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How RaceClocker Works

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Set up a new race

Setting up a new race begins with entering the basic information. You create a new race via the "+ New Race" button in the page header or via the button at the top of your race overview ("My Races"). The Race header includes the information as listed below. Some of the information is mandatory, like date, distance, splits and start type. Note that you can edit this at a any time - even after you're race has finished.

Add and manage participants

After setting up the event, the next step is to enter your start list. This can be done manually or via uploading an Excel (csv) file. The start list supports categories, bib numbers and a team or club name next to the race participant's name. All fields other than Name are optional.

For each race participant in your event you can include the following:

You can choose to show or hide this information in your race. For example when you're not planning to use bib numbers then you can simply turn off the 'Bib number' column. The only mandatory column that can't be hidden is 'Name'. Race list details can be set to show or hide with the buttons in the header.

The list of participants can be added manually or you may upload an Excel (csv) file with comma separated values in case your race list has already been prepared in another system or application. How to upload CSV is explained further down this list.

The sort order (and implied starting order) of participants can be changed via drag and drop. Best to do this on a laptop using a mouse.

At any time the information for a single participant can be edited by clicking on the pencil icon. This results into an inline mini form of the participants information. Participants can be removed from the start list by clicking on the delete icon (cross). The entire list can be cleared by clicking on the orange cross icon at the top of the list (you'll be asked to confirm your choice).

Including categories

Many sports races include multiple categories of participants in one and the same race. RaceClocker makes it easy to include categories in your start list. Race results will be grouped by category when the category is switched 'on' in the race list manager. If a participant is not assigned to a specific category then he/she will be included in the standard 'All' category - this is the only category that can't be removed from the category list. If you don't need categories at all, you can simply turn them off by pressing the grey "Categories" button in the show/hide options.

Adding or editing categories starts from the "Edit Categories" option in the toolbar in the list editor or from the category 'picker' in the list itself. This brings you to a simple list builder (pictured above) from where categories can be added, changed or removed. When you're done setting up all categories, click 'Done' to return to the race list. From then on the categories you created will be included in the drop down selector.

You can also include categories in your own Excel (csv) race list that you upload. Simply include the category for each participant in the first column of your spreadsheet and automatically the categories will be created when the file is uploaded.

Uploading start list as Excel CSV file

The quick and easy way to get your race list in RaceClocker is via a CSV file. You can upload your CSV file from 'Edit Participants' by choosing the 'Upload CSV file' button on the right hand side of the participant entry row.

CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. A CSV file is simply a large table in a text file where each row represents a race participant and each column an 'attribute' of your race (i.e. category, bib number, name, club name). Most race management software supports the export of such a file and it's also easy to create one from Excel. There are a few points of attention though to make this work as you expect.

First, the columns in your file should match the columns in your race list. So when you want for example categories and bib numbers included in addition to the participants name, then you need to make those columns visible in the 'Edit Participants' editor (by default all 4 properties are visible and only the participants name is non-removable). Your CSV file should only contain those columns and in the same order, since any other info on each row in the file will be ignored. When you want to include categories, these should be in the first column of your file. When the file is imported the categories are added to the category list.

Second, the first row in your file should be the first participant of your race. There is no need to include a header row - in fact it may confuse the import function.

Third, it's easiest when the participants in your race list are in the correct starting order (unless your race has a mass start). If needed you can still add or remove participants manually at the last minute via the 'Edit Participants' editor where you may change details or change the order of your race list - without having to re-import the CSV file again.

Note that when you import a file this always adds the imported participants to your list. If you want to replace the start list than delete all first via the delete icon (cross) in the list header.

As an example you can find a sample CSV file here

Manage race from the RaceClock dashboard

The RaceClock Dashboard is the interface from where the race manager or director can view and manage the timing process. To keep overview and control this is best done on a large screen device like laptop or desktop computer.

The dashboard provides a real time view of every time stamp that the officials timing your race are making. Whenever a time registration is captured via one of the timers, the result is within a moment visible on the dashboard. For each race participant a live stopwatch is running until finished.

Futhermore the dashboard includes the following features:

Using the timer

The timer is the user interface that enables the person at the start or finish - or at any of the split points - to time all participants in the race. The race timer official will receive from you ('the race manager') a link via email or Whatsapp on their device.

When a race participant crosses the start, split or finish line, your race timer official presses the corresponding button to register the actual time. Usually a start or finish referee marks the exact moment of the start or finish and the race timer official then captures the moment by pressing the timer buttons. Instantly as the official presses a button, the exact time is taken from the synchronized internal clock of your device. Note that the time pulse is set when the mouse or finger is put down (instead of up on a regular web button) - so there's no latency in the click action itself.

The timer can be accessed from any web connected device. Best result and precision is achieved when timing on a laptop or tablet. A larger screen provides a good overview. The list of timing buttons is in the same order as the original start list order. The buttons include the bib number of the participant - or his or her name in case bib numbers are not included in your race. The button also indicates the timing point in the race: Start, Finish or one of the 3 Split points.

Whenever a timer button is pressed, it gets replaced with the registerd time and after a short while a green 'check' appears next to it. This indicates that the time stamp is safely stored on the race server. In case a button is pressed by accident - or too early - then an 'undo' button can be tapped to get the timer button back. Every button press (even erroneous ones) are kept in history in case a time needs to be corrected or for example assigned to a different racer. Correction and reassign features can be found under 'History'.

