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Racelocal Tracking App Testers Needed!

Hey Racelocal Runners,

It has been a year since the last update. Over the course of the last month I’ve worked through the UI bugs, got the tool chain set up and pushed development over the finish line for MVP. All races for the 2018 season have been loaded, note the mileage may not be correct just yet.

Please feel free to give the application a test: and if you find something broken or not working, message me on facebook with your issue and I’ll look into it.

From here I’ll be working on the application to track runners points and swag unlocks to make the behind the scenes efforts easier shipping swag etc.

After that, we’ll move on to develop a leaderboard to see everyone’s progress, and button up the app so the 2019 season can use it.

I have some pretty sick visions of integrating with fitness trackers and pulling in heartbeat data, mileage and things along those lines, but lets get the necessary stuff done first 🙂



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Dev Blog 4/23 – Almost ready to rock! Come test it~!

Hi Racers! Progress has been slow the last few weeks with the passing of my grandfather amongst other life events. But…been back on the trail this weekend. We’re getting really close! It would be awesome to have you log in and check out the application, try logging some laps, and see if you encounter any issues! I’ve added all the races up to date.

NOTE: LOGGING YOUR LAPS is on the app is not “official” just yet, I’ll likely do many wipes of the database during the rest of development.

Feel free to log in with facebook, or register with an email and check it out. If you are registering with an email, you will need to verify your email address, so check your inbox, and log-out then log back in again.

There are a few annoying bugs that you *may* experience. If you get stuck on a screen where nothing displays, simply navigate back to the app, or refresh the page.

The Fit Challenge St. Paddy’s day run was a multiple lap trail race, this breaks my code at the moment, but I’ll have a fix soon.

Also, feel free to click the “Having Issues?” link, which will open up your email to send an email to me, list your issue there. Any help at this point is muchly appreciated!

I currently do not have a “fix” your logged laps feature just yet. We’re still giving this some thought.

The next few weeks I will be working behind the scenes building Paul Jones an Adminstrator’s portal so he can track who’s run what and if he has shipped swag!



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dev Blog: 3/20, Almost there for beta!!


It was great seeing some of you at the Fit Challenge Trail race this past weekend! Running four laps certainly told me that I am out of shape and have work to do!!!

I had a huge blocking issue the last few weeks with the front end routes failing to display when a user hits the refresh button on their browser. I ended up re-writing the routing on the front end and the back end and now it is functioning as intended! I’m getting very close to being able to launch a first version.

From the last post, I also completed the following:

1.) adding a race completed to a runner’s profile, now works, currently a runner cannot log an event more than once
2.) calculating points based on laps ran for multilane races, math is coded, proper number of points are calculated
3.) calculating a total runner’s points, doing a simple update to the total points every time a runner logs a race
4.) opening the address link in google maps so you can get navigation to the race, address will redirect to google maps with the destination, you can click directions in google maps to get directions (next year i’m hoping to use native phone functionality and open navigation directly)
5.) Updated the styling and fonts, landed on a final version for how the app will look, spent some time diving into typography and picking two fonts that work well together, made the UI cleaner, simplified the Races page.

This week I am working on the following:

1.) building in an update feature in case runners make a mistake logging laps and need to fix it
2.) Displaying the races logged:
There are three buttons at the top:
Log Out: removes your locally stored profile so you can pass your phone around to your friends and they can log their laps
My Log: will display all the races you have completed and logged for the season
Races: will display all of the available races this season, and allow you to log your laps or the event, which will store it in your profile and display it in the My Log tab.
3.) Profile Button, top right: I will be adding statistics to the runners profile, such as “total miles ran”, “total points”, “number of races”
4.) non-facebook log ins: I need to validate users email addresses

Once I complete these tasks I believe we’ll be ready to do a beta launch pending a meeting with Mr. Paul Jones.

Thanks All!

-Ninja Ben

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dev blog: Updates!

Howdy Runners! I’m still heavily under way developing the application, the two weeks I’ve logged about 25 hours worth of development time. Building applications is fun, AND a ton of work!

I spent the last few weeks working on:

-the logging routes
-calculating points for races.
-fetch the list of races
-store a Spahtens completed races
-UI design and clean up
-Application build and deployment to Heroku
-testing on actual smart phones

Currently I’m about 90% complete with the beta version and hopefully we will be up and running by this weekend!!

