5 Reasons Race Directors use Time of Day Clocks

5 Reasons
Race Directors use Time of Day Clocks

As people return to healthy lifestyles, and runners get back into competition races, we want to address concerns and help make it possible.

How do we unite people from all different backgrounds and encourage them to get back into these events, driving them towards overall physical and mental health?

How do we deliver the safest possible environment without “losing the magic” that made us all fall in love with competition running to begin with?


Social Distancing

Time of Day Clocks are a simple way that event directors can split a crowd into smaller sections and efficiently communicate when and where to start.

Here is an example with 1800 participants split into groups of 15 people.  When they register you require the runners to give you a goal time (how fast are they trying to finish).  Using the goal times the runners are sorted from fastest to slowest and given an exact starting time like:

  • Pre-stage Area 7:53 am
  • Stage Area 8:13 am
  • Start 8:23 am

If more than one runner chooses to start together the average time between the runners is used to keep them together at the start, this makes them more comfortable and limits exposure by staging people around friends they are already in contact with.

In a large area a Time of Day Clock is running for the pre staging area where 30 minutes prior the start time people can go to be ready to move into the 15 person starting groups.

Another Time of Day clock is running at the starting line and participants can stage 10 min before they start in 10 clearly marked areas where the groups of 15 can easily position themselves to start in one-minute cycles.

Using this type of strategy, you can launch about 900 people per hour while keeping the starting areas in groups of 15.

You can place the time of day clocks in multiple locations depending on the size of the event to prevent overcrowding and create larger pre-staging areas.


You don’t need new equipment

Sure we are more than happy to sell you the equipment you need, but many of you probably already have equipment that will get the job done.

Most race directors already own Raceclocks that they use for measuring the exact time when a runner crosses the finish line or mile markers that help runners measure how fast of a pace they are keeping.  You can simply put most Raceclocks into time of day mode, and set the time to give you and the runners the exact second to start each wave.


Sell more Race Merchandise

Using the time of day mode brings an additional precise way to measure time as you can video the start and finish and post the video to allow runners to see the exact time when they started and finished the race.  This can be as simple as placing a phone on a tripod at the beginning and end of the event to live stream it and embed the two streams in your website where the participants and friends can see the finish.

If you want to get fancy let them grab that perfect start and finish frame time down to the 10th of a second and offer to let them buy a t-shirt or swag with both the start and finish photos.


City, and State Requirements

As we start to host events in post covid, states, cities and even local counties are setting different requirements that seem to fluctuate all the time.

We have seen events move from one city to another, just to be able to meet the specific requirements.  Almost universally we are asked to provide social distancing, mask wearing, gloves for volunteers and hand sanitizer at all event stations.

By staggering start times and staging areas using clear, visible, Time of Day Raceclocks, we can give a compelling case both to the cities and local counties that we are able to meet their specific requirements, and we have the freedom to adjust our timing and waves to fall within the given guidelines.


Better Event Workflows

The great thing about overcoming challenges and creating these new solutions is that we essentially can improve the sport in many ways.   People don’t run because it is easy, they run to overcome a challenge and see what they can accomplish.

As a race director who is still in business in 2021… You obviously know how to adapt and meet challenges head on.

We are thankful to be a part of this community who overcomes challenges regardless of what is thrown our way.  Please reach out to us if you have any specific needs we can help you address.

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On November 24, 2020 there was an article in Runner’s World Magazine by Jordan Smith that suggested participants in a running event contact the organizers marathon prior to ask such questions as whether only local runners will be participating or is it open to out of state runners?  Will volunteers be wearing face coverings?  Will food and water handlers have gloves on?  Will hand sanitizer be available prior to using the restrooms or handling food?  Will the race be socially distanced?  Are they doing temperature checks?  Are masks provided for those who do not have one?

In order to address these concerns, Heather Milton, M.S. exercise physiologist supervisor at NYU Langone Health’s Sports Performance Center suggests staggering start times. “It’s still not 100 percent safe, but staggering can make it easier to maintain distance between yourself and other people”, says Milton.  The article explains that extremely staggered social distancing is best, especially with start times over many hours.

This is how Time of Day Raceclocks became the new standard.  Instead of runners lining up shoulder to shoulder waiting for the race to start, everyone is provided a time to begin the race, preferably waiting in small groups socially distanced from others.