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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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.