October 21, 1998WASHINGTON, D.C.
For the first time, those following the sell-out
October 25th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., can track the
progress of an individual or all 16,000 runners while the race is in progress,
thanks to a dime-sized computer chip, Bell Atlantic Mobile's AirBridge®
wireless data network, and the Internet.
Runners will wear a computer chip threaded into their shoe laces which
will track their time and place in the field as they run the 26.2 mile
race. When runners cross each of five timing stations, a sensor in the
chip will register their precise time. This data will be downloaded into
the Marine Corps Marathon's database via laptop computers equipped with
Bell Atlantic Mobile wireless modems. This information will then be sent
via Bell Atlantic wireless data network to the Marine Corps Marathon's
Journalists, family members and others interested in knowing race results
can log onto www.marinemarathon.com to get timely updates as they happen.
"This is a first," said Marine Corps Marathon Marketing Director David
Watt. "No other race is meshing the computer chip, the laptop computer,
the wireless network and the Internet to keep the world informed about
a race as it happens. The cellular network and the Internet have forever
changed the way people can follow the Marine Corps Marathon.
"This is a very creative use of advanced and converging technologies,"
said Gary Schulman, president of Bell Atlantic Mobile in the Washington/Baltimore
region. "We're really proud to support the marathon with the tremendous
power of our wireless data technology. There's really no limit to the
kind of information that can be instantly sent and received, anytime,
anywhere. The only limitation is the imagination."
The Internet has been a powerful factor in another aspect of the Marathon.
In only the second year in which racers could register online, a full
40 percent of the field logged on and registered over the Internet. Consequently,
the race sold out sooner than ever: June 17, beating last year's record
of August 27.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in
the East, covering 112,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail
outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based
in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 5.7 million customers and
7,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary,
in the Southwest. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent is one of the world's
largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in
25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific
Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.