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The Race to the Race

I thought it might be a bit different to chronicle what happens today from a real-time perspective. This will be an interesting day: I wonder in what ways…
Its Saturday morning, March 21st at 6:00 AM, and I have some of the same butterflies in my stomach that occur that second Sunday in July.
There will be a big race taking place at noon today, albeit digital rather than physical.
It’s Open Registration Day for the 2015 Boilermaker!
Preferred Registration, the chance for runners of the 2014 Boilermaker to get signed up ended last night at midnight.
Here’s what it looks like with advanced registration:
15k- 7,846
So today we will have available a bit over 6,100 slots available and 2,300 for the 15k and 5k races respectively.
While this entire process is new to us, I am a bit surprised that more didn’t partake in the opportunity to sign up early. We saw an initial surge on opening day nearly 11,000 hits on boilermaker.com that leveled to around 3,000 during the following week. Obviously those hits do not translate into registrants, they could be visiting anywhere on the site.
So here is what I expect at noon (and beyond).
 A mass of folks locked on to boilermaker.com waiting for high noon. We have the same bandwidth horsepower from Quadsimia, our webhosting company, that we had last year when we were processing 800 runners a minute. RunSignUp, the folks you actually register with, say they are good to go.
 A quick sellout.
Jim, the race director, had predicted around a half hour, my thoughts: twenty minutes. However, in full excuse mode, I made the prediction prior to the end of Preferred Registration.
 Many unhappy emails/ calls from people who didn’t get in. This is a given. The worst are the ones from people who were halfway through the registration process and got shutout as the cap is reached.
And I sit here and wonder…
The automated wait list, which, like preferred registration, is new-will people use it?
Will people who find themselves shutout become Charity Bib Runners? At this point there are around a hundred bibs available.
In the office at 10:00 AM
Looking at the analytics there are a solid 100 folks floating around various areas of the website. We’ve already had a couple of calls from people wanting to know why they can’t register- not noon Eastern Standard Time yet!
Five minutes till noon according to the countdown clock on the website, the herd of folks in the waiting mode has risen to over 950, this includes 11 from Canada, and 1 each from St. Martin and the Virgin Islands plus two from the United Kingdom.
It’s noon, 1,600 at the line- it’s show time!!
The number slowly climbed to 2,300 then began to slowly drop as people completed the registration process.
Within 30 minutes we had 11,800 signed up for the 15k and 3,488 for the 5k. Would the 5k, for the first time ever, sell out prior to the 15k?
I saw Ireland, Germany, Puerto Rico, Italy, the Dominica Republic and Rwandan come across the analytics screen.
The rather manic nature of the initial minutes settled to a more routine pace.
So I was way off on the time we would hit the registration cap.
That’s OK- in fact that’s more than OK.
While it’s great to have bragging rights for a quick close to the race but with that comes more folks who found themselves on the outside looking in.
When you have a stampede, people get run over!
Clearly the preferred registration had a massive effect on today’s sign up.
So nice, no panicky calls, the phones were eerily silent. A quick look at our facebook page showed favorable comments about the process.
At some point this evening the 5k and 15k races will sell out.
I will in all likelihood be asleep when the individual races are sold out.
How funny to reread what I wrote at 6 this morning.

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