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).

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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Rock Lobster Relay Rocks RaceJoy!

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This past weekend the 2nd Annual Rock Lobster Relay, a multi-day 200 mile course along the scenic Maine coastline, offered RaceJoy for the second year in a row. 52 teams competed and 614 runners and supporting spectators used RaceJoy over the weekend!

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The Rock Lobster Relay is known for its firsts…

 

This relay is the first of its kind in Maine.

A truly unique experience, the relay is a 36-leg 200-mile course completed by teams of 7 to 12 runners. The race starts in the beautiful town of Bar Harbor on Friday and runs through the night, ending in Portland’s famous Old Port on Saturday. Runners enjoy Maine’s eastern rocky coast in its most beautiful time in the summer, soak up the historic Portland neighborhoods, and wind their way to the finish passing unique stores and micro-breweries.

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Photos from Rock Lobster Relay Facebook Page

 

Rock Lobster Relay is organized by a company first to offer RaceJoy in Maine.

This relay is managed by GiddyUp Productions, a race management company that was the first to offer RaceJoy at a number of events in Maine, including the Maine Coast Marathon and the Old Port Half Marathon.

 

First ultra-distance relay course to use RaceJoy’s newest relay team release.

And, this year, the Rock Lobster Relay claims another first – its participants used the new team release of RaceJoy that provided progress alerts every five miles and included location, team pace, leg pace and estimated finish time. This was the first time RaceJoy had a course of this length use the team progress alert feature and nearly 5,000 alerts were issued over the course for the weekend.

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Over the course of the two days 300 runners opted to use RaceJoy’s live phone tracking feature. This is one of RaceJoy’s most popular features – it allows users to know where team members are at any given time by watching the runner’s blue dot move along an interactive course map in real-time. RaceJoy uses the runners’ phones as GPS trackers, so it shows users the true position versus a simulated location.

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Photo from Rock Lobster Relay Website

For the runners, RaceJoy provided a real-time, interactive map of where the runners were on the ground at all times. This made it easier for teams to meet at transition points.

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Photo from Rock Lobster Relay Facebook Page

Runners also experienced real-time support while they were running the long course from their team members and family and friends through RaceJoy’s Send-a-Cheer feature. 1,300 cheers were sent as encouragement while the runners completed their legs.

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Additionally, RaceJoy provided the race management team a safety tool, providing continual live tracking of runners’ locations during the overnight portion of the course. The race operations team could watch participants through the RaceJoy Race Day Monitoring system or have them loaded into the app on their phones. Through the monitoring system, the race ops team could also view how many teams had crossed milestones along the course to better plan or be alerted if participants were off-course – a concern for many ultra-distance courses with overnight legs.

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Photo from Rock Lobster Relay Facebook Page

Relays are growing in popularity and we see more and more races offer relay options at their events. Relays offer a great way to achieve something with others and to participate in a race you might not do on your own. The team spirit of accomplishing this Rock Lobster Relay was evident and it was great to see the reception from both the relay race organizers and the participants on race day!

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Photo from Rock Lobster Relay Facebook Page

Congratulations finishers and thank you GiddyUp Productions for your continued support of RaceJoy.

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If you’d like to offer RaceJoy to your participants and spectators at an upcoming event, you can easily load your race through RaceJoy’s website or your RunSignUp dashboard. We require a two-week minimum load time and an electronic version of your course map (preferably in GPX/KML format).

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Map Matters

RunSignUp’s RaceJoy recently held a webinar to share information about map matters in relation to RaceJoy’s race day mobile app. Below is a summation of what was covered or you can view the recording here:

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Topics covered include:

  • Why Your Course Matters
  • Map Adjustments
  • Cell Conditions Verification
  • Extra Value:
    • Custom Map Markers
    • Custom Cheer Points

Why Your Course Matters

Your course map is the foundation from which RaceJoy applies a great deal of its technology. RaceJoy uses the path, which is your course map, and then measures participants’ proximity to milestones on that path to issue progress alerts.

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Features like Live Phone Tracking and GPS-Based Progress Alerts are highly dependent on the accuracy of your course map. You want to make sure you have an accurate course map loaded, or participants will appear that they are off course. Furthermore, the GPS progress alerts, which are typically sent out at every mile, include information like location, elapsed time, pace and estimated finish time. If the course map is inaccurate, this information will be wrong, leading to frustrated participants and spectators on race day. The goal with RaceJoy is to have a synchronized experience between what’s happening on the course and in the app.

