How to Streamline Packet Pickup

How to Streamline Packet Pickup

The packet pickup process sets the tone for the entire race experience for participants, volunteers, and staff alike. Creating a streamlined and hassle-free experience during packet pickup is essential for delivering a positive and memorable event. Below is a summary of the ways race organizers can streamline the process by looking at the basic components of packet pickup, using RunSignup’s technology, and the exploring how different sized events require different approaches. Watch the recorded webinar below for a more in-depth information.

Basics to Streamlining Packet Pickup

Here are some of the basics to creating an efficient packet pickup:

  • Clear Communication: It is important to clearly communicate the location and time of packet pickup through multiple channels such as the event website, emails, social media, and flyers. Over-communicating and providing detailed information can help ensure participants understand the pickup process.
  • Pre-Registration and Online Waivers: Encourage participants to pre-register by offering discount incentives and offer online waivers. This helps reduce on-site registrations and allows staff to focus on the packet pickup experience.
  • Multiple Locations or Dates: For larger events or if you have limited space, consider having multiple packet pickup locations or spreading the pickup over multiple days. This can help avoid overcrowding and long lines, providing a smoother experience for participants.
  • Early Pickup Incentives: Encourage participants to pick up their packets early by offering additional free swag or giveaways to the first arrivals. This helps distribute the crowd and reduces the number of latecomers.
  • Adequate Signage and Volunteers: Ensure there is sufficient signage to direct participants to the right areas for packet pickup and other services like late registration. If you expect large crowds, having knowledgeable volunteers strategically placed can be helpful for providing directions and answering questions.
  • Volunteer Management: Determine the appropriate number of volunteers and start volunteer recruitment early to ensure proper staffing. Make use of RunSignup’s volunteer management tools for easy sign up of shifts and use previous data from the RunSignUp check-in report to estimate the number of volunteers needed based on the average check-in time.

RunSignup Technology for Efficient Packet Pickup

Here’s a summary of RunSingup’s free technology tools that can be used to deliver an efficient packet pickup:

  • RunSignup’s Free Email: Make full use of the email platform to streamline communication registration information and packet pickup details with participants. Include QR codes or assigned bib numbers in the subject line to facilitate easy access to the necessary information.
  • Inventory Management: Even if you’re not selling items, use RunSignup’s inventory management tool to handle giveaways like shirts or hats for real-time views of inventory levels.
  • QR Codes: Leverage QR code links provided by RunSignup for various purposes, such as registration or accessing race results. More importantly, use QR codes for rapid race day check-in and overcome typical issues associated with errors in checking in participants.
  • On-site Registration Kiosks: Enable race day registration and allow participants to register using laptops or Chromebooks. Create a separate registration area to avoid queue formation at the main check-in area.
  • Dynamic Bib Assignment: Implement dynamic bib assignment, where bibs are assigned as participants check in. This saves time on pre-assigning bibs and searching for specific bib numbers.
  • Race Day Check-In App: Make use of the Race Day Check-In app, available on mobile devices. The RaceDay CheckIn app is free for events using RunSignup’s registration and streamlines the check-in process, enabling volunteers to check participants in within seconds. Plus, race organizers can get an at-a-glance view of participant check-in levels to help determine the volunteers needed.
  • Combine Technology: Combine QR codes, dynamic bib assignment, and RaceDay CheckIn app for a rapid check-in experience.

Different Approaches Based Upon Participant Attendance

The management of packet pickup varies for events of different sizes. Here are the key points to consider:

For Smaller Events:

  • Last-minute registrations tend to be higher since some people may not have been aware of the event. Having registration kiosks and visible registration QR codes will help reduce congestion.
  • Smaller events can experience a larger percentage increase in registrations close to race day compared to larger events. Running promotions to encourage pre-registration can help with this.
  • Volunteer staff at packet pickup may have multiple responsibilities and need to ensure everything is well-organized and easily accessible.
  • Swag sizes should be clearly marked, and all items should be kept close by for easy distribution.

For Larger Events:

  • Spreading out the packet pickup area is necessary to accommodate more participants.
  • Expectations for efficiency and organization are higher at larger events.
  • Extra days for packet pickup might be needed, especially if the event is popular and attracts a large number of participants.
  • Separate areas can be designated for swag distribution and bib pickup to streamline the process.
  • Some events utilize Expos where participants exit through a gift shop, allowing for additional engagement and swag pickup.
  • Various methods can be employed to manage T-shirt sizes, such as using tickets or a check-in app.
  • Having a dedicated Runner Relations area with experienced staff can help address any major changes or issues.
  • Events may have specific tables for larger groups to prevent congestion in regular lines (teams, first responders, etc).
  • Multiple check-in app devices can be used to scale the number of lines and expedite the process.
  • Combination of pre-printed and dynamically assigned bibs may be used, with separate sections for different groups.


If you have questions about using RunSignup’s technology for your packet pickup, feel free to contact your RunSignup Account Manager, search in our many help files, or contact support.

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