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My Athlinks adventure started in October of 2017 in a way I imagine isn’t that much different than that of others. Before I was talked into running an obstacle course race by my sister and her fiance I decided to do my research what I was getting myself into. I am one who relies very heavily on calendars, planning and organization. Without those things I am doomed to fail. The first thing I did after researching what type of obstacles I would need to prepare for was search for race results. Admittedly I was a novice when it came to keeping track of my own race results and past registrations so I didn’t know where to start. The only thing I could think to do was to reach out to someone I knew had run multiple Spartan races about how they did. When I finally got around to picking my friend’s brain about his past races it had been a while since his last Sprint distance so he wasn’t sure what his exact time was. Having used Athlinks previously to claim his results he suggested I go there and search for his name. I acted as thought I knew what Athlinks was so I headed to the site, created an account, searched for my friend’s account (which was easy to find), followed him and searched through his results. It was very easy to find his results.
It turns out a lot of people knew what Athlinks was and I was in the minority! I went down the rabbit hole of looking through my friends contacts, following them and looking at their results too. I’m not ashamed to say I spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon exploring the Athlinks website and all of the features it had to offer.
One if those features was Start Lists, which is my favorite feature. Once you decide on a race, whether you are registered or not, you can search for the even in the Athlinks database and add yourself to the start list. Adding yourself to the start list allows you to be visible to others, whether friends or rivals, when they are considering adding themselves to the start list of a race as well.
The portion of this feature that I enjoy most about this is being able to add goal times for yourself for each race. Athlinks will also track your PR for each race distance that you have claimed results for (we’ll touch on that later) and your average time at that distance as well. If you happen to be running a race with people that you follow then you can see this same data for them as well. How cool is that?? Not only can you see what you and others end up achieving for the race you’ve just tun but Athlinks has the results for prior years that this even was held. On your own profile page every race that you have added yourself to will appear under upcoming events. Note: this isn’t linked to any race registration. You can add yourself to or remove yourself from races at your own discretion.
Lets get back to claiming results. What is that and how do you do it? Most events nowadays upload your race results very quickly to either their own website or Athlinks (or both) almost immediately after a race. As as example, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Dallas on February 3rd of this year and within about 6 hours of the race I searched for my results on Athlinks by entering my full name in the search field at the top of the page. My results from the race appear on the page below instantaneously and all I had to do was click on the ‘Claim’ button to the right of the race results. As long as you are signed in these results now live on your profile.
Claiming results allows you to bypass having to go to the results portion of the website of every race you have run in the past and navigating through hundreds (sometimes thousands) of names. Some time after you’ve claimed results you’ll receive an email confirmation from Athlinks giving you the details of what race you’ve claimed the results for. Athlinks also provides you with a link back to your profile along with encouragement to share your results. If you are proud of yourself (and you always should be!) you should share these results with your friends on Facebook.
Remember the tracking PR’s that I mentioned earlier? Well, Athlinks will notify you via email that a result you have claimed has resulted in a PR. Another very cool feature. Athlinks saves you the time of having to go through all of your won results. I got this the day after I received my results claimed email.
If you’re like me then you’ve already discovered the joys of being part of a community as open and supportive as the running community. How do they factor into anything I’ve talked about? Easy! The search function on the Athlinks website allows you to search for fellow athletes by name. Much like the unclaimed results search function, athletes will appear on the page below the search box as you type in the name and you can add them as someone you follow from that page. When someone goes through this process and adds you then you get an email alert from Athlinks that you have a new friend! Once I found all of my running friends I started getting ‘new friends’ emails with a lot of names in them and it was quite exciting!
On your own profile page just underneath where your own upcoming races live you can see what your friends are up to. I have found that this helps you wish them luck when they are running a race because Athlinks shows races friends are running in chronological order.
My favorite part of the running community is the support and encouragement that can be found around every corner. Athlinks celebrates this with this feature by reminding you that your friends have been working toward something and they could use some encouragement too! I love giving back to my running friends in this way because I know how far a few words can go when someone needs to hear them. Please feel free to add me (Logan Heinsch) on Athlinks and find out just how awesome this platform really is. I look forward to cheering you on in the future!