Founded in 1987 in Middelbury, Connecticut, the Pat Griskus Triathlon Series was organized in memory of its namesake, a nationally recognized runner and triathlete who competed in road races, marathons, ultramarathons and triathlons using a prosthetic leg. The event began as a sprint distance and added an Olympic distance in 2002, which was named the USA Triathlon Northeast Regional Championship in 2011.
Approximately 1,200 athletes participate in the series each year and over $210,000 has been raised for charity.
In the Beginning
As with all pre-internet races, participants registered for the Pat Griskus Triathlon on paper forms in the early years. This meant hundreds of applications were manually entered into a database by volunteers, which opened the registration process up to plenty of data entry errors. Adding more paper to the process, registration fees were paid by checks or manually-run credit cards, which became more time consuming and inefficient as the event grew larger. It was clear to Race Director Tom Wilkas that these sign-up methods were not only out-of-date but also very insecure for triathletes submitting personal data.
Tom was familiar with ACTIVE Network’s triathlon management solutions and close ties to the endurance sports community because of ACTIVE.com, the popular online directory for events and activities. He immediately implemented ACTIVE Works® Endurance to automate registration and resolve the issues that resulted from paper forms. 33% of participants opted for digital registration in the first year it was offered, and the benefits were apparent to everyone right out of the gate. Event staff saved time and sanity by avoiding data entry, and participants didn’t have to worry that their personal information was floating around unsecured on paper forms. Within three years, the triathlon was 100% online. It no longer accepts paper forms at all, which has cut back drastically on incorrect data or incomplete information.
“ACTIVE’s solution has saved my sanity... Increased security is a primary strength of ACTIVE. It’s a big selling point for me to have a company that’s been around for so long and is focused on protecting our event’s information.”
Exploring the Benefits
Beyond the expected time savings, Tom and his team are enjoying further benefits from going digital with ACTIVE Network:
- Highest level of data security and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance.
- Free, unlimited support from a team of experts.
- Standard and custom reports that provide insight into registration information, email success and revenue details.
- Built-in email tool that enables customized, targeted event updates and marketing emails.
- Free listing on Active.com and spotlight advertisements for recruiting new participants in the New York area.
Now fully digital, the Pat Griskus Triathlon staff can spend their time working to make the race better and safer, while expanding their reach to gain even more participants. ACTIVE is committed to supporting their goals. “It’s hard to quantify just how much time it’s saved, but I can tell you that now I’m free to focus on more important things like buttoning up safety requirements for the course.”
33% of triathlon participants chose online registration in year one.
100% of triathlon registrations were digital within three years of implementation