Planning your eventSo you've just bought RaceSplitter and are planning your first event.
So you’ve just bought RaceSplitter and are getting ready to time your first event. Here’s what you’ll want to think about.
Are you going to use the app alone, or in conjunction with the RaceSplitter.com website?
You’ll almost certainly want to use the app in conjunction with the RaceSplitter.com website. Here are the benefits of creating your race at RaceSplitter.com, timing it with the app, and then posting the results back to the website:
- It’s much easier to create your race online by uploading your entire start list in one go as a CSV file, and then downloading the race to your app for timing. If you need help building your CSV, we have a downloadable Starter Kit of Excel and CSV files.
- Creating your race at RaceSplitter.com will allow you to later post your results there, which is great for public viewing, sorting, filtering and printing.
- The website allows you to track two user-definable fields, whereas the app online only allows you to track one. For more information, see our Categories article.
- The website offers far richer results editing capabilities than the app. For more information, see our Editing Results article.
- If you plan to take race-day registrations, its easier to add them to the start list at the website, and then download a fresh copy of the race to the app for timing just before the race starts.
How will you start your racers?
Most races are “mass start”, in which all racers start together. In cycling time trials, and nordic skiing, where racers start separated by some fixed time interval, these are “interval-start”. If you’re starting waves of racers together, separated by some fixed time interval, this is a “wave-start” race. Finally, if you’re starting individual or waves of racers separated by a variable time—e.g. if you’re manually starting them—this is a “variable start” race.
You can read more about race start types in this article. And if your race is an interval or wave start, and there’s a risk that any participants might start in the wrong order (or wave), it’s important to be aware of the risk of automatic start-time adjustment.
Will you be timing multiple races in parallel?
Some events run multiple races in parallel, such as a 10km fun-run and a 42km marathon. Ideally you’d time each with a dedicated device running RaceSplitter (which you can do even with a single purchase), each timing a separate RaceSplitter race.
But you can also perfectly well time multiple races on a single device, in a single RaceSplitter race, using the “Team” field to distinguish races. To do this, the following conditions must be true:
- The bib numbers across all races must be unique (so that no bib number is repeated in multiple races).
- If those races are all mass-start races, the races should all be started at the same time.
Note that if you’re event is multi-staged, like, say, the Tour de France, you’ll need to time each stage as a separate RaceSplitter race, and would need to compute overall times in a spreadsheet as RaceSplitter currently doesn’t support aggregating times across multiple races.
How many devices will you need?
If you only plan to time people finishing the race, you can often get by with a single device. If you want to time intermediate points on the course—like each leg of a triathlon—you can do that by timing with Multiple Devices.
If your race start type is variable start, in which you’ll be timing the start of each participant, in addition to their finish, then you’ll need at least two device.
Note that in multi-device timing, RaceSplitter assumes each device is on a separate point on the course. Therefore, multiple device can NOT be used to share in the work of timing a single point on the course.
How many dimensions (category types) will you need to track?
The RaceSplitter app allow to track one user-defined field, called “Group”. Many race organizers use this to track categories—such as men, women and kids. The RaceSplitter.com website allows the tracking of one additional user-defined field, called “Team”. These labels—Group and Team—are arbitrary, and you can rename them at the website to anything you like, such as “Category” and “Race”. Finally, given the powerful results filtering capabilities at the RaceSplitter.com website, you can actually track as many dimensions as you like through creative definition of your category names. See this article about Categories to learn more.
Is your race multi-lap?
If so, you’ll probably need to enable auto-split mode so that an additional lap is automatically added to the race by RaceSplitter each subsequent time you time a racer. Enabling auto-split mode exposes you to the risk of erroneous splits getting created on the race, so if your race is NOT multi-lap, then you’ll want to make sure auto-split is disabled.
Also, if your race is multi-lap and fixed in time—e.g. who can run the most laps in 24 hours—you’ll want to set the race type to “Fixed Time” to avoid participant finishers being listed as DNF (Did Not Finish).
Do you expect multiple racers (groups) to be finishing together?
If so, you’ll need to be familiar with both how to use the RaceSplitter timing bar—which allows you to assign the same time to multiple finishers—as well as how to create bibless timing entries in rapid-fire fashion that you can later edit.
Even using the timing bar and bibless timing techniques, there’s a limit to how many people you can manually time at the same time! If you expect groups larger than say, five, to arrive together, you might consider setting up a single-file chute at the finish line, into which finishers enter, but can’t leave until timed. In this way, you’ll have a guaranteed-correct finish order, at the sacrifice of potential timing accuracy as people wait in the queue for a few moments to get timed.
Have you practiced/simulated your event at least once?
There are typical problems that arise in the timing of any event, such as timing the wrong bib number, accidentally timing a participant twice or having missed timing a racer during a multi-split event. It’s important to understand how to recover from these problems ahead of time, and for that reason our strongest recommendation is to practice timing a simulated test race beforehand. During that simulation, you’ll want to make sure you understand how everything work, including:
- How to make race-day edits to your start list
- How to restart the race if you accidentally start it too early
- How make edits, such as deleting a timing entry or correcting a split assignment
- How to publish results to RaceSplitter.com and work with them there
Always remember — People who practice timing their race beforehand almost never have problems. But people who try to figure everything out for the first time on race day, often do!