I love the fact that she got started by coming up with a better timing system that scaled to include all the finishers in a race. Timing is how I got more involved with FLRC beyond running races, and we now have a bunch of people on our @timing-team.
“Running was booming in New England,” she said in an interview with Runner’s World this month from her home in Quincy, Massachusetts. “We could go to a different race almost every night. The timers did not time the entire field, so I purchased a stopwatch to record Charlie’s finishes. I asked the AAU official who was wearing a fedora and overcoat why he didn’t time the entire field and he replied, ‘Sweetie, if you start to do that, they will expect it all the time.’”
Ratti was well able to take on that challenge. She devised a simple process for melding places with times—keeping two sets of figures and conflating them later, rather than trying to do it all at the moment a runner finished. At one stroke, she eliminated the crowded back-ups that plagued finish lines. Soon she was an AAU commissioner, an authorized race official, and she wrote a booklet on how to put on a race.