RaceJoy Goes Extreme in Alaska!

Picture1.png

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.

Picture2.png

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!

Picture3.png

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!

Picture4.png

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

Picture5.png

 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!

Picture6.png

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.

Picture11.png

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.

Picture7.png

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.

Picture8.png

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!

Picture9.png

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).

Lively Connections at Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon Madness!

Picture1

This past weekend, race organizers of the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon Madness offered a fully-connected race using RaceJoy –  not just for the participants and spectators, but for the race operations team as well.

This was the first time the Wrightsville Beach Marathon used RaceJoy and people fully embraced the new technology – close to 2,400 people used RaceJoy’s interactive race day features and more than 800 participants and operations personnel were tracked through their phones on race day!

Picture2

Even though some users had a little hesitation using RaceJoy for the first time, like Gary (below), the response was overwhelmingly positive!

This Saturday I ran the Wrightsville Beach Marathon. Leading up to the race, I was a little annoyed to hear that all tracking would be done with RaceJoy via smart phones. This annoyance came from the fact that I never run with a phone, just my GPS watch.  My wife convinced me to take my phone so that she could track me.

I honestly couldn’t have been happier after realizing what a great app this is! It wasn’t even until during the race that I realized. My friend kept saying “your phone is talking?” I had the volume down, so I turned it up and enjoyed the mileage updates.

But the key moment for me, was around mile 18-19. I was struggling. My running buddies had pushed on as they are faster than me and I was not in a good place. I didn’t even know that messages could be sent through the app, let alone be read out to you. At this low point in the race, a message was read out to me “Don’t quit Daddy!  I love you” from my 11-year old daughter, 30 seconds later another message “Go Daddy, Go!” From my 7-year old daughter Anja.

These messages brought a tear to my eyes.  But they also gave me to strength I needed at exactly the time I needed it!  I went on to finish my first marathon.

Thank you RaceJoy. – Gary D.

Thank you Gary for sharing your story! This is exactly why we created RaceJoy – to connect family and friends and to support you through those rough moments!

Picture3
Kelley, Emma and Katie! — Photo Provided by Kelley M. – Wrightsville Half Participant

Kelley and her friends participated in the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon together and also used RaceJoy so their family and friends could see their progress along the way.

My name is Kelley and myself and two of my friends, Emma and Katie trained for the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon together and used the RaceJoy app during the race. Our friends and family loved being able to see our progress along the way and send us cheers! We also liked being able to find each other’s location using the app and know where each of us were. It’s a really great app!!

Emma’s boyfriend, Tyler (who is also my boyfriend Matt’s oldest brother) lost his vision to Retinitis Pigmentosa and completed his 5th full marathon that day!! He raised over $2,000 for The Foundation Fighting Blindness. Tyler and Matt’s parents completed the full marathon as well!  It was an amazing day  — Kelley M.

Picture4
Photo of Tyler M. – Wrightsville Beach Marathon Participant

Over the course of the race weekend, close to 33,000 progress alerts were issued giving people real-time progress updates at every mile! The updates included information like current location, pace, and estimated finish time.  Also, 5,500 cheers were sent on race day connecting supporting family and friends with participants real-time as they completed the course.

Picture5
Photo from Wrightsville Beach Marathon Website

 

Race Operations Live Tracking

Race organizers took things further by using RaceJoy to track the race operations team from the app and through RaceJoy’s Race Day Monitoring System. Race personnel could quickly see the location of rest of the team while they were working the race. Plus, the race used RaceJoy’s web console monitoring system to see a global view of operations along with the race participants using RaceJoy. The monitoring console also allowed staff to Send-a-Message to operations personnel like the race director using text to speech technology.

Picture6

The Race Organizers chose to use a unique bib number (9999) just for the race operations team. This made it super easy for the team to find one another in the app where they look up one bib number versus searching for individual names or code names. Most used the function they served as their name such as “Lead Men Half Marathon” and “Landfall/ Military Van”. This further simplifies things for everyone to see at-a-glance the status of the various roles of the team.