This week I’m focused on a few things:

1.) adding a race completed to a runner’s profile
2.) calculating points based on laps ran for multilap races
3.) calculating a total runner’s points
4.) building in an update feature in case runners make a mistake logging laps and need to fix it
5.) opening the address link in google maps so you can get navigation to the race

I do have the application deployed online and you can currently navigate to it, if you’d like to join a small team of testers, please email me directly at I’d love to have five or so people to routinely jump in and test some features.

That’s all for now!!

Here are a couple of screen grabs:

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dev blog: Progress Report!!


This is a mobile first application which I am building using the MEAN stack (for those of you out there who are developers). I’d love to hear from you runners any feedback you have!! If you got ideas, feel free to share those as well!! Together we can make this a fantastic application…

Currently Implemented:

Database up and running.
Facebook integration via Auth0 working, runners can log in with their facebook accounts
Runners can also log in with an email/password if they don’t want to use facebook
Logging in with facebook fetches your picture (for the future leaderboard 😉 )
Angular2 UI development under way
Back end server started with initial routes to fetch and create a Spahten’s profile

This week:

Working on authenticating the client with the server (complete 2/20)
Continuing to build out additional back end routes to do things such as:
-fetch the list of races
-store a Spahtens completed races
-calculating a Spahtens point total
UI design and clean up

Here are a few screenshots:

I’ll be posting updates here weekly, stay tuned!

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dev blog: where we are heading!

We’re going to start small…

The Alpha MVP: This is a “mobile first” application, meaning it works best on smart phones. We want this because Runners should be able to log their laps right at the race venue on the most ubiquitous device of all: a smart phone. That means no more waiting until you get in front of a laptop to log your laps!

The application has an integration with Facebook, so runners will log in with their Facebook account. Runners will want to be sure to check the “allow” button when they do this the first time, this allows us to link to the Runner’s Facebook picture. From there Runners will be able to click on your profile, update some information (street address and zip) so we can mail them swag. They’ll also be able to view the available races, submit the number of laps they’ve run, and we’ll calculate and keep track of their points behind the scenes. Runners will be able to view their points on the dashboard. Runners will be able to view the race venues, get information about them (date, time, location) and will be able to click the location and have it open up directions on their phone.

Throughout this year, we’ll be updating with incremental releases. We have tons of ideas…such as:

-a leaderboard with everyone listed, and their picture so Runners can know who their fellow #racelocal runner is (and who they need to beat if they are competing…)!

-include a few swag feature pages, so Runners can view the unlock able swag.

-a feature for parents to log laps for children.

-detect Runners location (with their opt-in permission of course, that will be a check box in their profile) when Runners open the app to bring them right to the race venue page to log their laps.

-use swag like gamification where Runners earn swag badges for earning so many points.

-allow Runners to view other Runners profiles to see what badges they’ve unlocked, what races they’ve run and their points.

-a “point builder” application where Runners can plan the races they need to run to earn X amount of points (cause who doesn’t like planning to win??)

-integrations with the various race time tracking providers to bring in the actual results of a Runner’s race (yeah….we can do that)

-integrations with the various GPS watch software to bring in maps and routes run (yeah…we can do that too)

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dev blog: Introduction!

Google Spreadsheet what?!

There have been moans of pain about entering in your races for the #racelocal events the last few years…and mostly groans and moans of pain from Paul Jones. If you think entering the races has been difficult for you, tracking and tracing of runners, what they’ve accomplished, what gear they’ve earned, and how many points they’ve won is painstakingly difficult.

My name is Ben Norman, you may have seen me at races here and there, I typically wear Team Mike McNiel drill shirt with “Ninja Ben” on the back. My favorite color is orange. I am a software developer and technology educator in an industry called the “internet of things” or “IoT”. If you’re not familiar with the “internet of things” take a look around and look at all of the devices and gadgets connected to the internet. Those devices have software running on them, they have a pathway to the internet so they can transmit data, and there typically is some application, either mobile or web (or both) that displays the data. An example of an “IoT” device is a Nest Thermostat. You won’t see me too much this year because I have my eyes on only a few races, and instead I’ll be devoting my time to building out a ridiculously crazy application that makes life for everyone in #racelocal easy.

The application development started back in October, I got a really good understanding from Paul what was needed for him, and for our racers. Thought long and hard about the user experience, and I’ve been working behind the scenes the last few months. This week, we’re very close to launching our MVP (minimal viable product). I’ll be posting updates about the application going forward under this category. The posts will include release notes and updates. Feel free to comment and leave feedback, as well as, post any software bugs you encounter along the way.

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Qualify for OCRWC at #racelocal

If you look at the list of races we offer in our #racelocal Grand Prix – you’ll find the best events New England has to offer.
If you look at the list of qualifiers for OCR World Championships – you’ll find the best events in the world.

