serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews
 

Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Running with multiple iPhones: Citizen Broadcasting

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

marthon-running-with-gearI came across this article about Joseph Tame, 33, who completed an “online” marathon in Tokyo last week.  He ran the race in 6 hours and 28 minutes.  The first thing I thought was, “He could have probably run the race in 6 hours without all that junk strapped to him.”  He had 4 iPhones in his contraption:  1 pointed at his face, 1 at the pavement in front of him, another using the GPS feature so people could track his progress, and a 4th for typing out tweets.  Oh, and there was an iPad on his back displaying his tweets, seems only natural.  He said, “It’s citizen broadcasting.  Can we take live sports events coverage to the next level?”  He had 3,000 people following his progress at one point so apparently there is some demand for this type of media, but were people really watching his race or his gimmick.  Joseph was also wearing bright pink plastic toy windmills on his helmet and pink bunnies on his sneakers which had nothing to with the run or his broadcast.  So I began to think, is there a market for this?  Do people want to watch races?  Are competitive runners willing to strap on gadgets so we can watch what they see and feel during a race?  We know Joseph said he won’t do it again, that 10 pounds of gear was too much for him!  Good idea dropping the equipment, maybe you can finish under the 6 hour mark next time.

I recently met a very good ultra runner who takes video of his races and shares them online.  He said, “I usually finish in the top 10 but I’m never going to win a race, those guys are on a whole other level, so I figure it doesn’t hurt me too much if I stop and pull out the camera for a bit.”  I see his point, I’m in the same boat, I’m never going to win a race, but I still want to try to get 2nd or 3rd.  If I stopped to pull my camera out it would really slow down my efforts.  If I’m unwilling to do it I assume most competitive runners feel the same way.  In addition, do people really like to watch a video of a race?  I assume there is a reason why there are as many races televised as bowling tournaments.  I know a lot of runners like to share their race recaps on blogs and other places online, but do other people like to read them who don’t have any relation to the runner?  Dailymile.com has been able to bridge this gap by combining “friendships” with running feats, but does anyone ever search for a race recap?  My experience has been no; that’s why I stopped writing race recaps. However, I have found that people want information about races, it’s just usually before buying a race entry, but not after the race.  Oh yeah, and they don’t care that I got tired at mile 5, so I ate one gel, then I stepped in some mud…

I mean, I’m a 21st century digital boy, but I hate trail running with any unnecessary gear strapped on.  I don’t trail run with an iPod, iPhone, shirt ( if temp above freezing), or even water belt (if under 20 mile run).  However, I do run with a GPS watch so I can make up my path as I run.  I guess that’s the point, I trail run to be free to roam where I want to and get away from my digital life.  I run to clear my mind and don’t want an iPod blasting noise into my head.  I trail run to get away from my cell phone.  My voicemail message actually used to say, “I’m probably on a run right now…” because 90% of the time that was true.  Running was the only time I was away from it!  Trail Running is about connecting with nature and the enviroment and I find it difficult to do so if I’m connected to anything else at the time.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like tweeting while running!

Overall, I would watch elite runners if they were to broadcast themselves running a race, but I understand why they wouldn’t want to strap a camera to their head.  I definitely have no interest in watching someone trudge along at a 14 minute mile pace for 26.2 miles and think many other runners would agree with me.  Maybe we could get some cameras mounted in trees or something, until then I guess we’ll just have to watch more bowling…