you can update the course in your map building tool and just reload the map to the RaceJoy dashboard.

Helpful Videos

You can find these helpful how-to map building videos when setting up your race with RaceJoy.

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The videos are between 5 and 12 minutes long and cover topics like how to import your electronic course map, how to maintain your course map, and how to build a map using RaceJoy’s Map Builder or with tools like Google Earth. 

Accuracy is crucial! Many features in RaceJoy, like the GPS-based progress alerts at every mile, are dependent on the accuracy of your course maps. Participants and spectators receive progress alerts with information like current mile, pace and estimated finish time based on the mile markers on your course maps. Any changes in your course should be reflected in your RaceJoy course map to provide your participants and spectators with the best race day experience possible. Also, please make sure to do a thorough review of the map loaded into RaceJoy prior to race day.

If you have any questions about how to build your own map, please contact us at info@racejoy.com.

Together we are changing the race experience!

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Mobile Increase

Captain Obvious says Mobile is important for races. In comparing the start of 2016 with the start of 2015, the numbers for Mobile access are up 20% and purchasing they are up 50%:

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We have been tracking the increase in the Mobile transactions over the past few months as we made a number of enhancements that make checking out on Mobile even better (this is our 4th generation of Mobile, and we are about to come up with a really cool release that should make it even better in the next couple of weeks).

In September, when we simply had a responsive design, 47% of users were on mobile and they accounted for 25% of transactions. So pre-change the users went up 6 points and transactions only went up 4 points.  Since the changes, mobile users are up 3 points, but transactions are up 7 points.

Another proof point that Technology Matters!

Faster Page Loads

SpeedWe are always working on improving user experience, and made some updates for the new Free Race Websites we introduced a couple of months ago. We made a change today that reduced our CSS files by more than 50% and saves 36 kilobytes. This means there is less to download when a runner clicks on your race website, which means the pages display just a bit faster.

It is not much, but each small incremental improvement makes your race website better and easier to use for runners. Over the next several weeks we will be releasing our “Fast Registration” capability, which will help improve mobile conversions for your race.

New Release of RaceJoy!

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RaceJoy has just released a new version for Apple devices! The new release, version 3.1, rolls out many awesome improvements with new login flows, screen formats, user tips and GPS disconnected audio alerts. We are super excited by these new improvements and think you will be too!

Upon entering the app, you’ll immediately see a difference with a more modern feel to our login flows for both participants and spectators. This was designed to help make setting up RaceJoy for your individualized experience even easier.

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RaceJoy’s many advanced features requires both participants and spectators to set up their phones correctly so that they can engage with one another on race day. You’ll see that, while logging in, users now have the ability to easily set up different features they would like to experience on race day while ensuring proper system setup of their phone.

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You will also find that RaceJoy’s entry pages into each race have slightly changed. We’ve placed buttons to the more commonly used features to the top of the screen and tucked the lesser-used features under a new “More” area.

One aspect that is unique to Apple devices is the need to have users enable certain settings for RaceJoy to function properly. Apple does not allow Apps to override the person’s phone settings, so RaceJoy relies on the user for this. At times some power users turn certain functions off – not realizing this is disabling features like GPS tracking or receiving of alerts. With this release we’ve modified and added screens to help communicate these required settings.

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Confirm your iPhone Settings

In addition, this release of RaceJoy incorporates an audio GPS disconnect message for the race participant if their phone gets disconnected from RaceJoy. This can happen if there is poor cell reception or issues with the person’s phone. The alert is a handy way for users to know something has occurred and that they may need to re-enter RaceJoy to activate tracking.

Finally, another big change is the introduction of RaceJoy’s delivering of scored race results for PhoneTrak races. Up until now, race results have only been available for Featured Races in RaceJoy. Races can now offer official race timed results with the complementing GPS-based progress alerts in RaceJoy. Note: this will only be available for races where race organizers have contracted with RaceJoy for results.

Yes – this new release of RaceJoy is packed with great changes and we hope you like it. There is yet more to come and we will be issuing the Android version by October.

Please send us your feedback and insights to info@racejoy.com. If you experience any technical issues, help us to improve by sending as many details as you can.

If you’d like to be a brand ambassador or product tester, you can Apply Here.

New Race Website Mobile Optimizations

Mobile Race WebsiteWith over half of the traffic on RunSignUp coming from mobile phones (and another 10% coming from tablets), we are working hard to make the new race website very mobile friendly. Here are some of the cool things we are doing near term:

Optimize Images. We are actually creating multiple sizes of the cover images and will display the size most appropriate for the device. This means a laptop would see the full 1220X400 pixel image in a browser, but on a mobile phone you do not need that much resolution. This saves bandwidth and makes the page faster to download.

Content Delivery Network. All of the static content for your race website (images, CSS, Javascript, etc.) is being sent to your participant’s mobile devices by Amazon’s Content Delivery Network – over a dozen more local and network optimized locations around the US that make things as speedy as possible for users.

Credit Card EntryUsing the Right Keyboard. When you are asking participants for numbers (like their credit card), we pop up the number editor, not the regular keyboard. Little things like that reduce customer frustration, speed check-out and lower the chance they will abandon the process of signing up for your race.

Clean Mobile Menu. The flexible menu system works great on mobile as well.

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In the next month or two, we will be adding options for fast checkout. These will include auto-filling information for participants who already have signed up for a race with RunSignUp like basic info, but also things like Emergency Contact and Shirt Size. We will also be giving you the ability to turn off requirements for certain fields like street address or custom questions if they are on a mobile phone.