Our clock measures time with one tenth of a second precision to not suggest higher accuracy then what's reasonably possible with manual timing. Note that the speed of your internet connection is not in any way influencing the precision of your timer button action - sending the registered time to the server happens 'asynchronous' in the background.

Important notes with regard to race timing:


Timer as list, grid, keypad or mass start

The timer offers a couple of different modes to facilitate various race types and usage situations. Each mode has its pros and cons, the benefit is that at any time the timing official can swap between the various modes as they all keep the timing events in synch with each other. Note that multiple instances of a timer at the same timing point can be active. For example if you have many particpants passing the finish line close to each other you may have multiple timing officials each registering one or two in a pack. Keep in mind that the timer officials will only see the timings they made (until the view is being 'refreshed').

The various modes of the timer are:

View and publish results

The results of your race can be opened from the race detail page or from the RaceClock Dashboard. The results are grouped by category and within each the participants are ranked by time - fastest at the top. For each split point in your race the time the time of the interval towards that split point is displayed, including the ranking of the race participant at that point.

The 'Auto Scroll' features makes sure the results slowly scroll from top to button - which makes it easier to publish results on a TV or projector for spectators of your race. Note that the results view is not automatically updated. It requires a page refresh - for example when you're projecting 'live standings' - to get updated based on the latest timing events.

At the bottom of the results page links are included for sharing or further editing. Results can be shared online via Twitter and Facebook or via an URL. Furthermore an xml file can be downloaded and opened in Excel that contains both the results as well as the timing data on two separate worksheets. Note that Excel may show a dialog on opening as the xml content is different from what Excel expects. It's safe to proceed and open the file.

Correct mistakes

Since RaceClocker relies on human input for timing races we've included options to correct mistakes. No matter how good the tool, with manual timing it's likely that errors at some point may occur. When a timer button is pressed in the timer, next to resulting time you'll see two icons appear that each represent a correction option.

The first option is 'Undo', indicated with a left pointing arrow icon. Tapping 'Undo' will hide the registered time and bring back the timer button so it can be tapped again. The erroneous time will be kept in history in case it's needed later for corrections. Note that the correction options are only available in the 'list' mode of the timer.

The second correction option is 'Reassign', indicated by the icon with crossing arrows. Tapping 'Reassign' will temporarily change the mode of the timer. The current participant's time will be highlighted blue (shown in the animation above). When another participant is then tapped on, the current time is assigned to that other participant. If the newly assigned participant already had a previous time assigned then it will be swapped with the current and if he/she had not then for the current participant the timer button will reappear.

This mode can be escaped without making any change by tapping on the blue row once again.

For the race manager the RaceClock Dashboard contains the option to manually override any timing mistake (missed timings or erroneous ones). Next to each participant a pencil icon provides access to an edit form where any of the registered times of a participant can be edited. This edit mode may also be used to enter a time from the backup system.

What you need to know about internet connection

Since RaceClocker is a web based application it requires a stable internet connection to function error-free. Because RaceClocker is a connected timing system the race manager can follow and control the race timing from a central point and if desired publish results in real time.

Cellular network coverage is a requirement at your timing location when you're 'out in the field'. We recommend to set up a hotspot on your smartphone and use that connection on your laptop or tablet. Other solutions like a mobile network dongle or get connected to nearby wifi are obviously fine as well. Make sure though that the connection is strong and stable.

Losing internet connectivity

A (temporary) drop of your internet connection is no problem though. RaceClocker buffers all timing results in the local webpage and synchs it;s information with the central RaceClocker server as soon as dropped out connectivity is restored. During a dropout its important to not close the timer's web page as in that case a registered time may get lost. When connectivity drops you'll see to clear indicators:

At the top of the page a red box with a warning message appears, indicating the loss of internet connectivity. When this occurs the user can just continue with timing. The message will disappear as soon as connectivity has been restored. As long as connectivity has not been restored, make sure to keep the window open. In the background the timer will continue to find the RaceClocker server to send its data.

Additionally, next to times that have not been synched with the RaceClocker server due to loss of connectivity a yellow warning triangle will appear instead of green check. As soon as connectivity is restored all green triangles will get replaced with green checks, indicating that all time stamps have been received on the server and are visible in the RaceClock Dashboard.

History

The 'History' tab in the race timer captures all the timing events made in the timer. When the timer accidentally makes a time registration and uses the 'Undo' button to make another time stamp for the same participant, both times are kept in the history. The time that is used in the RaceClock Dashboard is highlighted with the label 'assigned'. The history keeps track of all timing events at a point in the race, until the Race Manager resets the race.

If for some reason the data in the page after an internet connectivity drop has not been synched again to the RaceClocker server then the timer can do a manual 'Re-submit'. This will send all captured times in History to the server again.

RaceClocker Free versus Unlimited

For free use of RaceClocker simply register yourself, confirm your email address via your inbox and then you're free to use the application for as many races you need up till 10 participants per race. When you need to time a race with more than 10 participants then you can upgrade to RaceClocker Unlimited 49,90 Euro (or USD $59.90) per year. You can do this via the information page about your account, which is accessible in the top right corner of the screen - when logged in. The annual fee can be paid via Credit Card payment, PayPal or other local payment providers. Get in touch in case you may need any help.