NYC Marathon Runners To See Cheers From Their Online Supporters
A high-tech method of motivating participants in this year's New York City Marathon will let anyone with a computer to cheer on runners from the side of the 26.2-mile course. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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Without any training or even standing up, anyone can get on the course and participate in this year's New York City marathon... in a way. Asics, one of the race's sponsors, is allowing people to send a message, video or text to specific runners that they will see as they pass giant screens along the route.
Message submitted at SupportYourMarathoner.com will be seen by racers in three spots along the course, because the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag in their bibs that track their time will also trigger the messages.
"You go there, click on 'Find A Runner,' just click on some of the finder fields, click on the runner you want to support. From there on, it'll ask you to provide a message," says Bill Logee of Asics. "The message can be one of three things. It could be a video message up to seven seconds long, could be a photo with text on there or could be plain and simple text. There's a timing mat, like any other timing mat on the course. The moment they hit it, it'll trigger that message."
With so many people taking part in this race, not all messages will play if a whole bunch of runners pass the spots at the same time. Due to technical limitations, only messages for 10 of those runners will play.
"That 11th person is going to be queued up first for the next mat. For instance, this happens at mile nine, at mile 13.1 for that 11th runner, their message will play first," says Logee.
This capability was actually launched for last year's marathon, with one major difference. Last year, if a runner passed the mile marker and did not look up at the board, the runner missed the message for good. This year, those messages will be saved at SupportYourMarathoner.com for runners to enjoy after the race.
Incidentally, as was the case last year too, that RFID tag will also allow people to track a runner or several runners throughout the race, either online or via the Mobile Spectator and Track My Runners apps. For more information, visit nycmarathon.org.