October 23, 2006 at 4:39 pm #5674
My computer was stolen! And at a road race too!
I use a laptop at both my office and home. It makes life simpler to use one system to avoid keeping two systems up to date.
Sunday my track club was managing the Long Island USAT&F 8K championship race. To help my club manage races more effectivly I developed software to process registrations, timing and results.
The race had about 200 runners turn out; including a world ranked (masters) women hoping to set a new record for the 65-69 age group (Mary Louise Michhleson; she holds several american or world records in other age groups). Because of the record attempt we used redundant systems to ensure accuracy.
Lucky thing we did that!
After entering the data for the 'day of the race' registrations I had 'down-time' of about 15 minutes before the race would start. I saw one of my club members struggling to mix a 10 gallon container of lemon-aid for the finish area refreshment tables. I walked over, perhaps 15 feet, and helped her lift and shake the container and place it on the table.
I turned back and my laptop was GONE!
The laptop has limited value; in fact I intended to replace it in December and pass it on to my older daughter. But it contained both my business and personal life. (including extensive financial data). I spent all day yesterday and most of today requesting account be frozen and/or shifted to new ones; freezing my credit records and ordering a replacement laptop.
Oh, regarding the race; they processed the race manually and I was told today that everything went well (the runners were told of the theft and accepted the fact that we would have to produce the results manualy). I was too upset to stick around so don't know if any records were broken.
It seems that people are the same everywhere; a runner can be as much a thief as the next guy.
I will continue to work races (we manage or sponsor 6-9 races year). In the future the club will have more eyes on my computer. I'm still a little bit in a state of shock but refuse to let the actions of one low-life change the way I go about life.
For the next several days I will have limited access to the internet. Be back soon!
October 23, 2006 at 5:43 pm #21870
Randy, that really sucks! Fortunately in some ways but unfortunately in this way, runners as with any other group of people come from a wide spectrum of people.
I'm sure you're already forming your list of needs for the new computer since you were near buying one anyway but you may want to look into ones with good security technology like the Toshiba laptops with the fingerprint scanners. Extra security can be an inconvenience in our everyday life but that inconvenience can be well worth it during times like this.
Personally, if I have my laptop or any other valuable piece of electronics like my digital camera at any public event, it never leaves my hands unless it's under lock and key. It may seem inconsiderate when someone like your friend needs help but it's too easy for a person to walk off with a valuable piece of equipment.
I hope the rest of the race went well and I hope the guilty individual, runner or otherwise, is caught. It's a real shame when a volunteer, someone we need much more of, get taken advantage of simply due to trying to help out. It's good to hear that you're not going to let this discourage you from helping out in the future.
October 23, 2006 at 6:08 pm #21871
I usually have help so the laptop is always under control of a club member or myself. Several of the club volunteers who worked the registration desks wanted to run the race (there 'job' is done before the race starts so many of them race).
When they left for the start line the two who would have helped me process the timing and generate the results went to help breakdown tables and setup for the post-race awards. In 5 minutes they would have been back at my table.
Seeing the lady struggle with the heavy igloo-thing was too hard to ignore (it was only 15 feet away) even though I knew better. I had a momentary lapse of judgement and paid the price.
In any event I will continue to help out at races. I gain from having volunteers work the races I run; its only right to help out when I can.
Plus, any funds the club generates with race management activities (we are a non-profit organization) go to help local high school track/XC teams (or to college scholorships for high school seniors).
On the bright side by leaving the race early I managed to see my 8 year old daughter compete in her first gymnastics competition (which she won in spite of being the youngest competitor). If I had stayed to process timing and results I would have missed that (and Ii felt very guilty about that leading up to the race).
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