This past Saturday was a terrific opportunity to test Good Times Software with a very large race. Two events, with a total of nearly 8,000 finishers! We had about 9,000 registered participants, but it was a “cause” race that attracts many extra registrants who want to help the cause but never intend on running. But that’s quite alright, it’s for a cause after all!
I’m thrilled to announce that Good Times Software was up to the job. In some ways, timing a large chip-timed race isn’t too different from timing a small one. Many of the things a timer must do remains the same, regardless of the quantity of participants. Yet some things are different. For example:
- Adequate backup RFID mats. With a huge volume of runners crossing an RFID mat at any given time, it’s always a good idea to have more backup mats than you may have for a small chip-timed event.
- Software that can handle large volumes of data efficiently. This seems like a no-brainer, but until you’ve exercised timing software with large volumes of data, you simply can’t predict how it will react.
- More time for data cleansing in advance of the race. It never fails, some people may not provide their date-of-birth (required for age bracketing) or accidentally type in nasty characters into another field, like street address. For a small race, these can be fixed quickly, but for a large race it takes some time (see my previous post regarding CLEAN data.)
Though Good Times produced accurate results and overall gave a stellar performance at these large events, a couple necessary improvements have already been made and are currently in testing. These improvements include how the software manages large sets of data it displays on its screens. In a couple instances, for the larger of the two races, data simply took longer than what I had hoped to display. So that has been addressed. We also added logic to not attempt to re-process chip records which had been processed before. That may seem like a no-brainer to you, but for smaller races the extra effort of doing this step wasn’t worth it.
Good Times has come a long way from being a computerized system for manual timing of small events. Wow… what a great thing to see. If you’d like more information, visit our website at GoodTimesSoftware.com, or our Facebook page, or even our YouTube Channel.