Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: Marathon messaging

I’m not a fan of text messaging although I know it’s the rage among recent graduates and younger. It takes me too much time to peck out the letters. But text messaging took on new meaning for me this past weekend.

My son participated in the New York City Marathon and a chip on his shoe sent a text message to my cell phone – and also to my email -- every time he ran five kilometers of the route. The last message told me he had passed the finish line.

I went to New York to stand in the six-deep crowds that lined the 26 miles of the five boroughs. The beep of my cell phone let me know his progress and location along the route that started across the Verrazano bridge on Staten Island.

GPS provided runners with detailed metrics, which they could download after the race to analyze time, distance, speed and other variables.

The technology of the race amazed me. But also, the city’s management of the event was something to behold. The city had gone to amazing preparation for the 38,000 runners and 2 million spectators.

With policemen at nearly every corner of the route, there was no concern about security. And medical help was everywhere. After the race, the crowds easily dispersed and street cleaning began

I wondered if anyone has thought about transferring some of the technology and organization of the NYC Marathon to emergency preparation and evacuation.

Posted by Judith Welles on Nov 05, 2007 at 12:13 PM


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