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Transitioning to a Virtual Race


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As race directors look for alternatives to cancelling their events, a number of races are "going virtual". Virtual races have existed for years, but the process of changing a physical race to a virtual one (quickly) is new. We'll walk through the basics you'll need to consider as you go virtual, and make some recommendations for completing the transition quickly and communicating effectively with your runners.

Published in: Technology
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Transitioning to a Virtual Race

  1. 1. What’s a virtual event? Virtual races are events (runs/walks) that can be completed by participants anywhere over a range of time. 2
  2. 2. Why offer a virtual race option? ▷ Allows runners to participate in your race when they cannot physically run together ▷ Offers a sense of accomplishment similar to the experience of participating in a real event ▷ Makes treadmill participation an option ▷ Limits waste of previously ordered medals, bibs and other swag ▷ Reduce refunds and chargebacks 3
  3. 3. Race >> Cancel or Postpone Race Postpone, change to a virtual race, or cancel the event. Regardless of which choice you make, you can always offer a virtual option. 4
  4. 4. Race >> Cancel or Postpone Race Enable Virtual Race option so that runners can select this. Customize your text (or you can use the default). 5
  5. 5. Race >> Cancel or Postpone Race Or add a virtual/postponement/cancellation pop-up message without options. Include information about the virtual option - be specific. 6
  6. 6. Results - Yes or No? Google Form Create a Google Form that runners can use to submit results. Distribute via email to participants who chose Virtual Option and post results Email Results Participants email the results and the director posts the results. Photo Proof Participants send a picture of their Garmin/Strava/Fitbit/M apMyRun finishing time and the race director posts results 7 No Results No results posted.
  7. 7. Use Virtual Communities to Enhance Your Virtual Race 8 Email Use RunSignup’s free email marketing tool to email your virtual participants (create a custom email list from the report). Facebook Group Create a Facebook Group and promote it to virtual participants as a place to share race completion selfies and encouragement.. Hashtag Your Event Create a hashtag for runners to use on social media. Create posts from your social media accounts to share as well.
  8. 8. Swag Communication Plan 9 Pick Up Offer pick up at a local running store now (depending on the conditions) or in the future. Ship Swag This is convenient for runners, but can be challenging and expensive for a race. Since you likely didn’t collect shipping address during registration, you need to confirm shipping address for each runner and you will incur additional shipping charges. No Swag Either it hasn’t shown up yet, or you can donate it/use it at another event.
  9. 9. Advanced Options
  10. 10. Not For Everyone ▷ Think about your timeline for communication ▷ Evaluate the benefits and costs ▷ Don’t add so many layers that you confuse people 11
  11. 11. Setting up Virtual Events Add a new Virtual Event Create an event in Step 1 of the Wizard. This option makes sense if you anticipate continuing with your regular event, but allowing virtual as an option. If all runners will be moved to virtual, you can change an existing event. 12
  12. 12. Setting up Virtual Events Either: 1. remind runners to self Transfer Or 1. Use the Postponement tool, with “switch to virtual” as an option, and use regular participant management tools to move runners to the new event. 13
  13. 13. Runner Self-Transfer 14 ▷ Make sure transfers are enabled at participants >> participant management >> event transfer ▷ Make clear how/where participants transfer ○ Add or edit a cover page element (race >> race page >> cover page) with an explanation of the transfer process ○ Send an email to participants with the transfer instructions and include an edit registration replacement tag ○ Share on social media
  14. 14. Postponement Tool and Transfer 15 If you use the Postponement tool to collect virtual requests, you will need to: ▷ Use the report at race >> cancel or postpone for a list of participants who wish to move to virtual ▷ Move participants via regular participant management (click “manage” and then “event transfer” by their participant information. This takes time if you have a large number of people!
  15. 15. Shipping 16 If you are going to ship any swag, you will want to turn on shipping address validation for the event. You can turn this on at race>>registration>>shipping ▷ If runners transfer themselves, they will go through this step ▷ If you transfer runners, turn on shipping address management at Participants>>Participant Management>>Shipping Address Management Shipping can be expensive and time-consuming.
  16. 16. Text or Email Results 17 RaceDay Tools>>Enhanced Virtual Race>>Setup Enhanced Virtual Race Easiest, most inclusive method for results, but adds complications!
  17. 17. Bib Assignment 18 ▷ You must turn on bib assignment at RaceDay Tools>>Bibs>>Assign Bibs & Chips
  18. 18. Define Time Range 19 ▷ This is the time range that results will be valid
  19. 19. Setup Valid Times 20 ▷ This helps catch people who simply mistype their results. ▷ Allowing participants to report finishing without a time is more inclusive.
  20. 20. Setup Communications 21 ▷ We automatically create a page that has instructions for your runners to reference for reporting results. ▷ Use our replacement tags and your own language to setup emails and texts for reminders about the events, instructions, for posting results, and up to three additional messages.
  21. 21. Opt-In 22 ▷ Runners will opt-in during registration or event transfer ▷ Otherwise, they will need to go to their profile->manage registration ->virtual race to opt in, or report results directly.
  22. 22. What Runners See: Signing Up 23
  23. 23. What Runners See: Text Messages 24
  24. 24. What Runners See: Results 25