When Should Races Close Registration?

There’s a lot to do on the days leading up to a race. There’s packet pickups. Making sure routes are set and safe. Doing final checks with municipalities to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. With all that going on, it makes sense that races want to close registration a few days in advance. Especially when you’re a smaller race with fewer available resources.  

But, the numbers show that might not be the best decision… 

When should small races close registration?

The short answer is, they shouldn’t. Well, not until after the race starts.

We know the idea of keeping registration open until the race begins may sound like a big task, but our data consistently shows 25% of all registrations happen during race week. That number is even higher for shorter distance events like 5Ks. So, if you close early you’re likely losing out on a lot of potential participants. 

Keeping registration open until race day can be challenging, but if you use RunSignup there are a number of tools at your disposal that make it simple to do. 

Dynamic bib assignment 

One of the biggest challenges races sometimes face with last minute registration is having bibs for them. With dynamic bib assignment people get bib numbers when they check in for an event. Not only does this make day-of registrations a bit simpler, it’s also generally an easier process for all bib assignments.

You can use the RaceDay CheckIn app – which is generally the more convenient of the two – to do dynamic bib assignment, or manage it from a computer through web check in. If you want to learn even more about dynamic bib assignment, this video covers all the details

Event day registration options

With RunSignup you’re also able to create expedited registration using the Fast Registration feature. This allows someone to register for an event with less information, making it quicker to sign up. You can also set a date range for Fast Registration, ensuring people only go through the truncated process on the days you want. 

You can also enable on-site registration for events. Similar to Fast Registration, you can choose to limit the amount of information needed for on-site registration. It also gives the option to do things like cash payments. 

QR codes

Another way to help expedite registration is by using QR codes at your event. In your event dashboard you can access a number of different QR codes (Show more > Promotions > Links). You can print these out and post them at the event so people can quickly scan them and sign up on their own. 

This reduces strain on staff and also lets them use things like Apple Pay, which generally makes checkout even faster. Using QR codes can also reduce, or eliminate, the need for event-day kiosks where people can sign up. 

Moving forward

Keeping registration until race day may sound tough, but with access to the right tools it can be a breeze. With RunSignup you have multiple options to help manage last minute registrations and help you get the most participants possible to your event. 

If you’re not already using RunSignup, you can create a race for free here. 

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