Welcome to Deep Dive! If you’re new to this section of the website, this is where we take an in-depth look at emerging technologies shaking up the world of mass-participation events.

Enhancing the race experience seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. Which is why in this fourth Deep Dive feature we take a closer look at RaceJoy, a world-leading GPS app that promises to revolutionise the way participants and spectators experience and share race day.

There’s a lot of joy a bit of connectivity can bring to your race. But first…

Your biggest missed trick

Ask yourself this: how many people take part in your race?

Did your answer include only the people standing at the start line? If so, you might be missing a trick. And you may be underserving the needs of the largest constituency of your race: spectators.

Spectators are as much a part of your race as race participants. Not only because they are the heart and soul of your race, but because they are the people your participants care most about.

So getting the people you care most about – your participants – to share more of the joys of your event with the people they care most about must be a high priority for you. Luckily, there’s a technology which helps with all that.

RaceJoy in a nutshell

So what is RaceJoy? And how can it help put a smile on your race?

RaceJoy is a purpose-built race day app that creates a live connection between participants and spectators on race day (and, as we’ll see later, also connects anyone using the app, from participants and spectators to your race volunteers and team members, with you, the race director).

The core of the technology and most of the functionality centres around GPS tracking. When a participant or a spectator uses RaceJoy on race day, RaceJoy uses their phone’s GPS to share their position with people they are connected to.

RaceJoy PhoneTrak GPS participant tracking during race

RaceJoy’s PhoneTrak provides live GPS tracking of participants during a race (click to enlarge)

Using GPS is a key differentiator between RaceJoy and most other race day apps that use participants’ timing chips to track their position around the course. And it is a game-changer in two very important ways:

  1. Using GPS means a participant’s exact position is known in realtime at any time. Chip tracking only records the position of participants at fixed intermediate timing points around the course and cannot know if a participant is on or off the course, has slowed down or stopped.
  2. Using GPS means you can essentially connect spectators to the race as well. That is simply not possible with apps that can only track participant chips.

It is because of this focus on app-based GPS tracking that RaceJoy can do things chip-tracking apps can’t.

Connected race day

Once a participant turns on RaceJoy, a whole world of race day delights opens up through their phone.

If he or she is a keen racer, they will find in RaceJoy a superb race tracking companion. Not only will they get pace and distance updates, but also finish time forecasts, something RaceJoy can deliver by virtue of its understanding of the race course and its ability to know how much further a participant has to go to the finish.

But the real magic comes when you connect with other participants and spectators following you around the course.

RaceJoy participant progress alerts

Both participants and spectators receive regular progress alerts during the race, including NearMe alerts when they get within distance of each other (click to enlarge)

When you connect with spectators through RaceJoy, everyone following you can know exactly where you are on the course at any time. Your friends can receive the same updates about your pace and distance as you do – all in realtime – as well as NearMe alerts when you get close to them on the course (participants can also receive NearMe alerts of other participants they follow). No more missing loved ones, no more looking for the camera when your special someone goes by, no more pain-face photos.

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💡 RaceJoy actually uses adaptive tracking to increase frequency near points of interest, such as course milestones and cheer points, whilst reducing tracking frequency where it doesn’t matter, hence reducing battery usage.

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Then, there’s the very popular Send-a-Cheer function, where a spectator can send cheers to participants they follow, choosing either from pre-recorded cheer clips or by recording a message using RaceJoy’s text-to-cheer channel. The same functionality can be used by race directors to insert location-triggered audio messages for participants (directional cues, a motivational speech or two, etc) anywhere on the course.

RaceJoy send a cheer to participants

With RaceJoy’s Send-a-Cheer, spectators can send live cheers to participants (click to enlarge)

And to wrap it all up, your participants can enjoy all of RaceJoy’s race day magic without giving up their favourite fitness app. The RaceJoy app can work alongside any other tracking app, managing all the proximity and spectator engagement features with minimal incremental impact on battery usage.

Your race day command centre

Given the many things RaceJoy can do to help connect participants and spectators, it’s sometimes easy to overlook a whole other equally important side to RaceJoy’s offering: what it can do to connect you, the race director, with everyone on and off your race course.

And here’s where things get really exciting. With RaceJoy you can track not only race participants, but also all your team members, volunteers and emergency service crews. No more guessing where your sweeper vehicle is or who the nearest respondent to an incident may be. It’s all there, in front of you – live.

RaceJoy race monitoring dashboard participant tracking view

Track all participants, volunteers and team members from RaceJoy’s race monitoring dashboard (click to enlarge)

Not only that. Click on any single member or group in your team (e.g. all volunteers in an aid station) and you can instantly send them a message, giving you complete oversight of operations across your entire race.

And the same goes to communicating with participants. Want to send a notification to everyone on the course at any time during the race? You can select all race participants and do just that, which can come really handy when faced with an emergency and need to quickly relay course changes or other instructions to people on the course.

RaceJoy race monitoring dashboard message participants

Message your participants directly from your RaceJoy race monitoring dashboard (click to enlarge)

Whilst we’re on the subject of safety, RaceJoy also offers a very handy off-course alert service where both you and your participants will receive alerts when one of them has gone off the course – a real life-saver if you’re doing a trail race and someone misses a mark. With RaceJoy off-course alerts you can easily notify a participant that they are off the course and even provide instructions on what they need to do to rejoin.

RaceJoy participant off-course alerts

Looks like Tim’s taking the scenic route…Get any participant back on course with RaceJoy’s position alerts (click to enlarge)

Lastly, sharing information with participants leading up to race day is also easily taken care of using RaceJoy’s communications module. Any bit of buzz or key info you want to get out there, you can simply pre-schedule through your RaceJoy dashboard to go out to participants at a time if your choosing (click to view an example).

Sponsors

Delivering meaningful value to sponsors is also something RaceJoy does very well.

On the one hand, because RaceJoy bridges the gap between participants and spectators it helps significantly expand the audience available to a race sponsor. So with RaceJoy sponsors gain by being able to reach a substantially larger number of people.

On the other, because the engagement points that RaceJoy creates between sponsors and participants/spectators are a lot smarter and more personal (e.g. when a sponsor is mentioned in progress alerts), the benefits in sponsorship activation and effectiveness are vastly superior to, say, placing a banner at the finish line.

Which is all great news for you. Because in most cases sponsors will jump at the opportunity to pick up the bill for RaceJoy in exchange for branding opportunities within the app.

The cost of joy

Pricing for RaceJoy depends on two things: number of participants and race distance.

Starting at a minimum of $450 for races up to 1,000 participants and getting progressively cheaper for larger races, RaceJoy works out to less that $0.50 per participant (with the exception of races longer than 50 miles where price adjustments apply). Which is quite affordable, considering what’s on offer.

And although RaceJoy enjoys all the benefits of having been developed by a tech-first company like RunSignUp, you don’t have to be a RunSignUp customer to get it. You can bring RaceJoy to your race at the same price, whatever registration platform you choose to work with.

Our verdict

So is RaceJoy worth it?

We think it is. Even for a $25 race RaceJoy works out to less than 2% of the registration price, and for most races this number will easily drop to below 1%.

For that you get live GPS tracking without the need for additional costly intermediate timing stations, full race day comms with your entire event team, direct messaging with participants, activation your sponsors will love and get to set your race apart from the competition.

That’s a lot for less than $0.50.

 

RaceJoy is available to races both in and beyond the US. If you’d like to know about bringing joy to your race or would like to arrange a demo, you can reach out to the team directly here.