Timely race results are one of the most important aspects of any race.
So it goes without saying that you have to get the race results just right to be successful.
We all know about the challenge of collecting times correctly, and the stress behind posting results that are contested.
In my article Using timing as your essential tool for race day arbitration, I detail all the elements needed to manage a successful timing effort.
If you’re new to timing a race, you can revisit that article to get yourself antiquated with 10 great tactics for making your timing better.
However, this article is specifically aimed at addressing a problem that MANY racers have with you — the race promoter.
Me? What did I do?
It might not be you, but then it again it could be you!
Let’s see if you have a problem when it comes to results.
Do you fit into any one of the following descriptions?
I’m in no hurry
Results are just not that important to you.
Or maybe I should say that you do not treat your results with any sense of urgency.
A sense of urgency?
Nothing upsets a racer more than when a race promoter does not post results just after their race has finished.
Now, to be fair, some promoters might need a little time after the race as just finished to get the results reviewed and printed out.
Racers have certain fundamental expectations during any race.
A big one is the posting of race results once a race is finished.
The least you could do is put up the results within a few minutes of the last finish.
Hours later is not going to cut it, especially when everyone who cared has given up and gone home.
It’s just too complicated
You’ve decided to post your results later in the week.
They’re just too difficult to compute right now.
The race promoter that cannot post results on race day is even more disliked.
This is a race, right?
How do you have a podium at the end of the day if you do not have results?
I have top 3!
If you can do top 3, you can post all the results too.
A race without results might as well be a picnic without food.
Add to that the fact that races are not free.
Racers paid you — YOU — good money to come out and race your event.
Not having results on race day is downright unprofessional.
This could be a sign that you are not ready for this business.
Only the top finishers matter
But I post my race results!
Yes, you do! But are you one of those race promoters that only list “x” number of results, or maybe only the top 10?
What about those racers that have yet to come in?
You mean the slow ones that mess up my schedule?
I hope you’re not thinking that slow racers don’t get results.
If there were 30 racers in that category, how difficult would it be to post the first 20, then post the whole list when everyone has finished?
Yet, too many race promoters do not bother to go back with a complete list.
Oh, and that special category you added to your race after the officials left?
I guess they have to find out online, long after the race is over.
Yeah! If you think this way, don’t expect many of those racers to come back.
They will care about your next race as much as you cared about their race results on race day.
Fair is fair, right?
Fixing your Results Problem
Some of you are probably feeling the heat right about now.
If you are, it’s time to change your ways — TODAY!
You need to amend your results system (or lack of one) and start treating them like a currency to which future races are built upon.
You may not know this, but many racers will judge you based on your capability to correctly time a race.
You may have a great course, good venue layout, wonderful volunteers, and even a fantastic announcer.
But if you cannot quickly produce accurate times, they will not come back.
This is why fast results equal money.
How fast are we talking about here?
There are three (3) tried and true ways to get your timing to work for your racers.
These timing tactics might seem like common sense, but they will go a long way to improving your reputation:
#1 – Have your Race Day results presented to races in 30-minutes or less
Your first improvement is to make sure you post results on race day — all of them — no matter what.
Unfortunately, races do not always end when you want them to.
This means your first benchmark is to adopt a 30-minutes or less rule with result postings.
Like a pizza?
Yes, just like a pizza!
You can even give stuff away before the awards ceremony to buy you time if you’re having difficulty hitting that 30-minute goal.
Here’s how this concept works:
- When the 10th place racer crosses the finish line, start the results clock
- After 30-minutes (or less depending on how many racers you have) print the results list and post them
- This first list is for those racers that will be on the podium and will be all you need to have an awards ceremony without a complete list
- When the last place racer crosses the finish line, post the final results list
- This final list is for those racers that are in your race for the challenge of it, not the podium
You have to remember that racing is emotional.
If you give all of your racers something to help them evaluate their racing emotions on race day, it will go a long way to making them think about returning for another try.
Capitalizing on their emotional state in this special moment is a good way to show them that you care about their accomplishments.
This, in turn, could win them over to becoming one of your best repeat customers.
#2 – Have all of your results posted in 24-hours or less
We live in the information age where computers now fit into your pocket.
A race promoter without some kind of digital results software — even if it is a spreadsheet — is not trying hard enough.
Buy a computer already!
If you’re not computer savvy, then hire someone who is.
Online results are here to stay, and you need to be on-the-ball when it comes to posting them to some kind of website.
Having results up in 24-hours is very doable if your results are already in the correct format.
Formatting them to fit into a web page, or putting them into a database, is something you can do over the Winter.
For now, a PDF version of your spreadsheet will do to satisfy your racers.
Why a PDF?
A PDF is a universal document that can be read on just about any machine and is easy to share.
And your racers are eager to share their experience with everyone they know, but they can’t until you give them something to share.
Complete their experience posts your race’s results the night you get home from the race or that morning after.
Do not wait to capitalize on this opportunity.
Racers that see results posted in 24-hours will certainly notice.
With that notice comes a level of respect and admiration for your work that you cannot buy.
It is the seed that grows customers into lifelong customers.
If you care enough to get results out this fast, racers will reward you by coming back.
#3 – Keep your past results posted for 1-year or more
Your past race data needs a home.
Hopefully, you have a website that you can use to post everything to.
Please note that I said website, not Facebook.
Why not Facebook?
Because Facebook is temporary.
Just like most forms of social media, it is very much a in the now form of social content.
Results need to have longevity.
Racers judge their present race efforts by looking to their past results.
Social media is a poor choice for this very reason.
It is not designed to show content further back than a few days.
On day two of social media, your results post is a distant memory.
This is why social media is designed to share the link to those results with friends and family the day after the event.
Your results website, on the other hand, is designed to be the home to those results for one-month, for one-year, or maybe even for 10-years from now.
It must act as the home-of-record for all your race results for as long as you plan on running your race.
This could mean keeping several years worth of results on one site.
Why do I need to keep so many years worth of results?
Racers need and want to look back.
It could be nostalgia, or it could be to prove they did the race.
They might use your results site to fill in their racing portfolio and go up a category, use it to help prove their placement when it comes to club/team points, or just review previous results to compare them to this year’s efforts.
In all cases, your site becomes the official record of their race.
It also becomes a platform that racers can use to come back to when it’s time to see what you’re planning next.
And if you maintain it as a consistent home for past and present results, it will be the connection you need to remind racers to return each year.
Use results as a means to connect to racers long after they have moved on to other events.
Hook them into returning to your next race by reminding them of their experience with a link back to your results page.
If they had a good time at your race before, their memory of that experience could be that one thing you needed to get them to do it again.
Take your results seriously
Decide today to NOT be that race promoter that does not take results with any level of urgency.
Decide to post early and often, sticking to a timebox that works for both you and your racers.
If you can’t decide what that timebox will be, use the 30-minutes, 24-hours, and 1-year (and beyond) rule of thumb from above.
Or you could just call it the just after, next day, and forever results posting rule.
The result you get from making your racers wait for results, or having to ask you where they are, will be the one result you didn’t want to receive.
Don’t force yourself to experience that mistake.
Make results a primary part of your timing system, and never leave a racer guessing ever again.
And now you know.