The most important points on the course are the START and FINISH locations. The locations loaded in your course map should be at the exact actual locations at the race site. If these change, make sure they get adjusted in your map in RaceJoy. You can always call or send an email to support@racejoy.com on race day, if you aren’t able to access a computer.

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To improve the accuracy of your map, you may need to adjust the Start and Finish, and move mile markers in RaceJoy.

Map Adjustments

It is very easy to make course changes at any time all the way through race day. All you need to do is go to your race dashboard and click the Adjust Course Map button. From there, it’s a user-friendly tool to customize and correct the path and any markers by dragging and dropping necessary points. Learn more by watching this video about the Map Building Tool.

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We suggest having your lead vehicles use RaceJoy so you can track them. This will allow you to quickly address any issues with participants going off-course.

Checking Your Cell Conditions

You can use the Try RaceJoy feature to test the cell conditions on your course. This feature allows you to track yourself or someone else and provides freestyle GPS tracking. Races can use Try RaceJoy to drive the course and determine any trouble spots.

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If you have known weak cell areas on the course, we can apply a Poor Cell Zone graphic overlay on the map in RaceJoy to manage expectations. RaceJoy is designed to pick up the connection once the participant enters a functioning cell area.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Map

Customize Your Map

You can customize your map with various markers on the course like water stops, entertainment zones, medic tents, and sponsor locations. This can be done through your RaceJoy dashboard. You can add a label for the marker, a custom description and an icon to appear for that marker. See the webinar video for a quick how to.

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Custom Cheer Points

A new feature with RaceJoy is custom Cheer Points. This allows you to add gamification to your event and is a creative way to engage with participants during the race by delivering cheer messages to participants when they reach certain geographic positions on the course. Examples include sending supportive messages at known tough spots on the course, a congratulations finisher cheer or a sponsor jingle as they pass a local sponsor. You can issue RaceJoy’s pre-loaded cheers, load in your own audio file or type in a message that is then played in audio format.

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See the Map Matters video on how you can add custom Cheer Points to your course.

If you’d like more information about RaceJoy, please email info@racejoy.com or visit our website at www.racejoy.com.

 

RaceJoy Introduces Course Gamification for Race Organizers and Sponsors

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May 26, 2017 – Moorestown, NJ – RunSignUp’s race day mobile application, RaceJoy, announces its newest feature, custom Cheer Points, for race organizers of running, walking and cycling events. Race organizers can now schedule custom audio messages to be delivered to participants’ phones at designated geographic positions along the event’s course. RaceJoy is the industry’s leading race day technology solution with live, real-time tracking, GPS-based progress alerts, audio cheer sending, and race day monitoring for the operations team. This newest feature gives the ability for race organizers to creatively engage with participants and innovatively to showcase sponsors.

Continue reading…

RaceJoy Record: Most Relay Teams at Colfax Marathon

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RaceJoy had the most usage of relay teams at a single race since its inception at this last weekend’s Colfax Marathon in Denver, Colorado with close to 700 teams using RaceJoy. RaceJoy recently released an industry breakthrough where it virtually ties relay team phones together to provide progress alerts for the team. Colfax is one of the largest relay marathons in the country and offers various relay team options, from two-person teams to five-person teams.

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Relay teams using RaceJoy have two ways to be tracked using RaceJoy. The first is the ability to see where team members are on an interactive map showing the official Colfax Marathon course. RaceJoy tracks the GPS location of the participant’s phone. So, people were able to see each other’s location in real-time. Also, as team members drew close to one another, they received NearMe alerts that included a cowbell alert sound along with a pop-up message.

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The second form of tracking includes Team Progress Alerts when team members cross each mile on the course. Alerts are issued in audio format to the runner on the course and as in-app notifications to the rest of the team. Alerts include location, elapsed time for the team, split time for current leg, and estimated finish time for the team. Relay teams and individual runners clearly made full use of RaceJoy at Colfax with 78,000 progress alerts being issued in RaceJoy.

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Relay teams could also use RaceJoy to support and communicate with each other during the Colfax Marathon using RaceJoy’s Send-a-Cheer feature. We saw more than 11,000 cheers delivered on race day. People could send pre-loaded audio cheer clips and ‘Can’t Touch This’ was the top cheer used.

Also, runners and supporting spectators made full use of RaceJoy’s text-to-cheer feature with more than 1,800 messages being delivered. This is where people can type in a custom message and it is delivered in audio format.

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Most marathons offer a relay component to give more choices to runners. However, there aren’t many options in the running industry for tracking relay teams, and using the traditional bib tag tracking is typically very limited, if offered at all. Plus, many of the established larger events are hesitant to introduce new technology to their races. We want to recognize the race organizers of the Colfax Marathon for embracing RaceJoy’s technology to provide an interactive experience for their participants and supporting spectators. They also did a lot to help educate people on the new technology to ensure a positive experience. Thank you, Colfax Marathon, for helping us to change the race experience!