Picture7

For more information about using RaceJoy for race operations, please see this recent Webinar.

The Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon Madness offers its participants a fast, flat and notorious course for personal bests with a peak elevation of only 32 feet. From first timers to veterans, the event weekend attracts a variety of runners! With a glimpse of what Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington have to offer, the course starts at the beach and runs through Landfall and finishes at UNCW Campus.

Picture8
Photo from Wrightsville Beach Marathon Facebook

We are glad we were able to be part of this fully connected and lively race day experience that offers something for everyone! Thank you, finishers, for using RaceJoy and for sharing your personal stories. Special thanks to race organizers for embracing new technology and helping to change the race experience!

racejoylogo

Want to expand your race day communications? RaceJoy has the answer!

RaceJoy offers a variety of communications options that offer real-time messaging with a highly engaged audience of participants, their supporting family and friends, and your race operations team.

picture1

From pre-loaded text formatted messages that reach the masses to individualized text-to-audio messages, you now have a communication system that provides powerful assistance in managing your race day experience.

Mass Communication News Alerts: Races can send important race news to everyone who has entered their race in RaceJoy – participants, spectators and race operations. These are issued as an in-app notifications and appear like a text message with a one-click action to a formatted multimedia message. Messages can be pre-loaded and scheduled ahead of time or issued on-the-fly as needed.

The format of the messages can include text, images, URL’s and links to websites, videos, etc. Race organizers manage these messages from their RaceJoy dashboard shown below.

Picture2 2.54.21 PM.png

2. Participant Only, Instant Text-to-Audio Messages: These are sent as needed on race day and can be sent to the following:

  • Direct to individual participants
  • Mass message to all participants in a particular course

Messages are typed in by the race organizer or timer in RaceJoy’s Race Day Monitoring System. The race organizer types in the desired message and it is played instantly in audio format through the RaceJoy app. The ability to communicate directly to a participant on race day is a major breakthrough for the industry and is extremely helpful in situations where an individual has gone off course, a personal emergency has occurred or there is a change in plans for the race like with impending weather.

picture3

3. Race Operations, Instant Text-To Audio Communication: There are two ways to use RaceJoy to communicate with the race operations team on race day:

  1. Team member to team member: race personnel can send instant audio messages to each other in the app while they are out on the course by using RaceJoy’s Text-to-Cheer feature.
  2. Race management to team member: The race manager or timer can send instant text-to-audio messages through RaceJoy’s Race Day Monitoring system.

The race operations team can also track one another by using the GPS tracking feature in RaceJoy. To use the communications tools and tracking tools, the team members need to click “I Want to Be Tracked” and login as a race participant. Most races will use the role they are performing (Lead, tail, Sag Wagon, Race Director, etc.) or a code name (Top Dog, Who’s the Boss, etc.) instead of their real name.

picture1

Messages can be reviewed or replayed at any time by going to the Buzz Section in the RaceJoy app.

picture5

Many races use RaceJoy as part of their formal emergency communications plan. For example, some will pre-load emergency contingency messages should they need to close the course due to weather conditions.

picture6

A few races have used RaceJoy to help communicate course closures due to poor weather conditions. In one instance, we were told by the race director that the participants and spectators at their race knew the course needed to close due to lightning before the police did because of RaceJoy’s messaging system.

Since RaceJoy involves high engagement and social sharing, it makes for a very effective platform for race day communications.

picture7

“I love the app. I think it is seriously an awesome feature and I’m happy we were able to collaborate with you on enhancing our offering to those involved in this event.” –  Scranton Running Co.

If you have questions or want to learn more about all the race day communications and race organizer features available in RaceJoy, feel free to watch this How-To Tutorial on the Race Day Monitoring System or send us an email at info@racejoy.com.