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How do I set up Categories in Zone4 Timing?

There are two primary ways of setting up racer categories in Zone4. The method you use in Zone4 Timing will depend on how your fields have been setup in the registration form for your event. These two methods are:

  • Racers fill in a variety of fields (usually age, gender and distance) during registration and categories are created for each combination of fields.
  • Racers select their category from a list during registration.

If you have not yet built your registration form and want to figure out how you should set up categories, see our article on setting up categories in your registration here.

Categories Within Zone4 Timing

The word “category” can mean different things in different sports and race formats.  In the simplest format all racers will start in one big group, follow the same course, and then be broken into categories only on the final results.  In other race types, each category might start the separately, do a different course to the other categories, and then be ranked within that group on the results.  For this reason, in Zone4 Timing we sort racers into three different types of racer groupsStart Groups, Course Groups, and Result Groups, leaving you with full control over what exactly the word category means in your race.

These groups can be defined by any field or combination of fields from your registration form. The fields most often used are race distance, age, and gender, but any field on your registration form can be used.  Furthermore, in one race you can have Start Groups, Course Groups and Result Groups all defined using different fields. This has been done to make Zone4 Timing as flexible as possible so that it can meet the needs of all types of races.

Suggested Reading: To learn more about Racer Groups and how they work see the article here.


Following is an example of a race that would follow the Racer Group setup most often used in race timing. The registration form that would be used for this sample race would have the following fields for racers to choose from:

You’re timing a loppet ski race and have two distances for racers to choose from, a 15km and a 30km. You decide to base your start groups off of distance so that those doing the same distance start together. As such when you’re setting up your start list you choose to “Define start groups using racer fields” and select the “Choose your distance” field from the registration form to define your start groups.The options available in that field (15km and 30 km) become the Start Groups in the race, as pictured below.

We’ve just created Start Groups based on the race distance, which means that our Course Groups will be the same as our start groups, and can be created by selecting the same “Choose your distance” field.  See Create Start Lists and Device Setup for more info.

On the results for this example, we’ve chosen to create three different result sets, each with the racers grouped a different way:

  • An “Overall Results” set based on just the Distance field.  This will show the overall winners of each distance.  By default, results are grouped by your Course Groups so you don’t need to select any fields to make a result set grouped by distance.
  • An “Overall Gender” result set based on both the Distance and Gender field showing the winner of each Distance in each Gender.  In this case, by simply adding the Gender field to a result set, we see that it has created each permutation of 15 km Male, 15 km Female, 30 km Male, 30 km Female.
  • And finally, we will make an “Age Group” result set.  You can do this by adding the Age field and the Gender field. When you select to group racers by an age field (or by any other number field) you are given the option to enter the ranges that will form your groups, as you can see in the picture below.  The system then creates a result group for each of the combinations possible from your data.

For more info on setting up results click here.

Following is detailed documentation about how to use the category fields from your registration form and how to set up Age and Gender categories in Zone4 Timing. If you understood the previous example and would be able to re-create in yourself then you will not need to continue reading.

How do I Create “Racer Groups” based off of the Racer Categories I set up in my Registration form?

In Zone4 Timing when you configure either Start List, Device Setup or Results, you will have the option to “Define Groups Using Racer Fields“. When you select this, choose the Racer Field from your registration form that corresponds to racer categories. Pictured below is the Define Racer Groups window for Start Groups (though it looks very similar for Course Groups and Result Groups window). Highlighted is the drop down menu where you select your chosen field. Remember a category field will only exist if you had one in your registration form. 

You can then configure these categories in either Start List, Device Setup, and Results by merging, changing the name and changing the order of the groups.

How do I Create Age and Gender Categories in Zone4 Timing?

You can easily define racers by  Age and Gender groups (the most common form of category) in  Zone4 Timing provided that you had, Age or Date of Birth, and Gender fields on your registration form. If you asked registrants for their age on your registration form continue reading, if instead you asked registrants for their Date of Birth the follow the How to Calculate Age from Date of Birth documentation first before continuing. This type of Group is often called “Age Group” and is used for “Age Group Results”

Now that you have (or already had) age as a racer field, select “Define Groups Using Racer Fields”. This same option will be available when you are creating your Start List, Device Setup and Result Sets. In the drop down menu select the Age field as is pictured below.

Note that if you separate racers into Age and Gender Categories in Start Groups you will have the option of carrying  these groups over to Course Groups and Result Groups.

Once this is done you will be able to separate racers into age ranges. Be sure to use the formatting shown in the “Group Ranges” box pictured below so that Zone4 Timing is able to recognize these ranges.

Usually Racer Categories are divided by both age and gender. To do this, add the “Gender” Field as a second defining field after Age, as pictured below.

Note that if only gender defined groups are wanted then simply add a gender field and no age field. 

You can review your groups before selecting the “Create Racer Groups” button Pictured below. You can then configure these groups by merging, changing their names and changing the order of the groups. Click on the following links to the general race timing system docs to find instructions on how to do this in; Start List, Device Setup, and Results.

Updated on 2019-06-27

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