This winter promises to be like none before it, with unprecedented difficulties affecting our lives. We at OpenTrack have been working around the clock to ensure athletics can continue to move forward so those hard, solo training sessions will not be wasted, and you can keep all your club members engaged.
OpenTrack has been in the vanguard of virtual racing, building the systems from scratch and providing a platform for competitive action of some sort during those taxing (😉) lockdown months. Having launched our virtual platform in March, we received funding from the four Home Country Athletics Federations, enabling us to offer virtual races to all clubs in the UK from April until today.
This is where many of you will know us from, potentially from the initial Virtual National Road Relay or maybe an event hosted by your own club. However, while virtual racing was new to us too, normal athletics and XC are our bread and butter; we have been taking entries and providing the systems to manage competitions for years. These include multiple international events, such as the 10,000m European Cup (aka Highgate’s Night of 10,000m PBs), and various county championships each year. Events range from simple fun runs and school XC races up to complex multi-day track and field meetings - whatever the event, we can support and assist with it!
Organising an Event
As an organiser of a competition, the first point of call for up to date information should always be the federation websites. For example, in England, EA have produced Cross Country Return to Restricted Competition Guidance
At Opentrack, our job is to help provide a framework for you to put on the best competition possible at a budget suited to our sport, whilst adhering to the guidelines.
We have proven expertise in all of these fields, having been involved in some of the first post-lockdown track events, such as the London Inter Club Challenge, the pioneering event in the South this summer, along with a multitude of events hosted by home county based clubs.
When it comes to distance events, we anticipate three main forms of competition this winter. Our system supports all of them:
- Seeded shorter races with small fields, e.g. 3000m on the track
- Wave start or handicap races (whether chip-timed or hand-timed)
- Time trial (virtual races) - over 380 competitions for 65,000 athletes to date.
For the KJTs out there, we also have completely customisable combined events scoring, allowing you to participate in unique indoor challenges - design your own decathlon! Scottish Athletics used this to organise and score their SuperTeams format, keeping thousands of young athletes engaged in inter-club competitions this year.
As a final point, the responsibility for the organisation of our sport, on the whole, usually falls on older shoulders. Whilst this greater experience can yield well-run competitions, it may be that, in current conditions, more of the weight of event organisation should fall on younger shoulders. Many of our officials have been in their roles for many years but some are justifiably wary about mingling in crowds. We would like to finish with a call to arms to encourage everyone to assist with putting on events to help us all move forward. So, whether you are an old hand or haven’t organised an event before, Opentrack are here to help!