Writing this post in late January brings back fond memories of this time of year: ramping up the planning efforts for one (sometimes two) of the races where I served as director for a few years. This particular event was the primary means of raising funds for the organizer and I’m glad to say we were successful every year. But it would never have happened without a substantial amount of planning.
While planning is important for all aspects of your event, of most interest to me is the planning elements associated with event registration and timing. Timing a race, after all, is what makes it a race! Though “how to time a race” is simple enough conceptually, in reality it can become complex when one considers things like: computers, software, registration data, bib distribution, electrical power, backup power, volunteer training, report generation, and last but not least, a throng of impatient runners anxious to get through the registration line and on to the starting line.
For your event, will you offer online pre-registration? Will you offer on-site race day registration? Maybe you will offer both. Whatever the case, you’ll need to think about how to appropriately staff your event to make the process smooth for your participants. Timing a race using computerized software like Good Times requires you to plan appropriately for the number of participants in your race. A large number of participants, for example, may mean you need to have two or three people serving as timers. Otherwise runner density at the finish line can overwhelm a single timer leading to errors. We certainly don’t want that!
On our YouTube Channel, I’ve published a video called Planning Registration and Timing for your event that was created to give you an idea of many things you’ll want to consider. Check it out when you have some time.