Race day is filled with a flurry of activity and a dozen moving parts. Checking in participants, signing up last-minute registrants, triple-checking timers—a ton of stuff needs to happen before participants get to the start line. It’s a stressful day for race directors, to say the least. But, according to David Robbins, partner at Purpose Race Events, the company behind the popular Spa Girl Tri series, ACTIVE’s On-Site mobile app helps to simplify some of the more frantic aspects of race day.
“Before On-Site, here I am a race director and a partner in the company, and I’m standing by the board on race day yelling ‘Find your name and take your bib,’ maybe 2,000 times,” Robbins told ACTIVE. “What a waste of my time—I had a lot better things I could have been doing!”
As the mobile companion to ACTIVEWorks Endurance, On-Site brings day-of registration, check-in and bib assignment to your smartphone or tablet—and to race day. The newest iteration of On-Site features pretty cool QR code technology, so your racers don’t need to bring anything but their smartphone to check-in—you simply scan their code.
For Spa Girl Tris, that quick check-in is uber-important, since the women who are gearing up to run, bike and swim to the finish line are anxious to get the fun—and the indulgence—started.
“We kind of joke about it—it’s kind of the opposite of the Tough Mudder thing,” Robbins said. “It’s a great way to ease back in the racing world.”
And, in case you were wondering, “spa” isn’t just a fancy word in the title. The tris are actually women’s-only events at resorts and hotel spas. While the race is no cakewalk, sweet treats and spa amenities await racers at the finish line.
The pampering formula is working for Purpose Race Events. More than 1,200 women participated in the San Antonio race this year and about 650 women tried the Tri in Grapevine, a suburb of Dallas. With so many racers to keep track of, organizing a Spa Girl Tri race isn’t an easy feat. But, according to Robbins, using On-Site has totally changed the game.
“We had no idea how easy it was going to be. We only had about six people actually using their phones,” Robbins said.
How exactly did Robbins and his team save loads of time (and sanity) with On-Site? Three big changes:
- Save precious man-hours.
Post-On-Site life is a lot more streamlined for Robbins. He tried it for the first time earlier this year at the series’ San Antonio event, then again in Grapevine. In particular, Robbins was able to save on staffing with the app.
“We were paying someone to do the packet pickup, and we really don’t have to have anyone now,” Robbins said. “We do it in-house because of On-site.”
“We used the same amount of volunteers at the San Antonio event because we didn’t know what to expect,” Robbins told ACTIVE. “But, we could have gotten away with about half—we could have saved about six volunteers. Seven hours times six—that’s a lot of volunteer man-hours.
“That’s a pretty big deal,” he said.
- Get rid of a messy paper trail.
Signing up participants on race day used to be a nightmare. But On-Site’s mobile technology makes things easier by eliminating paper forms. With On-Site, event staff can register new participants in a few easy steps on their phone.
“We always use an iPad for the race-day registration stuff such as late registration or changes because it’s easier to type on,” Robbins said.
And, although the QR code technology means race-day staff can simply scan a code to sign in registrants and assign bibs, the work-around is almost as simple, Robbins told ACTIVE.
“We’re starting to get our ladies conditioned to bringing their confirmation,” he said. “But, it’s not that time-consuming to just type in a name. Eighty percent of our people don’t bring their confirmation code and it really doesn’t slow us down that much.”
- Keep lines super-short.
“We had four people at all times on our check-in over a six-hour period. We never had anybody waiting in line,” Robbins explained.
Before On-Site, participants had to go to a board, look up their name, find their bib number, then walk over and stand in another line by bib number, he told ACTIVE.
“That was way more time-consuming for the individual,” Robbins said. “With On-Site, they just go to the first available person. It’s the fact that you don’t have to stand in two lines, and you can go to the quickest line.”
On-Site also matches participants with their bib information prior to race day.
“On-Site tells you their shirt size, bib number and whether they’d signed a waiver,” said Robbins.
Based on the success of the app, Purpose Race Events is gearing up to use On-Site at their biggest race—the Alamo 13.1 in March 2016, where 3,500 participants are expected.