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HOW THE KRR RACING STATS CAME TO BE
|The Klondike International Road Relay began in the fall of 1982. However, my involvement only came to pass in 1986. At that time I was returning home to the Yukon after six years "Outside". At the time I was working for CP Air, which was the Major Sponsor of the KRR. My actual involvement in 1986 was pretty much that of a spectator, it was only after that race when my boss felt that the timing was not a good reflection on our corporate image and wondered if I could use my computer knowledge to improve it for the next year. I joined the Race Committee that fall and started to see what help I could offer.
Now you need to understand that running was never my major strength, and while I understood databases and computers I knew nothing of "running". I did have had a long time friend who was not only a runner but was a sports announcer for CBC Radio, Ron McFadyen. Ron spent many hours explaining how the race worked and what was important to the teams and the participants. Clearly without his help the end result would have been a failure. Thanks Ron.
It was clear that the way the event statistics in the past were being collected were not providing the desired results. The only times that were posted were the final overall team results, no leg results were posted or kept for most of early years. Ron pointed out that while overall results were important what the racers really wanted were their individual results compared to others in their legs. In effect we were dealing with 10 individual races and one overall race. Additionally the racers wanted to know how they did by category, gender and over all for each leg. For me it became clear that what we needed was a race management system that tracked teams from registration to certificate production.
I started laying out and writing the program in December of 1986. My goal was to have timely results delivered in "somewhat" real time and hopefully have each participant receive a race certificate prior to going home on Saturday night after the race. The biggest problem was to try and get the actual results delivered to my timing shack at the SS Klondike quickly. The Yukon Amateur Radio Association has been accomplishing this task for me since my first race in 1987, first by radioing in all times from the checkpoints. It was an all night affair in those days but we were able to post the early stages prior to the first racer crossing the finish line. However, the data was handled three or four times and created many typo errors. Later we tried using a system called packet radio which sent burst of data in a file to my location via wireless HF radio. This worked reasonably well until the Montana Mountain repeater got struck by lighting and was blown off the top of the mountain See http://www.yara.ca. Now we handle the data by preparing disks at each point and couriering them to my location. The main advantage is that the data is only handled twice and I now get a few hours sleep the day of the race.
In the early years we were able to produce race certificates in time for the awards presentations. By all indications this was very well received despite spelling mistakes and sex changes. As the race became more popular this put a real strain on printing certificates for the Awards Dance, it was taking close to Five hours just to print the certificates plus the time to produce the finial results for posting. The awards presentations kept getting later and later in the evening.
With the new online system being individuals can produce certificates on demand by year and all years to date. I have felt particularly bad about having to discontinue giving certificates the day of the race so I am please by this new improvement.
Other significant events that have impacted the timing of the KRR have been the addition of a "walking category", "mass starts on Leg 10" and in 2007 the addition of the "Ultra Category". While these additions seem like simple things they created significant work in rewriting the program.
I would like to acknowledge the help and assistance of Attila Kovarcsik. Attila has done all the WEB programming and site maintenance since we started the conversion to an online system in 2006. Without his WEB programming knowledge this project would not have been completed, thank you Attila.
Over the last couple of years we have completed the picture uploads and the
team photos are now all on line. We have just brought up the Graphing Stats
section. While this is just started we are interested in the types of graphs
you would like to see so we can add them.
As we go into the 30th anniversary of the KRR and my 25th doing the Stats.
Attila and I hope to do some testing on digital time keeping at the check
points this year. Our goal was always to have real time stats available all
along the course, given the communications or lack of them along the race
course this is still a challenge. My HAM colleagues and I continue to look
for ways of collecting the data and relaying it the finish line more
Enjoy the race and I am proud to have been part of this great event for the
past twenty five years.
Don & Attila
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