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Track the runners via e-mail

April 5, 2001


The Boston Marathon will debut new technology this year that lets people know via e-mail where a specific runner is. According to reports, runners will be able to register up to two e-mail addresses that will be sent updates on the runners' progress as they cross the checkpoints at the 10-kilometer, half-marathon, and 30-kilometer marks as well as the finish line.

In addition, representatives from Compaq will be along the course wearing shirts that say "Ask Me About Your Runner" and will be able to tell you the status of a specific runner via iPAQ handhelds. Race results will also still be available on the Internet, with updates from 11 checkpoints, searchable by name or bib number.

Read more about the marathon at and more about the technology at Yahoo!.


While I'm excited to see technology taking part in an event that is now in its 105th year, I find it fascinating that the official times for the winner are still determined by handheld stopwatches. I guess there's still no substitute for human accuracy. ;)

I'm surprised that Compaq isn't trying to sell a special "Marathon package" to runners' families and friends who might want to track them wirelessly as they watch the marathon. Speaking of which, I wonder what package Compaq representatives will actually be using. I assume that it will be an iPAQ with a wireless PC card that connects up to the 'Net.

This year we'll be able to receive e-mails with updates on a runner's progress and also check it out on the 'Net. I wonder what's being planned for next year? Perhaps we'll be able to login and watch via a runner-mounted webcam?

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