One area where I often notice event directors struggling is the awards ceremony. When the question of how to time a race comes up, the subsequent question of how to plan and provide awards sometimes goes unanswered.
Think about the planning part of it for a moment. Considerations include:
- Will we be categorizing finishers into age brackets?
- Will we be giving awards for age brackets?
- If so, will we give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards for age brackets?
- Will we just be giving overall awards?
- Or awards for gender only?
- And will we allow “double-dipping,” where a finisher can win in two different award categories?
- What will our actual awards consist of? Medals, trophy’s, gift certificates, a new car?
There are other things to think of, too, but those are just a sample of the common items. The Awards Ceremony itself normally happens near the end of the event, or when the vast majority of finishers have crossed the finish line. It’s not uncommon, especially in smaller races, to have casual runners or walkers taking their time and never expecting an award in the first place. Not once have I seen them be upset that the awards ceremony had already begun by the time they arrived at the finish line.
Announcers often have either a hand-written list of award recipients, or are left to look at basic finish-line reports in an attempt to decipher who should be getting awards. This process leads to frustration, and even errors.
We’ve taken another approach in Good Times, and I highly recommend all event directors at least consider this method. Before your event, setup the Award Types and Award Categories in Good Times. An example of an Award Category would be: First Place – Overall. And example of an Award Type would be: Trophy.
About half-way through your event, someone can use one of the available computers to look at the Event Results, and begin assigning awards to the finishers. This is all done in the software, and very simply I might add. Continue to assign the awards until all of the available awards have been assigned. Then, an Awards Report can be printed and handed to the announcer at the end of the event. The Awards Report contains all of the finishers who are to be provided an award, their finish times, the Award Category and the Award Type. (We provide the Award Type so the announcer or an assistant knows specifically which award to grab off of your awards table!)
We have a video on our YouTube Channel demonstrating how to setup and assign awards. Please take some time to check it out!