Online entry systems are really useful because they take care of admin behind the scenes. With a system like this, event organisers can just download a spreadsheet with names of entrants and that’s it done.
But, for me, there’s a problem with this…
If your entry has gone through an online system, I don’t feel like I know you. You’re a name on a list that I’ll probably download close to the event date.
I used an online system for my first two Forest Run events (I was using it for other events) and it works well. The system definitely takes a load off… but, I end up on race day not really knowing who has entered. I see the names on the list but I don’t SEE the names. Last year I really enjoyed interacting directly with runners.
Going into this Forest Run I decided from the outset to handle all entries manually again. Sure, there is more admin and emails and comms… but from these I get pleasure. In meeting you, the entrants – old and new. By the time you rock up at the race, I’ve spoken to you on email, I’ve looked through your entry forms. I know how old you are and where you’re from.
To me, you’re more than a name on a spreadsheet to which I assign a race number. You’re a Forest Runner.
Then, when I greet you at the finish line, I’m so totally proud of you. Because I’ve met you. Even if just through an email and your entry form.