The Rise of the Race Series

Stephanie Bonk, 18 October 2020

A race series is a group of races that are cohesive in some way. Race series can be linked through branding, advertising, and swag, such as t-shirts or medals. Alternatively, endurance sports clubs or organizations may endorse certain events as a series and encourage their members to participate.

From the participant perspective, a race series represents a different type of challenge because you commit to participating in multiple events instead of just one. It requires you to maintain a level of fitness for the length of the series, which could be weeks or months.

As an event organizer or club director, series can be used to identify the best events in your area, boost participation, and keep the community engaged. A great example is the Houston Area Road Runners Association (HARRA) Fall and Spring Series. HARRA, a club of +2000 members, endorses certain races by encouraging its members to participate through a series leaderboard. HARRA recognizes that in order to motivate runners to participate in race series, there must be a clear link to competition or goal-attainment.

Unlike HARRA, most series do not measure cumulative performance and provide awards. Why are series leaderboards so uncommon? That’s because race series are very difficult to score. No primary key exists to link participants in every event. Matching participants by hand is challenging due to many factors including birthdays, usage of nicknames, misspellings, father-son pairs with the same name, and name change due to martial status. As one can imagine, this activity is extremely time consuming and many event directors and club volunteers have no extra bandwidth to support it.

We created Swiftally to be the turn-key leaderboard solution for race series so that event organizers or volunteers can easily create series standings and participants can view their cumulative results and position amongst competitors. Swiftally is able to match participants over multiple races using a smart-matching algorithm where the only information required is a list of eligible participants and race result files. After uploading this information to the platform, a leaderboard is displayed in seconds.

Swiftally can be used for in-person and virtual events and is currently used by endurance event organizations in the Houston, Austin, and Philadelphia areas. For more information about Swiftally, please contact [email protected]

In order to motivate runners to participate in race series, there must be a clear link to competition or goal-attainment