I have an idea for possibly making my race day registration less labor intensive and would welcome your thoughts.

We host a free cross country race for elementary kids in our district. Parents have option to register online (using a Google form on our team website) or to register the day of the race by arriving early. 

This year we finally get to host the race on a Friday which means no conflicts with the township soccer program. We are hoping for an increase in participation which means my potential questions below could go from being an annoyance to being a pain.

Question #1:

Because it is free, parents don't have any "skin in the game" so I get about 150 pre-registered and about 100 actually show up. Currently, I (aka my cross country team) print labels for all 150 and stick them on the assigned bib before race day. On race day, parent walks up to the pre-registered tent and we hand the bib to him/her ready to go. 

This seems to work. I have the bibs organized by school so it is easy to find when the parent shows up on race day. I assign and print bibs by school and by last name to make the labeling easier. Labor is not that bad, my cross country kids just stick em all the day before sometime during our practice. 

To not waste bibs I thought about not having bibs pre-made but when a parent shows up on race day, assign the bib then. This would require someone with RaceTab open to assign the bib. Would also kinda defeat the purpose of parent saving time of pre registering. This registration tent would move slower.

When I say not "waste" bibs, I'm not worried about cost of bibs, I have a free source. Just trying to think if there is another way. 

Question #2:

Currently for parents who register the day of the race, they arrive early and go to the race day registration tent. Fill out a paper form, get their bib. Paper form goes to RaceTab person who inputs info. The RaceTab person can barely keep up. Usually has to keep inputting after registration is done and races are going on. We get about 100-150 walk ups. This is the busy tent since it takes time to make sure the form is filled out, get the bib ready and hand off the form to RaceTab person.

I am thinking, instead of having to "touch the data twice" (parent fills out, we try to interpret the of course very legible handwriting) I make it so the parents fill out info electronically themselves. I would have say 4 laptops set up with a Google form on the screen. Parent walks up, completes the first two screens of the Google form (bio info and a waiver check box), worker who is standing next to the parent then completes the last screen of the Google form which is just inputting bib number. Hand them the bib and next person steps up. At the conclusion of registration, import the data into RaceTab. 

Our start and finish line is 50 yards from the school building. I have the registration tent set up along side the school. I have power available and I can have internet access by setting up a wireless router (does work, tested it) or just run an Ethernet cord out the classroom window to a switch if I don't trust wireless. I have all the equipment necessary so cost again is not an issue.

I thought about just having 4 laptops with RaceTab open, parent walks up to one of the 4 laptops and data is inputted then into RaceTab. I am leaning towards the Google form mainly because my volunteers are parents of my team. They are not necessarily the same every year so even though I find RaceTab easy I don't want to have to train 4 or more new workers every year. With Google form, anyone can type a bib number and click the submit button. I then only need one person to actually work with RaceTab.

Any pitfalls I should think about or another option for race day registration?

Thanks for your suggestions.


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Never mind on Question 2. I made the screen shot below. I opened up RaceTab to the add athlete screen and had one of my 8th grade runners try it out. She did it without any instruction from me except the screen shot.

I doubted how quickly someone could just sit down and go. I'll just have laptops networked with RaceTab up collecting the registration right from the parents.

Thanks for letting me think out loud. Feel free to chime in with anything I am overlooking to make the whole registration process even smoother.  :)


Only real risk is that gender is sticky and if they muck up your genders ... well it get's dicey.  Otherwise I agree with you.  You might even consider a girls and boys lines and keep each computer by gender.

And we go bib, gender, name, school grade click add.  They can all be on the same networked version that is the one you are actually using.  NoteTab is the bomb.  Best $120 I ever spent, and I didn't even have to.

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