I’ve been in the data business for quite some time at least in one way or another, and have seen my fair share of bad data. Call it bad, ugly, dirty, messy—whatever you want, it’s out there in the wild stalking you and waiting to bite!
When it comes to how to time a race, one can easily forget about the value of good, clean data. Let’s take a simple example: many online registration sites fail to check the validity of data being entered by race registrants. I’ve seen it all: invalid phone numbers, strange characters in the middle of an address field, a comma or quote in the middle of something that makes no sense, and much more.
Good Times has been designed to work with clean data. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Sure, it may mean a little more “data cleansing” before you upload if you’ve gotten data from one of these registration sites that do not validate anything. But the value of having clean data means that reports are accurate (try sorting on City or Name fields that have special characters…go ahead, I dare you!), they look nice, and things like Age Range reporting actually functions properly.
So, yes, event directors, you’ve been warned! Strive for good data, clean data, validated and properly formatted data. You’ll be glad you did.