Yeah, but what time do I need to be there?
Running and walking events can be found just about any given weekend in Mississippi and the surrounding states. This time of year it's what we do. For Time 2 Run, it's what we call the busy time of year, or the Spring season. We start timing in late January and it doesn't let up til late June and this year, we even have multiple races in July and into August before the Fall season kicks in. We will time more races this year than our little organization has before and it's not even close. There is no doubt the running and walking public is becoming more and more familiar with protocol. Then again, maybe not.
The awesome thing about running and race timing in particular is you get to witness the transformative power of exercise. You get to see personal goals smashed and the elation that is shared from so many first timers. You get to see lives literally change.
But you also, as a race timer, get to experience a lot of participants first time to run or walk at any event. And that can be a little tricky.
When race organizers put together a race, there are a tremendous amount of train wrecks that have to be smoothed out and come together. The less experienced the race organizers, the more train wrecks. By race day the organizers are normally stressed to their limit and normally didn't sleep the night before, all so their event can go off without a hitch.
The volunteers show up, some early, some behind schedule. Water tables are set up. Registration is going on and people are pumped up. Although the race director is a basket case by this time, all has gone better than they could have hoped for.
Then this happens.
Someone shows up 10 minutes or less before the race is supposed to start and want to register. Keep in mind registration has been closed for 5-10 minutes. The timers have gone to sync their systems and prepare for the race to begin “On-Time”. However, because someone gets to the event late and is allowed to register, the whole symphony of train wrecks that have become a well tuned machine have once again become a Train Wreck.
We balance this situation each time we time a race and make every effort to start the event at the scheduled time. Why? Because it's important. Think I am overthinking it? Maybe. But consider this; when people sign up for a running event that is advertised to begin at a set time, you schedule to be there. Now I am going out on a limb and assuming you have other things planned for that day other than the race. If not, congratulations on having the day free. But most people who attend a running or walking event have somewhere else to be. Soccer, Dance, Pageants, family coming over or some other important event to fill your day.
You see, we take our little job serious so that we can give you the best experience possible when we time your event. We know how hard the organizers work because we do this every weekend.
So to answer the opening question; What time do I need to be there? Early. Early enough to get situated, pick up your packet and warm up, stretch and get to the starting line in plenty of time to hear race instructions that may be pretty important. Scratch that. That will be important!
So always make sure to give yourself plenty of time on race morning for the unexpected. You will have a better race experience for it. I promise.
See you at the races, Tim
In : Race Days