Iron Girl’s mission is to empower women toward a healthy lifestyle. Launched in 2004 with just two events, the Iron Girl brand has grown to include 18 events nationwide, varying in distance from 5K, 10K, and 1/2 marathon to duathlon and triathlon. In 2013, this hugely popular event series will celebrate its 10-year anniversary.
In 2011, Iron Girl volunteered to be the first customer to use the cutting edge ACTIVE On-Site mobile app at their Del Mar event.
Q&A with Judy Molnar, Vice President of Iron Girl
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GIVE ON-SITE A TRY?
Iron Girl’s philosophy is to provide participants with a great event experience that gives them more than they expect, so we’ve always been early adopters. For example, at our first event in 2004, we didn’t do cotton t-shirts. We had technical shirts that were sized for women, which no one was doing at the time (and now it’s common practice). We were also one of the first events to put registration completely online and offer recyclable totes. For us, it’s about staying with the trends and the new technology out there. On-Site is part of that. This product is dramatically changing the registration process.
HOW DID THAT FIRST EVENT WITH ON-SITE GO?
We debuted it at our Del Mar event in 2011. There were four or five of us handling registrations with iPhones, and a few of ACTIVE’s team members were there to make sure the process went smoothly. We also timed the process because we wanted to know exactly how long it took. We found that registration went so much faster! It was great to be the guinea pig for On-Site because once we had it, we continued to ask for it again and again.
"I think it saves about five minutes on every person’s registration."
HOW MUCH TIME DID IT ACTUALLY SAVE?
I think it saves about five minutes on every person’s registration. Traditionally, you walk up, fill out the paper registration form, sign the waiver, stand in line to submit that paper form, wait to get your bib and timing chip, and then pay. On-Site eliminates so many of those steps—the registrant simply walks up, we swipe their driver’s license*, type in their bib number, swipe their credit card and off they go! Done and done. We’re processing registrations in one to two minutes where previously it could take five minutes or more.
And there’s also the back end that most people don’t think about. Now our timer doesn’t have to enter paper forms into his system. He can just log into ACTIVE Works ten minutes before the race starts and download all of those new registrations, and then upload them into his system. On-Site syncs with ACTIVE Works so it saves a lot of time and data entry work.
HOW EASY WAS THE PRODUCT TO USE?
It’s simple. If you have a computer or any type of smart phone†, you know it already. It’s swipe and go… and if something doesn’t autofill, you just type it in. It’s a snap.
WHAT ARE THE TOP BENEFITS OF ON-SITE?
There are a few things:
1. It’s a big time saver for everyone, like I mentioned. Participants have less stress and my staff and team can focus on event production.
2. We can keep registration open longer. Previously we would close registration 30 minutes before the race started to make sure we got all the registration forms to the timer to manually input the info into his system. Now we keep registration open until 10 minutes before the race. That means we get more women registered and I don’t have to make an insane dash over to the timer with the reg forms.
3. Our timer and volunteers don’t have to try to decipher handwriting—the data entry and typos that go along with it are gone. It saves time, and “Sara” isn’t confused because she’s listed as “Sona” in the results.
Ultimately, On-Site is just a much more efficient way to process race day registrations and every race director wants to be able to do that!
WHAT DO YOUR PARTICIPANTS THINK OF ON-SITE?
Our participants like it and think it’s fun. People who have smartphones, iPhones especially, are very familiar with the process of paying for things with them and not hesitant about it at all. At every event we’ve used On-Site, I hear them saying ‘that’s cool’ or ‘well that was easy.’ We get them through the process fast and they’re relieved that they have time to go to the bathroom, go back to the car, whatever they need to do.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL OTHER EVENT DIRECTORS WHO ARE THINKING OF TRYING ON-SITE?
I would tell other event directors to give it a chance. Don’t let the barrier of learning new technology prevent you from giving it a try. If you have a smart phone now, it’s just an extension of what you’re doing. If you don’t have a smart phone, get one.
Even if you have participants register themselves on laptops on race day, you still have the problem of assigning the bib. On-Site takes it to a whole new level. Your volunteers and registration team are mobile, it just takes a few swipes, it’s easy to assign bibs, and you don’t have to worry about Wi-Fi. It’s so much easier.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO USE ON-SITE IN THE FUTURE?
For us, our learning is ‘get more devices.’ Mobile registration is so popular and the reactions are so positive, we’re always trying to use more devices.
The other function we’re planning to use this for is packet pickup. Like many events, we do early packet pickups the week before the race. We can use On-Site for that now—it’s not just for race day. Our participants can simply walk up, swipe their driver’s license, and grab their packet. They don’t have to look through lists of tiny type or search for the right line to stand in. It’s just swipe and go.
“At every event we’ve used On-Site, I hear them saying ‘that’s cool’or ‘well that was easy.”
Vice President of Iron Girl
* The ability to swipe driver’s licenses is not guaranteed for all states and versions
† All iOs 4.0+ devices (iPhone, iPads) and most Android devices will run the On-Site app