WOBURN, MA — The Verizon Wireless Athlete Alert Program will again allow official runners to register to send friends and family automatic wireless updates of their progress along the Boston Marathon® course on race day, April 18th. Messages are automatically delivered to any wireless device capable of receiving text messages, providing real-time posting of runner position and time at each marker along the marathon route including the 10K, ½ Marathon, 30K and the finish line. Information is gathered through a computer chip timing device called 'ChampionChip' that is worn on a runner's shoe from start to finish. The ChampionChip, which is approximately one-inch in diameter and virtually weightless, is pre-programmed with the bib number of the individual runner wearing it to accurately record time as the wearer passes over pre-assigned markers.
This week, Runners can begin signing up recipients online on the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) web site: www.bostonmarathon.org. They can also sign up at Verizon Wireless' booth at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, being held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on April 16-17, 2005 from 9 a.m. 6 p.m.
This is the second year Verizon Wireless has sponsored the world's oldest and most prestigious annual marathon. The carrier with the nation's most reliable wireless network has signed on as the official telecommunications sponsor of the Marathon, which is organized annually by the BAA.
Test Men Prepare for the 'Boston Marathon'To ensure Verizon Wireless' network is prepared for increased usage during the Marathon, the company's true life 'test men' will test network coverage and data transmission speeds along the marathon race route and throughout Boston and metro west. Verizon Wireless was the first carrier to employ mobile network test engineers.
These individuals travel more than 100,000 miles of the most frequently traveled roads, boulevards and highways every month in vehicles equipped with computers that automatically make more than 300,000 call attempts monthly on Verizon Wireless' network and the networks of six other carriers. Local media interested in scheduling a pre-race 'drive test' should contact Wendy Bulawa at 617.851.3426.
Push-To-Talk and High Speed Wireless Serve 'Marathon' PurposeVerizon Wireless will again outfit more than 350 Boston Marathon volunteers with Push to Talk phones, extra batteries, and accessories, delivering 'walkie-talkie' style connections to other Verizon Wireless Push to Talk users with a simple push of a button. This feature will allow volunteers from health services, race administration, timekeepers and others to stay in touch about real-time events occurring along the race route. Verizon Wireless is also providing high-speed wireless data air cards, giving access to the Internet via the company's high-speed BroadbandAccess Network. Marathon officials use the aircards in laptops and handheld computers to keep track of runners through the Verizon Wireless Athlete Alert Program and to download and share other information during the race.
Verizon Wireless' BroadbandAccess data network is the fastest, widely available broadband wireless data network in the nation, offering customers average speeds between 400 kbps - 700 kbps. BroadBandAccess provides customers with Internet access, access to corporate intranets and traditional email functionality using a laptop or personal digital assistants.
On race day, the company's mobile "V-Team" will provide free wireless phone service for runners, visitors and race fans, so that everyone stays connected for security, safety and celebratory reasons.
About Boston Athletic AssociationEstablished in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association has been the organizer of the Boston Marathon since the race's inception in 1897. More than 20,000 official participants will run in the 108th Boston Marathon on Patriots' Day, a holiday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The B.A.A. is a non-profit organization committed to promoting fitness through athletics throughout the year.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.####