Volunteering at FLRC's January 15th meet at Barton Hall

@adamengst As usual, operator error. I assumed I was logged in, but I was not. Once I logged in it clearly displayed any commitments.


@track-volunteers Great job, everyone! I got a ton of compliments from coaches and runners alike on the meet, and a lot of runners had a lot of fun.

After every meet, I like to request feedback from all of you about what we ran into and what we could have done better. Here are the things I noticed—please share anything else you saw.

  • HyTek Meet Manager seemed allergic to the USB-C hub I’d brought for connecting an additional keyboard and mouse. Sheesh! Luckily, Jess and Dave were able to work through it at first and deal with an in-place upgrade before we pulled the hub from the equation.

  • For reasons I still don’t understand, the bib clock’s battery seemed weak, with the LEDs getting dim. “No problem,” I thought, “we’ll just plug it in.” But when we did that, the automatic start connection to the Time Machine got super funky. Thanks to @aeronjauquet and @rebeccamlambert for manual starting while the clock was charging so we could get back to automatic start for the sprints. Perhaps it didn’t like spending the night outside in the car, but it should have warmed up quickly enough inside. Next month I won’t pack it until morning.

  • The big Start and Finish flags seemed superfluous—I don’t think I’ll bring them next month. Similarly, the megaphone wasn’t useful except perhaps as a backup. It’s fussy to pack, so I’ll leave it home next month.

  • I thought the electronic starting pistol worked pretty well (could have been a little louder), but its belt clip broke off, so we’ll need to figure out another attachment method in the future. The real starting pistol is super loud in Barton, so better to save that for outdoors. Truck Rossiter or Bob Talda can take over for Tom as starter if he’s unavoidably elsewhere during the next few meets.

  • Happily, the Time Machine worked well. When I tested it Friday afternoon, it was dead, and didn’t recovery by Friday night, so I arranged to borrow a replacement Time Machine from Leone Timing, who were working at Cornell yesterday. Unfortunately, their Time Machine is a different model that doesn’t do track meets, so it was lucky that an overnight charge and keeping it on power during our entire meet worked well. For next month, I hope we can get it a new battery and give Carl some time to practice with it.

Any other issues that you worked around or approaches you came up with that we want to make sure to remember? Patrick, Laurel, any feedback, ideas, or equipment requests to make clerking easier or better?

The next meet is February 19th!

Thought it went very well overall . Love the energy of the little ones. I am a certified NYS Official and can start as well and defiantly stick with the electronic gun indoors! See you in February.

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Thanks Adam for the overall great return to Barton track fun. and for your work-around on the finish line clock (that one curious fault that was going on), great race announcements and especially for all the time machine helps. Coach B and Katie (hope I remembered our backup timer’s name) were tremendous at catching all the finishers for the xc finishes: We never got close to having to line up finishers to collect their numbers as in times past (was this because we didn;t overload heats?). Clerk of the Course Patrick and Laurel delivered runners to the start line like clockwork. Jesse and Dave (and Adam) were amazing to watch resolving data problems that were produced upstream. I’m really curious as to how the field events went. It was super to have the lane timers walk their individual runners up to their positions for the staggered starts. The only persistent problem I noticed was the lane 1 runners in the staggered starts didn’t hear the instruction for themselves, but as their timer buddy it was easy to just repeat for them what Tom was saying… Sincerely, Carl


I want to replace the two signs that affix to the front of the Registration desk with something that looks more intentional and welcoming. @amelia-kaufman was fun to work with and a quick study on all the details.

@adamengst - please see if you can get the signup system to not say that a check is required

The metal box worked well for transporting and storing clipboards, but I will set it up slightly differently next time

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Good feedback, folks, keep it coming.

One more thing I hit—the jump results sheets need to have bib numbers on them, which would make it a lot easier to enter results (which we could probably even do at the meet). I gave up after the top 5 and pointed people to the scanned sheets.

Done for February and March…

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Just a couple of suggestions:

  • For the youth teams that are attending, it would be great if their coaches could let the registration desk know if any kids who were signed up didn’t end up coming that day.
  • Some of the kids had clearly practiced the relay and some had no idea what was happening. Maybe there could be a list of suggested things to practice for those coaching kids who are new to running track - things like handoffs, when to stay in a lane and when to move inside, etc.
  • One of the things that ate up some time was taking everyone to their lanes, which could be a little confusing for some kids since if they are in lane 1, it has a big number 3 on it. I’m not sure there’s a solution for that, just mentioning it!
  • When checking people in on the seed sheets for the races with lots of heats, it could sometimes be tough to quickly find their bib number. If there’s an easy way to do a printout sorted by bib number, that could be really handy.

Good suggestion—that’s something @tonya and bib pickup people can work on with the coaches and then transfer to Meet Manager so reseeding drops those kids out.

As @bethany-schiller can attest, teaching kids this stuff takes time, and a lot of kids have no experience with track before our meets. So it’s a good idea, but something that has to take place beforehand for the most part. Even the way Tom was getting them to learn proper starting commands slowed things down.

Athletic tape! Let’s make our own #1 in that lane!

I’m not sure if that’s possible or not—I’ll have to poke through Meet Manager’s reports and see what I can find.


@adamengst is right! It takes a lot of reps/time for kids to really learn these things, they are all things I work on with kids during the Youth Bureau’s spring/summer track program. However, the Youth Bureau doesn’t have any kind of winter track program, I just organized a group of kids from the summer program who wanted to run at the meet. Some of these things, like running in lanes, also require access to a track to really practice, so even groups who do have winter sessions are unlikely to be able to work on these things outside of meets, given how difficult it is to get regular access to an indoor track!

one thing I thought could help with the relay, have someone help the next runners organize themselves based on the current order their teammates are coming in for the handoff…I noticed that a lot of relay runners stayed in the order of their original lanes (or maybe just whatever order they came over to the exchange zone in) which made handoffs trickier than they needed to be.

Yes, I noticed that most kids were lining up randomly to take their handoff, but once the race spread out it was too hard to tell who was on which team to correct them in real time. Could we use pinnies for the teams who don’t have uniforms?

Indeed, organizing relay handoffs is tough. That’s why we usually try to get the coaches involved, since they know the kids and are more likely to know which kids are on which teams. Pinnies aren’t impossible but it might be tricky to find the combination of colors and sizes that would work for a team.

I chose not to bring our new colored batons purely from the amount of stuff I was schlepping standpoint, but we could make sure that every team has a different color baton and try to get the teams to know what color they use. Not perfect, but a little better.

colored batons would help for sure! I can also help with this next time, I don’t know if I’ll get more than the one team of kids I had, but I’m also a little familiar with most of the groups that came to the first meet.

with respect to lane numbers - I’d suggest changing the lane assignments to be 3-8 in the timing system … and hence the clerk’s sheets too

Hmm! We could do that manually, though it would require adjusting every heat by hand when seeding. The only problem is that then there’s a mismatch with the number where they line up for everyone but lane 1/3. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

I was afraid it was a manual adjustment. oh well. back to the tape idea - but it would have to be for all the lanes not just lane 3 aka 1