GSRS Race Director Blog

Are you ready for the 2020 race season?

Your 2020 Race Timing Contract with GSRS

It's the end of January and most of you probably aren't spending a lot of time thinking about the race(s) you are putting on later in the year. But now is a good time to review and agree to your timing contract with GSRS and to make sure that the information we have on you and your race is correct and up-to-date. If you are one of our current race directors who hasn't yet agreed to the 2020 contract, go to our website at, click on the Race Director's menu, then select "My Contracts." That page will give you instructions on how to procede. If you get stuck at any point along the way please don't hesitate to ask for help. We usually have next year's contract for all of our races up on our website and ready to review within a week after the event. So in the future you can go ahead and do this at any time throughout the year that is convenient for you.


An exciting new service offered by NovusMage can really enhance your finish line and results area. From the same workshop that brought iResults display technology to so many of our races comes a setup using large video panels that can hang over your finish line displaying multiple times, names of runners as they finish. sponsor logos, and other special photo and video displays. In the results area they can be used as 'selfie stations' where runners can take a great shot of themselves with their finish time that they can share on social media. The best part is that the cost is nothing like what you might expect for such an expensive technology. And if you play your cards right with your race sponsors, you might even be able to arrange to get it for free. For more information check out their website at Don't hesitate because dates are booking up quickly!


Through our work we often hear of interesting ideas that we'd like to share with our clients...

  • Hard up for race volunteers? Do you have a college or university in the area? Local fraternities and sororities are sometimes looking for public service work opportunities and might be able to supply a large number of students to help out. What other local groups might be doing the same thing? Local service organizations like Rotary or Kiwanis? High School clubs? Scouts? Local businesses looking to give back to the community?
  • Do you have a lot of local businesses that sponsor your race and are you looking for ways to promote them? Have someone create a map with all of your sponsors on it, then share that map on your race website and in paper form at your race.
  • Encourage your runners to come back next year by offering some special perk. One race reserves numbers 1-100 for the runners who finished in those top 100 places in the previous year's race, and awards them a special starting corral in front of the rest of the pack. What other perks might you be able to come up with to reward your top 100?
  • Looking for someone to do graphic design for your race? Check out DesignCrowd, which crowdsources your needs to a large number of designers, after which you get to pick your favorite submissions.
  • Runners are often confused by the difference between net times and gun times, and which are used to determine placement in your awards. Have some information on your website explaining your race's policy. If you are confused yourself, ask us for advice on what to say.
  • If you are struggling to find enough prizes to give to all your age division winners, or haven't been giving out age division awards because of the lack of prizes, consider offering "age graded" awards. Age grading uses standard tables to compare a runner's performance against the best times of his or her age and gender for different distances, and assigns a percentage value to their performance. This allows, for example, a 70+ local woman to compete with an Olympic-caliber athlete on a somewhat level playing field. Give prizes to the top age graded percentages and you'll be rewarding the best performances of the day, whether or not they crossed the finish line first, and you don't need to have dozens of prizes for lots of different age divisions. Or use a combination of age divisions and age graded, so that your older and younger age groups, where every year of age can make a significant difference in performance ability, are all competing on a level playing field. For more information on age grading look here.


Here are some links you may find interesting:

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Winter Wanderings

This is our third GSRS Race Directors blog, an effort that began a few years ago. The goal is to share information about our services, as well as ideas to help you improve your races. It is being sent to all of the road race directors we have worked with over the past few years.

What are Athlinks results?

GSRS sends your race results to multiple online sites, in addition to our own website. One of those is Athlinks, which bills itself as "the largest results database for competitive endurance athletes in the world." Runners can go onto this site and search for their own results, often stretching back into the 1990s. When they find their results they can "claim" them by creating a free account and in the process can create a historical listing of all of their results that they can share with friends and competitors. You can read more about Athlinks here. They also maintain a helpful and informational blog on all kinds of race-related subjects that every race director should check in on periodically. And see their page of White Papers, too.

Race Schwag

Teeshirts and medals seem to be the most common giveaways that runners receive at races, but some are questioning their worth. Dave McGillivray brings up some good points in this Runner's World article. Some races are trying out new ideas. Check out what the Gear Guy has to say in his Runner's World column. One kind of award we often see are handcrafted specialty items that have some kind of meaning related to the race or the community. At the 8 Tuff Miles race in the Virgin Islands in late February, race director Peter Alter took the remains of a tree that Hurricane Irma flew down in his front yard and had a local artisan craft them into small plaques that he gave out to all of his age group winners. And instead of race teeshirts, race director Ed O'Connor gives out knit winter hats with the race name on them for his Yulefest race in Cambridge every December. It's not uncommon to see them all over the Boston area.

New World Record

It's not every day that someone breaks the indoor mile world record by more than a second, but Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia did just that with his 3:47.01 mile at an invitational track meet in Boston last Sunday. I wonder what Sir Roger Bannister would have to say about that!

Decreasing Numbers

If you've noticed that the number of runners in your race(s) have been going down over the past few years, you're not alone. Industry experts say that most road races are experiencing a slump in entries of late. The New York Times had a recent article about it, citing an industry trends report from RunSignUp. One culprit seems to be a relatively flat number of participants being spread out over an increasing number of events. At a recent ChronoTrack timers conference some of us attended in New Orleans in January, they told us that after studying years worth of race results from the Athlinks database they have learned that there is a noticeable correlation between the state of the U.S. economy and participation at road races. You'd think that a healthy economy would mean more runners, since people are more likely to be able to afford race entry fees. But statistics show just the opposite. When the economy is doing well, road race participation is down. Apparently this has to do with the fact that in hard times people tend to turn to cheaper recreational activities, such as running, instead of expensive travel and gym memberships. So our current downward trend in participant numbers is likely only temporary, waiting for the next inevitable swing in our economic fortunes. In the meantime, if you are putting on a road race and just expect runners to show up without much effort on your part, we have three words for you:  Promote, Promote, Promote!

