Nicholas Roman & RaceID – Save time with Automation

“This also means that I don’t need to do anything related to this part until two weeks before the race as the system is set up once, and after that it just works on its own, which is really, really nice for me because it saves me tons of time.”

– Nicholas Roman, Challengize

In this interview with Nicholas Roman, you will learn how he uses automation by connecting RaceID Registration data with his email marketing provider to save himself tons of time, and at the same time make sure his participants get the right information at the right time. 

Nicholas Roman is RaceIDs very first customer. He is an active race organizer and a health entrepreneur in Sweden with a multitude of projects, including his company Challengize where he helps companies thrive through fun outdoor events and activities. Upcoming races by Nicholas are EX Swimrun Weekend, which includes two races: the ARK Supersprint and the EX22 Spring Edition 23km race. The ARK Supersprint is the first of its kind and sees the Swimrun elite battle it out in grueling head-to-head eliminations on an extremely short course for the Supersprint Champion title. The day after, is the 23-km race open for everyone that takes you in- and around Edsviken just outside Stockholm. He also organizes the Ultra race SMIR (Stockholm Multi-Island Run) where you run in pairs across the entire Stockholm archipelago with speed boats taking you in between the islands, as well as the Sollentuna Summer & Winter Marathon. In this race, you run a half marathon in the winter, and another one on beautiful trails in the summer, and add the times for a final result. 

Let’s see what Nicholas has to say! You can also watch the full interview, with extras, in video format right here: 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started to organize races? 

I’m an E-health entrepreneur, and I started organizing races about six, seven years ago, as a way to market my product amd company Challengize. I mostly organize running races, and always races with a twist or some sort of “wow factor” where the experience is the central part.  

Nicholas, you are actually our very first customer as RaceID. Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose RaceID back in the day and how the platform has changed throughout the years?

Way back then, I was about to organize my very first race. I inherited a race the island of Runmarö where I have a summer house, and we called the race RUNmaröloppen (loppen meaning race in Swedish). It was very simple set up with a stopwatch and a pencil to record times.

I was starting to get stressed about the situation and did not know where to start as my goal was to grow the race. Then luckily, I met Erik and Johan (co-founders of RaceID) at a party and told them about my upcoming race. Then Erik said, over a beer, “Awesome, we have this new product {RaceID Registration and Timing App} that we’re just launching and you can use that if you want. We will come out and test it on your race! Since that day (despite some hiccups, funny stories and challenges on the way) I’ve been a RaceID client and it has worked out perfectly for me. 

The platform has just gotten better and better all the time, throughout the years. Now it has a lot of the functions that were missing in the beginning, and also a bunch of new functions I could have never imagined I ever needed, and now cannot live without! I’m very happy with my setup now, for all my races. 

Good to hear. And I think we’ve gotten some valuable feedback from you throughout the years also to help us improve the platform! So thank you for that. I also know that you are a super user of the platform, especially when it comes to the Zapier connection. Can you tell us a little bit about how you use that tool?

NR: Zapier is a third-party platform or app that connects different apps and systems automatically through what they call “Zaps”. This feature, since RaceID has integrated their platform to the Zapier system, enables me to connect my RaceID Organizer account with my email marketing tool MailChimp. I guess you can probably connect it with a lot of things, but I connect it to MailChimp because I have a MailChimp account where I send newsletters, Race PMs, information about races and a lot of stuff, for all my races. 

So what I do is I just connect each race, under Integrations in RaceID Admin through one of these Webhooks (see this guide). So when you register to any of my races, after one minute you receive your confirmation and receipt from RaceID. And then, thanks to the Zapier connection, you also receive a personal race PM from me, welcoming them as well. 

My email says something like “You’re going to participate in this race on that date with this person. Two weeks before the race you’ll have a race PM in your inbox. There’s a lot of information on the race website and here’s the link to the Facebook group.” I find it smart to include links to social media etc, so you can get people engaged before the race. 

The system picks up all the data that the participant has filled out on RaceID, Zapier picks it up in turn, and sends it to my MailChimp account. With this data, and the functionality of Mailchimp, you can really personalize the emails. You know, the race, the distance, the time, the partner if it is a team race, the starting number and, yeah, everything. I also use this information to automatically personalize the information in the emails when I send out the race PM two weeks before the race as well, and really in any other communication! 

For example, I send out an (automatic) email a few days before the race, saying something like “Hi Fanny, your start number for this weekend is number 47, and here is the race PM and where you need to be at what time”. This saves me writing 20+ replies to questions that would surely otherwise have ended up in my inbox. It also saves me a queue build-up at the race registration, since everyone easily can access or already know their race number that they have to provide to get their start kit! 

So, thanks to my information preparation, when you arrive at my arena, you know where to go, you have your start number in your phone, in the race PM that you just received and everything is set up for you. No worries! 

This also means that I don’t need to do anything related to this part until two weeks before the race as the system is set up once, and after that it just works on its own, which is really, really nice for me because it saves me tons of time.

It sounds like you have a great system going, Nicholas. Do you have any other tips for organizers that want to work on their automation and save time? 

NR: Definitely have a look at what automations you can implement. It takes some time to set up and it takes time to learn it, but once you’ve done it, it’s just there forever and saves you so much time in the long run. 

It definitely also saves the participant a lot of pain and worry since they receive all the information. The stress of looking for information can be a hassle for a participant, not something you want to worry about when you are about to race. That is why I make sure, that the second they register, they have everything. So it’s worth investing some time in getting these connections to work and, you know, figuring everything out.

Then my main tip is: make sure the information makes sense by letting somebody, who’s not a race organizer, look through your registration process from their point of view. That way, you don’t miss things that may seem obvious to you, but need to be communicated. For example, what date the race is, or what time it starts. It is easier than you think to miss some pretty essential stuff. You often get blind to what you’re an expert on, so it is really good to have some input from someone else. 

Thank you for your time and for your tips, Nicholas and wish you great luck this season! 


Get in touch to set up your own automated race with RaceID, or if you are already a RaceID customer, see more details on how to set up a Zapier connection in this guide.