21st Century Online Registration
How do people interact with your race? In the 21st century, it’s through the internet. A powerful and effective race website that’s integrated with our timing software and contemporary race registration platform is a must, if you want to attract runners. And SpectaSport provides both a race website and online registration FREE as part of our timing services. We even set it up for you! We include these services for free because we want your race to be the best it can be. But, just as important, when organizers use their own registration software, we can’t give the runners all the features we like. In some cases, we even had to have runners re-register on race day, because the third-party registration used by the race didn’t even provide enough information to to calculate age group results. With SpectaSport’s fully-integrated online registration and results, you know you are getting a complete package.
When it comes to race registration, security is the most important part of the equation. SpectaSport partners with RunSignUp to provide the most secure, trouble-free 21st century credit card processing on the market. Nobody wants to deal with a data breach of their customer’s credit card info because a flimsy, over-the-counter credit card payment solution was used for a fundraising 5K. With SpectaSport’s online registration powered by RunSignUp, you can rest easy knowing that the best and latest technology is working for you.
Transparent and Above-Board
Knowledge is power when it comes to your race finances. So, SpectaSport’s registration solutions give you full back-office access with all kinds of ways to analyze your finances and marketing. Everything is transparent and above-board:
We don’t put advertisements on your free website to try to put extra jingle in our pockets.
We don’t try to sell your customers magazine subscriptions or hidden memberships for which other registration companies are notorious.
And, with SpectaSport, you’ll never, ever, have to pay a ransom to send emails to people who entered your race in previous years. It’s your data, you have access to it anytime you want. We don’t even collect email addresses unless one of your customers gives us explicit permission to occasionally send emails about other great races. SpectaSport may be a 21st century company, but we have a very old-school way of treating people. We call it “Respect”.
If this sounds like the race timing service that you want, please contact us so we can discuss your race.
Dropping the Hammer on “Stupidly Simple” Race-Day Registration
Digital tech is part of SpectaSport’s DNA. While other timing companies were still timing the majority of their races manually, SpectaSport was among the first timing companies in the region to provide chip timing exclusively for all races, even small charity 5Ks. SpectaSport was a pioneering user of the high-end RM race timing packages and was (and still is) a national leader in the use of kiosks for quick results dating back to 2012.
So why does a timing company that bills itself as Contemporary Timing for a Connected World” recommend the use of old-fashioned paper entries on race day? The answer is straightforward:
Do you want to trust YOUR race to a single cell tower and the assumption that your finish line isn’t in a cell phone dead zone?
Technology is a tool, not a goal.
In our blog post about what race organizers can learn from the Fyre Festival disaster, we quoted a line from Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Sometimes simple and low tech is the correct tool at the correct time.
Think about contractors building a house, they have truck loads of fancy power tools, but sometimes the best tool for a specific task is a simple (and effective) hammer. SpectaSport may be the most internet connected race timing company out there. But, we believe that “stupidly simple”, and effective paper registration is the correct tool on race morning in the real world.
Why a High-Tech Company Like SpectaSport Recommends Paper Entries on Race Day:
1. Reliability: All race timers gain access to the internet in the same way that the phone in your pocket does, through cell towers. Have you ever lost a cell phone connection while walking or driving?
As race timers:
- We’ve often been surprised by venues that didn’t have any cell coverage available (such as outside of a major casino).
- We’ve timed races in densely-populated areas where there was adequate cell coverage 100 yards away in either direction, but not actually at the finish line.
- We’ve had cell towers that stopped working when you need them most.
- And we’ve seen cell towers get overwhelmed by the extra traffic caused by participants all using their phones at larger races.
SpectaSport designs its systems with three backup computers, two backup power supplies and other system duplicates. But no timing company can provide a backup for the only cell tower in the area. So, the question remains, “Do you want to trust YOUR race to a single cell tower and the assumption that your finish line isn’t in a cell phone dead zone?”
2. Simplicity: Even if you have solid internet, how complicated do you want to make your walk-up registration process? In the real world, we’ve noted that most 5K races spend 90 seconds or less “training” their registration table volunteers. That only works well if the process is “stupidly simple” and obvious. Pens and paper are stupidly simple and foolproof – laptops on outdoor temporary networks are not. You only have a very limited time frame to register runners on race day (typically less than an hour for a 5K). How much of that limited and valuable time do you want to spend setting up and troubleshooting technology instead of collecting entry fees?
3. Reality: In the real world, there just aren’t that many walk-up registrations on race morning anymore (or there shouldn’t be, see #4 next). Most races these days have fewer than 20 people sign up at the race. SpectaSport’s method can easily enter over 100 entrants on race day, and has on many occasions. Having a high-tech approach to handle such a limited number of same day entries strikes us as a solution in search of a problem.
4. Sales: Many races and timing companies see a large number of same-day entries as a cause for celebration. But at SpectaSport, we see a large percentage of same-day entries as an expensive failure of your race’s marketing program. Instead of a narrow-minded focus on managing same day entries, the key question should be, “Why didn’t these people sign up ahead of time?” That’s why SpectaSport’s races generally have so few walk-up entries on race day to begin with. There is a reason why professional theater companies and sports teams place so much focus on season tickets – they want to ensure that they have their patron’s money before they have a chance to change their mind. Likewise, your race’s advance marketing and online registration should be driving people to sign up and give you their money NOW, instead of waiting to see if the weather will be nice on race day or forgetting about the race. Would you throw a wedding reception without RSVP’s? Of course not, you need to know how many people are coming so you can plan to have “enough”, but without wasting money by having “too much”. Races that rely on last-minute entries have to “guess” how many people to prepare for and can be financially damaged by a bad weather report that scares people away who haven’t already paid.
5. Results: As we said in one of our blog posts, “…isn’t “results” what you most want from a timing company?” Well, results can’t happen without registration data. If your registration data is stuck in a couple of laptops at the registration table, but not in the timing computer at the finish line, it doesn’t contribute to “results”. That’s why SpectaSport insists on a “stupidly simple”, “bomb-proof” method for handling those few last-minute entries on race day.
SpectaSport has access to all those same fancy, pretty tools for same-day digital registration, we just choose not to use them. Like the building contractor, sometimes setting up a fancy tool is more time and trouble than it’s worth, and the best tool for a particular task is a “stupidly simple” hammer.