Timing a 5k and 10k running race togetherThis article describes the considerations involved in timing a common event — 5k and 10k races which are run together.
This article assumes that you’re planning to time 5k and 10k mass-start races that start together at the same time, and will be timed together at the same finish line in a single RaceSplitter race (as opposed to being timed by separate devices, each timing a separate race.)
Finish-line timing considerations
Before going further, it’s important to recall that RaceSplitter is a manually operated timing system—meaning that as participants cross the finish line, you’ll manually type in their bib numbers, and tap the record button.
Since 5k and 10k races are quite fast, you can expect groups to be finishing together, which presents challenges in manually timing. We have an article about timing groups that proposes some options. (Remember, any given split—including the finish line–can only be timed by a single device. So two devices, for example, can not share in the timing of the finish line.)
If the two races are being timed together in a single RaceSplitter “race”, you’ll need to ensure unique bib numbers across both events, e.g. you can’t have a bib 12 in the 5k race, and a bib 12 in the 10k race as well.
Finally, if the 10k race is setup to be two laps of the 5k race, and you intend to time the 10k runners the first time they cross the line (starting their second lap), you’ll need understand how auto-split mode works, and also read our article about the risks of erroneous splits.
A safer option, as mentioned in that same article, would be to not time the 10k runners at their half-way point—i.e. only timing them when they finish—and then disable the auto-split setting on the race to prevent any possibility of erroneous splits. Of course, this would imply that when timing, you can visually differentiate the 5k and 10k runners somehow—e.g. by shirt or bib color—in order to know who to time when.
Creating your race at RaceSplitter.com
As is almost always the case, it’s best to create your race at RaceSplitter.com, and then download it to the device (or devices) that will be participating in timing the race. Step 4 of the Getting Started tutorial explains the two methods for downloading a race from the website to your device for timing—by email, or directly importing from Safari.
Distinguishing races and categories
The RaceSplitter App supports a single user-configurable field, called “Group”, that most people use to track categories. As discussed in our article about categories, the RaceSplitter website supports a second user-configurable field, called “Team”, that could be used to distinguish your two races.
To allow visitors (and the organizer) to filter on both category and race, the results must be published to the website (see this article for details about results publication), and filtered and sorted there (again, since the app itself only supports a single field.)
The “Group” and “Team” labels are arbitrary. Once results are published to RaceSplitter.com, these labels can be modified to, say, “Category” and “Race”.
If you take race day registrations, it’s best to record them on the race directly at RaceSplitter.com, rather than in the app itself. In addition to being much easier from a data entry perspective, this allows multiple organization staff to be taking registrations at the same time. Once registration closes, and before the race starts, you would simply download a fresh copy of the updated race to the device timing the event.
Although editing results on the device itself is possible, the editing features there are very limited. Editing results at the RaceSplitter website, after they have been published, is a far better option, with more features. Remember, however, that once you’ve edited results published to RaceSplitter.com, they are locked from being re-published from the device (since at that point, the authoritative data is assumed to live at the website.) See our article about results for more details.
Practice, practice, practice
The strongest advice we can provide, from experience, is to simulate your event at least once using a test race you create at RaceSplitter.com. There’s no cost to do this. This will give you an opportunity to get hands-on experience with all the subtleties of using RaceSplitter (timing groups together, correcting timing errors, etc.) Organizers who simulate their event beforehand, almost never run into problems, while those who assume they’ll figure everything out on race day almost always run into problems.