There are two important tasks performed on the Course Setup page. First you will divide racers into “course groups”, and then you will select which timing devices should be used for each course group, and what order the racers in that course group will cross the timing devices in.
Setting up Course Groups
In the simplest case, all the racers in your race run the same course. This means that they cross the same timing points, in the same order, the same number of times. In more complex races, some racers will do a different course to other racers.
- In a multi-lap race, you should create a course group for each category that does a different number of laps. In a race with a 5k and a 10k option where the 10k is two laps of the 5k course, create seperate course groups for 5k and 10k.
- In a point-to-point race, course groups should be set up for each distance.
- In a time limit race, each time limit should be a different course. For example, in a race where one group does as many laps as they can in 8 hours and another group does as many laps as they can in 24 hours, create a course group for the 8hr racers and a course group for the 24hr racers.
When you first navigate to the course setup screen, you will be presented with the option to split racers into course groups, or to keep all racers in a single group. Choose the appropriate option based on your race requirements.
Course groups, like Start Groups and Result Groups, can be defined using any combination of fields on your registration form.
Timing Point Setup
When you have created your course groups, the next step is to define the actual race course that the racers in that “course group” will follow. The timing software doesn’t need to know much about what happens between each timing point, but it does need to know how many split points there will be and how the times will be recorded at each split point.
In multi-lap races and triathlons, the different course groups often share a large amount of their timing configuration, and are only differentiated by the number of laps racers will have to complete. If you have chosen a race format with a shared configuration, you will see a simplified course map below the list of courses. In the example below, we can see there are 4 different course groups, each doing a different number of laps but always crossing the two intermediate split points on each lap.
The “junior women distance free” and will not cross the “lap” timing point, instead going straight to the finish after they cross the two previous timing points. All the other courses use the same lap point to record a time inbetween laps, and then cross the finish line when completed the set number of laps.
Setting a Custom Course
Shared courses can save you time when setting up the race, but your racers don’t necessarily do the same course. If you have some racers doing laps of a long course that crosses two mid-lap splits, and other racers doing a short course that crosses only one mid-lap split point, you can click the Configure button beside each course name and set a completely different crossing order for the course group. When you have done this, you’ll see an orange flag beside the course groups that do not follow the course configured directly below the course groups list, and the only way to change the timing devices for those courses will be to click the Configure button.
No Shared Configuration
In the above example, we still have two course groups that follow a shared course, but if each course group crosses a different set of timing points then there is no shared course at all, so the shared course map UI is replaced with a list of active timing points and the courses that they are assigned to.
In this example, all four courses start and finish at the same timing point but have a different intermediate split point.
Assigning Timing Devices to Points
At each timing point configured in the race, you will need to select at least one device that will be used to record times. Click the Select a Timing Device button beside each timing point name, and select the device that will be used at that point:
This list only contains timing devices that are owned or rented by your club; until the device has been assigned to your club it will not appear in this list. See the “How do I assign Timing Devices to my Organization?” page for help linking a GoChip activator or a phone with the Zone4 Go app to your club. Summit timers (which require a bridge function to work with Zone4 Timing) are linked to your club by entering a valid licence key in the Zone4 desktop application.
Using the same device to record lap times and finish times
In most multi-lap races, the finish line is a separate location from the lap point, and different timing devices are needed at each location. However, if your racers cross the finish line on each lap you can simply select the same device at both the “Lap” and “Finish” points on the timing setup screen. Once a device is already assigned to one timing point, you’ll see it in the “Re-Use Devices” section of the timing devices list:
This can also be useful if, for example, the course loops back on itself and you need to use the same mid-lap split point twice in the same lap.
Using Multiple Devices at the Same Timing Point
Using a few devices to record times at the same point can be great for redundancy, to protect against technical failure or human error. To add another timing device, click on the button at the right of the timing point and select Edit Backup/Precall Devices:
And then click the Add a Timing Device button and select any additional devices that will be used to record times at this point.
Using Backup Devices
Backup devices can be added to each timing point using the same process as adding additional timing devices above. A backup device will record times, but those times will not automatically be assigned to racers. The times will be stored and linked to racers so they can be looked up and used for reference later on, but will not affect the results by default. In general, if you have multiple devices recording times at a point they should all be used as timing devices instead of being added as backup devices.
Using Precall Devices
Precall devices can be set up 15-20 seconds before the finish line (or any other timing point) and will provide data to the “Commentator View“. This allows your race announcer to call racers as they approach the finish line, instead of only calling out racers after they have crossed the finish line, giving the commentary a much more live feeling than just an after the fact announcement of finishers.
Setting Minimum Split Times
Minimum splits can save a lot of headaches on race day by ignoring unreasonably fast times. For example, you might know that the back stretch of your course is hilly and rough and it’s going to take racers at least 20 minutes to go from split 1 to split 2, but there’s a shortcut that could allow racers to get there in 5 minutes if they get lost. If you set the minimum time between split 1 and split 2 to 15 minutes, anybody who inadvertently ends up at split 2 after taking the shortcut will not get a split 2 time recorded, and a warning about their missing time will be generated in the timing dashboard.
Course setup is the most critical step of the race. Review your setup carefully to make sure that the correct devices are assigned to their proper locations and that each racer group has been assigned the right number of laps. Also be sure that you are satisfied with your Course Groups before proceeding to setting up results as any changes you make to Course Groups will erase result sets you have created. Once your review is complete you are now be ready to proceed to the Setting Up Results section of the user guide.