Do you, too, have one of those overachieving friends who insists on running the New York City marathon, and whom you feel indebted to go cheer on while covertly sneaking into the nearby bar for sustaining beers as you wait for his or her approach? Well, this year you don’t have to come up with an excuse for why you were mysteriously absent! You can thank technology for that.
The marathon is offering a number of high-tech tracking methods:
• There’s an online “Athlete Tracker,” by which you can track any runner on the course, free of charge, by entering their name, bib number, or country at ingnycmarathon.org on race day (that’s this Sunday).
• You can also get instant text messages sent to your cell phone via “Athlete Alert,” for $2.99, allowing you to track up to three runners. (All the runners have chips in their shoelaces allowing the mile mats to track them.)
• And there’s a $3.99 iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch App via itunes that will let you download videos, the live broadcast, and photos, as well as see where up to five runners are on the course at a time.
“We’ve really empowered everybody and gone after the spectators that are out there. We want them to participate in this. They are just as important as the people that are running,” said NYRR Administration and Operations Vice President Ken Winell.
But seriously: Don’t be creepy. These measures are great for finding your friends in a crowd so you can pass them that banana, but no stalking, please. Even if Bobby Flay, Al Roker, Jared “The Subway Guy” Fogle, and a Chilean miner are running this year.
We’ve called the New York City marathon folks to see what security measures they have in place to prevent “unwanted advances,” and will update when we hear back.