 

May Brings New Records for RaceJoy!

This is the third RaceJoy record in the month of May! We also had record breaking overall usage and the fastest runner to use RaceJoy. What’s next?! Stay tuned for the first to offer custom geo-positioning Cheer Points for race organizers!

Vermont City Marathon

This coming weekend brings another relay focused event on the other side of the country at Vermont City Marathon. RunVermont was the first marathon with a significant relay focus to offer RaceJoy. If you have a group of friends you like doing relays with, both Vermont City Marathon and Colfax Marathon offer a great race experience in beautiful parts of our country!

 

 

Fastest Runner to Run with RaceJoy! Places First in 2017’s Maine Coast Marathon

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“Being able to share my race experience with my family and others with an improved level of detail via RaceJoy was pretty awesome.”

Rob Gomez

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On May 14, Rob Gomez, placed first and won the Maine Coast Marathon with a finish time of 2:34 averaging 5:54 minute miles. Rob’s time would have been even less if it weren’t for an unintentional detour at the race caused by a volunteer accidently sending people the wrong way (something we actually see more than you would expect and something all race organizers and runners clearly wish to avoid). It was a cold and rainy day and Rob chose to run with his phone and use RaceJoy so that his family could track his location and progress since they could not make it to the race site.

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We get some of the faster elite runners using RaceJoy, but many prefer not to carry their phone and are concerned that the extra weight might slow them down. Clearly, this was not an issue for Rob as he flew through the course.

We asked Rob a few questions about using RaceJoy…

-Why did you use RaceJoy?

Both my mom and my daughter wanted to follow my progress in the race but neither could make it to the course to watch in person. So, I thought using the RaceJoy app would be a great way for them to follow my progress more closely from afar than more traditional online tracking methods allow.

-Were you concerned that carrying your phone would slow you down?

A little bit, but I had run with my phone in my hand on numerous occasions before, even during workouts, and I realized that it didn’t bother me that much to carry it that way. It was raining pretty hard on race day so before the race I just started the tracking on the app and then put my phone in a Ziploc bag before stuffing it in an iPhone carrying arm band. The phone stayed perfectly dry and the arm band kept the phone close to my shoulder and therefore closer to my center of mass; that way, I was able to expend less energy carrying the phone during the race (as opposed to carrying it in my hand). Besides, an iPhone 6S is only a little over 3oz, so we’re not talking a lot of weight. In the end, carrying the phone didn’t bother me at all. An extra 3oz of weight isn’t going to slow anyone down very much – we’re talking maybe a few seconds over the course of an entire marathon. I was more than willing to make that trade-off.

-What was your experience with using RaceJoy? Did you like it? Did those tracking you like using it?

RaceJoy has a very easy-to-use and self-explanatory interface and it performed exactly how I expected it would. Not only were my family members able to follow along without any trouble, I found out after I had finished that other folks were following my progress as well on the app. Being able to share my race experience with my family and others with an improved level of detail via RaceJoy was pretty awesome.

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RaceJoy was designed to meet the needs of all runners. Our initial planning meetings included a product roadmap that met the needs of what we call the “Serious Steves”, the “Novice Nancies”, and the “Fit & Fun Fran & Frank”. Where cheers may mean a lot to the first time marathoner, the Serious Steve may be more interested in just having the ability for others to track his/her progress with mile splits.

If we could, we also would recognize the slowest runner/walker in RaceJoy since those coming in last have an equally impressive story to tell. We’ve talked to many of you and know the struggles you have faced and the determination it takes to keep going and complete the goal you set out to accomplish. During the race, we live monitor the race field from RaceJoy’s monitoring system and we don’t stop until the last runner is in. If you are in the last of the pack and are using RaceJoy, know that one of us is tracking you and rooting you on!

For those of you that would like some coaching guidance on your running, Rob is actually a personal coach and offers a variety of options for all types of runners that you can do with him remotely. He has a strong background in running and in 2013 was New England Runner Magazine’s Maine Runner of the Year. Clearly, he knows what he is doing! You can find more information here: https://www.easternshoretraining.com/.

Thanks, Rob, and all of you who use RaceJoy and continue to support us in changing the race experience. We will catch you at the next race!

Special thanks to Maine Coast Marathon race organizers and Shipyard Brewing Company for offering RaceJoy again this year and being one of the original races to bring RaceJoy to Maine!