The Secret to Great Race Scoring? Lists

The ING NYC Marathon keeps coming around each year, and each year technology advances to enhance the experience for runners. The race was first scored electronically in 1976, making this the 33rd year that computers have been used. 1999 was the first year we starting timing using transponders, making this the 10th year that we have provided split times and net times for runners.

My first two years working at NYRR, I ran the race, setting a PR in my first marathon in 1989 and dropping out in 1990. I still worked right up to the race and in the days after, but the following year, it was clear that for our most important day of the year, they weren’t letting me off again. Alice Schneider was in charge of race scoring from the beginning, writing most of the programs that we still use today (though their retirement is set for next year) and for 15 years, I worked under her direction. Alice retired in 2004, and I’ve led race scoring ever since. This year’s 2008 ING NYC Marathon will be my 19th, which I guess says something about my age.

One of my secrets of success is to keep lists. I’m not talking about scribbled notes on receipts; I mean organized, prioritized lists of the necessary things that have to be accomplished. While I think I have a good memory, for race scoring, there are just too many critical things that have to happen to keep track of in your head. Every time I get a new request for entrant data or have a new spec to create, it goes on the list and every day, the list gets re-prioritized. My current list has over 80 items on it, but thankfully, only 28 of them are uncompleted and only 9 are scheduled for today. As soon as one task is completed and gets checked off, more requests come in and the list increases…

Tom – Race Scoring


2 Responses to The Secret to Great Race Scoring? Lists

  1. Jamie says:

    Tom, out of curiosity, do you rely on PDA to manage your tasks? You guys are doing a fantastic job. I hope we can meet up with some of you at the expo.

    BTW, I’m travelling from Asia.

  2. R. Kelley says:

    Good article. I like the personal aspect, that real people are behind the scenes and making it the great success it always is. Well done. (Making lists might be a genetic trait)!

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