Historical Results

We have recently added historical race results to our enhanced race result pages for your race. We have searched online for all results going back as far as possible for all of the races we time and added links to them on our own results pages. So whenever anyone brings up your race's page on our website - either the informational page that comes up in google search results, or the results page for your current year's race - they will be able to easily check out the results from previous years, even if GSRS wasn't the timer. Very few results go back before the mid 1990s when started posting them, so if your race is older than that and you still have printed results tucked away in a file somewhere, send them to us and we'll get them online for you.

We'll close this blog with our sincere thanks to each of our customers for their continued confidence is our services. We look forward to working with you again over the coming race season.

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Moving into Spring at Granite State Race Services

Race Promotion

Spring has sprung, the 2017 Boston Marathon is in the books, and now it’s time for the race season to get underway in earnest. May and June are two of the busiest months of the year for races, exceeded only by September and October. Whether your race is coming up soon, or not for months yet, one thing you’ll want to pay attention to is promoting your event. We’ve put together a list of great ideas on our website to promote your event, and included many links to further information that we hope you’ll find useful. Take a look, and if you have other ideas that aren’t included we hope you’ll share them with us so we can share them with others.

Links to Race Videos

We’ve got an exciting new service to offer our events. In cooperation with iResults we can now offer to link your runners’ results directly to a video of their finish on YouTube. If you have someone taking video of your finishers and that video is posted on YouTube, it’s a simple matter to link up our results. Runners only have to click on a link next to their own results to view themselves coming across the finish line. In many cases we can produce these videos ourselves, so if this is of interest please ask us about it. You can see an example of what these results look like here.

Where are our race results?

Speaking of online race results, the best place to view our results is on our own website, starting at We display your results from the website, but also like to enhance the page by including links to results on and We will include any available links to photos and video of the race, as well as news stories about your race after the event. Sometimes we’ll include photos of your winners, and if you have a few photos of your race that you’d like to include, feel free to send them to us. If you are posting a link to your race results on your own website, you can find the link to your results by logging into our website, going to your event through the Race Director’s menu, and looking for the GSRS Results link at the bottom of the page. Results of your race will appear here live during your race as runners are finishing. Also be sure to tell your runners that they can sign for athlete tracking to receive results of any runner by email or text. That becomes available as soon as the runner data is loaded into the system.

Blogs from ChronoTrack

Our ChronoTrack partners blog frequently, and they have created some excellent entries over the past couple of months. Check these out:

Crisis Communications Handbook: What, Why, and How?

The Ins & Outs of USATF Course Certification

4 Problems Every Race Director Encounters (Ask us how we can help you to handle them)

Welcome All: How to Make Your Race Truly Inclusive

Repeat Registration: How to Create Participants for Life

Mud, Sweat, and Tears: How to Plan an Obstacle Race

Little & Local: When a Small Town Race is a Race Director’s Best Bet

What's the winning time?

Chip timing devices have internal clocks that record the times of the runners as they cross over the finish mats. Those times flow into our computers and from there we provide the results and score the race. But the times as recorded by such chip systems are NOT official by the rules of USA Track & Field. According to their rulebook (which is available online but not easy reading at 242 pages long) the winning time of the race must be determined by at least two and preferably three independent timers who use separate timepieces started on the gun and stopped when the winner crosses the finish line. The middle of those three times (or longer of two) is the official winning time. We compare that time to the time that comes into our computer through our chip system and make an adjustment to change that chip time to the official winning time. All finishers in the race get the same adjustment to their times. This is the way that the rules specify it must be done, yet most timing companies don't bother. They take the time on the chip system and as long as it's not way off they go with it. Such times are not acceptable for official records and rankings, so do keep this in mind when hiring a timer.

See you at the races!

Happy New Year and Thanks from Granite State Race Services

Happy New Year from Granite State Race Services! We would like to thank you for your business. We really appreciate your confidence in us, and are happy to have been a part of your event! This past year has been successful for GSRS in terms of growth and new services. This first Race Director blog will keep you up to date on our service offerings, and ways that we can help you going forward. We will be including links to information that will assist you in putting on your events, and will offer useful anecdotes from our own experiences.  

We are sending this first blog to all of the race directors we have worked with over the past three years.  We intend to send it out approximately three to six times a year, and it will also be available on the GSRS website under the “Race Directors” menu.

Our ChronoTrack partners provide great information about race promotion, marketing, working with sponsors and much more. Here are some of their most recent offerings:

For much more you can view their entire blog here.

Have you been to our website lately? On our home page, you will see a list of our services, which include much more than just race timing. We’ve recently revamped it to more clearly illustrate the full range of what we offer. These include specifics on our:

  • Timing and scoring
  • Registration and results
  • Event management support
  • Logistical support

GSRS brings the latest timing technology to our events. How do we make sure that this “high tech” doesn’t fail? We consistently provide several layers of backup timing to insure against simple mechanical failure or Internet outage. For example, our ChronoTrack start and finish timing systems are always set up with at least two, and usually three different sensor systems. In addition, we utilize manual backups as a way to visually confirm our race results. Not all race timers go this extra mile, but our years of experience tell us this is both prudent and necessary.

Thank you again for being one of our valued customers! We look forward to working with you in the future. GSRS is here to support your event in any way that we can. We always welcome any feedback, comments or questions.

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