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1081 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Nov 2, 2010 9:22 AM by lenzlaw
Jess D Rookie 1 posts since
Sep 26, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 2, 2010 7:53 AM

Runner tracking - how do they track runners who aren't carrying phones?

First of all, great race everyone!  Congratulations to runners and thanks to the Marines for putting on another great event.


So, I know that runner tracking systems, like the text message system from previous years and used in other races, would send out an alert each time the runner crossed a timing mat.  And I know that this year at MCM it was possible (well, theoretically anyway) to track your runner with a smartphone app via GPS, but my understanding was that was only possible if the runner was also carrying a phone in the race, and presumably had signed up for tracking.  But, my boyfriend tracked me on the MCM website and was able to come see me at various points, and I wasn't carrying a smart phone.


So my question is, how did they do the live tracking?


At first we figured the system was just taking your times at each mat and kind of extrapolating your pace based on those checkpoints.  But the accuracy when we tried the "MapTrack Postrace Simulation" ( seems to argue against that method... e.g. the dots vary speeds at different points between timing mats, like speeding up on certain segments of the course.


Apologies if the answer is either 1) really obvious or 2) already found in another post that I couldn't find.  Just hoping somebody could give us some insight!


  • KarlD_Navy84 Legend 879 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008

    Not sure what the simulation actually looked like, but it could be that system is set up to use the time at a given mat to project a pace for that leg and then adjust it when subsequent times are registered on your chip as you hit the other mats throughout the race. For example, if your ran the first 5K in 29:27, it figured you at a 9:30 pace and showed that on the simulation. And if you hit the next mat at the 10K mark with a time of 1:00:27 (31 minutes for that 5K) your pace on the simulation was adjusted to a 10:00 pace for that segment to show a slower pace on that leg.  At the 15K mark, you register a time of 1:28:30. That's just over a 9:00 pace, so from 10K to 15K the dot would move faster.  And so on and so on.  That's just my theory. The other answer is that they could just randomly speed up the dot and slow it down just to make it look cool.  . Talk to you soon.


  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    I wouldn't count too much on the MapTrack.  It's one computer graphic (yellow dot) trying to synch with another (hours bar) plus hit the times at 5K, 10K, etc.  When I stopped mine a hair past 5 miles, it showed me at about 65 minutes, and listed my 10K time already, which was 65:07.  At 5 miles I was more like 51 or 52 minutes.  It's interesting but not super accurate.


    At any rate, they have to be taking your times at the various mats and extrapolating your future times based on your pace to that point.


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