There’s overlap there – don’t think we didn’t notice.

So we worked with OCR World Championships to figure out how we take advantage of this, and give you a chance to qualify for Age Group categories at OCR World Championships.

Here’s how it will work:

Participate in Blizzard Blast in January, Polar Bear Challenge in February, FIT Challenge in March and Bone Frog in May. All are OCR World Championship qualifiers, and stalwarts of the #racelocal calendar.

After the final race, we will collect and count your points across these events – and the top 5 Male and Female athletes will qualify for Age Group at OCR World Championships in Canada in October!

Keep in mind – each of these events has competitive waves, which pay out at +20% bonus points for #racelocal. All offer multiple milage options, from multi-laps to Tier One – and your #racelocal points pay out based on your mileage completed. The more you run, the harder you compete, the better your chances!

Small print:
OCRWC qualification is based on your points after Bone Frog Challenge in May, and points logged after that are not retroactively going to count.

Naturally, you need to be registered in the #racelocal Grand Prix to take advantage of this …



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Welcoming more races to #racelocal …

You already know that registration is open for #racelocal in 2017 right?

When we last spoke, we had maybe 8 or 9 events on the schedule – but lets catch up, shall we?

We’ve more than doubled that. We are currently at 18 races.


Today alone, we added three more events – BoldrDash at Rocky Point in September, and both Tuff Scrambler events, May and October.

Are you registered yet? Blizzard Blast is just over a week away, and we’re not done with the surprises yet …

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#racelocal 2016

13227554_1051730974915248_7846188274938240777_oand like that, we’re done!

I just closed out #racelocal 2016.

For those who maybe new to our community, or have seen this hashtag flying around – you may be wondering what #racelocal is?

Four years ago, we made the decision to support locally owned and operated OCR businesses in a tangible and effective way, and started #racelocal. When you participate in #racelocal, you are putting your money into the New England owned and operated obstacle course race scene. We’re giving you awards and swag and medals for racing small, local businesses. As a concept, it’s simple – as a program it’s been very successful.

We ran up mountains, we ran in onsies, we ran around for multiple laps, we did relays, we were awarded medals by Navy Seals, we ate the worlds greatest pizza – we ran in 5 of our 6 states (sorry Maine!)

It’s always interesting to go through the numbers a little. What did 2016 actually look like?

First, we can’t go further without thanking the races and brands that hosted us.

13 brands entered 28 races.

13116286_1044608058960873_4826819008624577923_oSmithfest Events – Blizzard Blast, Runzilla and Panic in the Dark
FIT Challenge – Spring and Fall
Bone Frog Challenge – Spring and Fall
Shale Hill – Polar Bear Challenge, Jills Folly, 24 Hours of Shale Hell, Tri-Obstaclon, Relay, Halloween
Endurance Society – Frigus, Infinitus,
BoldrDash – Winter Dash, In the Mud, Fall,
Gauntlet Races – Run the Gauntlet, Rock the Gauntlet
Wason Pond Pounder
Heart Challenge,
Samurai Sprint
Wicked Mud Run
Team Mike McNeil virtual race series – 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon

Next, thank you to the athletes. You guys. Without you, it’s nothing.

13483192_1029636340476829_7597706453345778681_oThis was our first year including kids – so before we start, lets give a shout out to every kid out there running miles and laps and giving the grown ups something to chase. Big shout out to Callan Grant who covered over 100 miles all by himself, age 9! He will be earning the only kids size Century Club jacket in existence 🙂

So lets look at that – who made it to the top ten of the Century Club? (defined as logging over 100 miles)


Next up – lets look at race finishes? How many races did the top ten athletes complete to get these miles?


and this is interesting, because the top spots aren’t the same. Why? Because multi-laps. Races that support multiple laps get more people, and athletes that run multiple laps gain more miles.

14708011_1169949499760061_8462276688719680486_oSome quick, final stats:

1,000 entries were logged.
8,084.5 miles were ran.

Top 3 races, by miles earned were


And 2017 is fast approaching.

15181180_1202175609870783_4996041140091092098_nIf you are not already, please join our #racelocal Athletes group – it’ll give you the quickest and easiest way to get new information on the #racelocal program. The following events have already committed to 2017, so get registered and support local businesses!

Blizzard Blast
Shale Hill – Polar Bear Challenge
FIT Challenge – spring
Wason Pond Pounder
BoldrDash – WinterDash 2017
Bonefrog -spring

See you all on the race course!