Timing a Large Race with Good Times Software

Hello Readers,

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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