Introducing: Smart Corral.

Smart Corral is a new set of services designed with three goals in mind:

  1. Maximize athlete flow in running events
  2. Declutter the registration process
  3. Eliminate thousands of hours spent each year by event organizers who must manually validate participants’ self-times

Smart Corral automatically validates and projects millions of athletes’ finish times in running events of any distance in a matter of seconds. Event organizers can leverage the service in two ways: 1) to validate against an optional self-time field submitted by the athlete during registration or 2) rely completely on the engine’s projected finish time. For the former, the self-time is validated against the user’s Athlinks profile or, absent that, Athlinks’ tried and tested athlete matching algorithms – returning an accuracy score, projected time, as well as the prime event name, location, date, and course distance against which the time was validated.

For example: John Smith, age 34 from Sarasota, FL submits a 3:10:00 self-time for an upcoming Marathon. The Smart Corral engine matches this to a past result of 3:08:15 from the 2017 Miami Marathon and validates that 3:10:00 is, in fact, a valid self-time. The system automatically projects from other distances as well, accurately converting times from 5K to 50K into the target distance.

The Vision

“We started off looking at a few off-the-shelf pacing calculators and age-grading formulas and then set to work on applying machine learning against our database of 265 million results in order to hone our prediction algorithms”, said Troy Busot, Founder of Athlinks and Vice President of Product and Engineering. “This approach has resulted in a self-tuning engine – increasing in accuracy by using projections against live results as they come in through Athlinks and the ChronoTrack Live scoring engine.”

Athlinks’ stated mission around results aggregation has always been to give back to the industry by providing insights and services that fully leverage our breadth of data. From freely managing millions of athletes’ results histories, to providing industry data reports – which have been powered by Athlinks and provided by RunningUSA for over a decade – Smart Corrals is the next logical step.

In Action

Smart Corrals have been used in several large, important, high profile events already in 2018, including Miami Marathon, NYC Marathon, Pat’s run, and – next up – AJC Peachtree Road Race – through close partnerships with the Timer and Event Organizer. Work is underway to make the tool more broadly available and self-service via the Athlinks channel, with a general release target of Fall ‘18.

“Course congestion is a big concern for each of our events and one we’re always trying to solve with more accurate seeding, but even more so for an event as large as Pat’s Run”, said Chris Giles, Lead Timer of the 14th Annual Pat’s Run. “This year, Smart Corral drastically streamlined the process of seeding, so that we could focus on the many other details of putting on a great, safe event. If we’re collectively going to grow the sport of Running, solving these types of issues is critical.”

If you are interested in testing Smart Corrals in your next event, please contact an Athlinks Services representative to see if your event qualifies.

For the full story, view the entire press release on Endurance Sportswire.