Ken Racine started his endurance career in the 1980s, spending five years participating in triathlons. After taking time off to focus on his family and career, he returned at age 39 and started competing again. That second wind helped him solidify his decision to become a race director, and in 2006 Racine MultiSports was formed. Today, the company owns and operates 17 events, which includes timing with IPICO equipment.
We recently caught up with Ken and talked about how he got into timing, his IPICO setup and advice on how to enter the timing field.
Tell us a little about Racine Timing and how it came out of Racine MultiSports.
After hiring timing companies for the first two years of operation, I decided to buy a timing system for ourselves and then offer our services to clients. That is how we started Racine Timing. We are in our seventh year as professional timers and currently have 70-plus clients. We have timed triathlons, duathlons, swimming events, running (5K to Ultra), biking events and skiing events.
What’s your current IPICO system setup?
We own 3 Elite readers and 3 Lite readers. We also own 1,000 multisport tags, 2,500 shoe tags and use 10,000-plus bib tags annually. Our bib tag usage is growing very rapidly.
You have a growing amount of races and timed events. How does being located on the East coast help you to continue to grow your reach through multiple cities and states?
The Mid-Atlantic area has a lot to offer runners and multisport enthusiasts so we are growing every year. We currently operate out of 5 states: Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania, and have plans to expand.
What challenges did you face when you first started timing events and how did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge when first getting into timing was finding a good timing system. After the first two years, we had to abandon our first system and then upgraded to IPICO. Since making that investment, we have been able to grow quickly and offer a quality timing product to our clients. We went from feeling insecure with our first system to gaining confidence with IPCIO. The equipment and the support team behind the scenes at IPICO have been terrific!
What advice would you offer others who are considering becoming an event timer?
I would recommend becoming an apprentice and learn from someone already timing. It’s not an easy learning curve, so you want to learn from others rather than do it yourself. Not only will this speed up your skills but it will build up your credibility when you start taking on your own clients.
What is your favorite thing about being an event timer?
I enjoy the challenge of executing difficult timing jobs that require lots of technology and a team that helps us succeed. At Racine Timing, we have a talented team and we enjoy high-fiving each other when we finish a race with great results!
Finally, why did you choose to purchase and use IPICO hardware?
We used an inferior timing system for a couple of years and knew we needed to find a better product. Being in the multisport industry meant that we needed a lot of equipment and we wanted a variety of timing chip choices (ankle, shoe and disposable). IPICO had all of what we were looking for and it was also clear that their research and development was moving forward too, so I knew IPICO would keep up with the ever-advancing technology.