Social media is overtaking one of the world’s most exciting races, as mobile phones and social networks will play major roles in the upcoming New York City Marathon. For this year’s big event, the Mobile Spectator App has expanded, allowing fans to follow runners throughout the event that will be held on Sunday, November 6.
It is expected that nearly 100,000 people will download this app, created by the New York Road Runners, a health and athletic group in NYC, and MapMyRun, a staggering amount considering it is a one-time event, and an amount that is about twice as many as last year. The application will be available on iPads, iPhones, and the Android. While the free program allows users to follow up to five runners, for a price of $2.99, a customer can download premium content and follow up to 10 participants.
Runners can be tracked by searching either for their name, their team, or their bib number, with their locations showing up on the map throughout the race. One component of the app is called Friend Finder, and it simply allows for the tracking of mobile phones should runners be carrying them during the race.
Other parts of the app have expanded as well. It will show the countdown clocks for the races, as well as up-to-the-minute standings for each racing division. The app has also made a concerted effort to connect fans of the race with merchants and retailers in the area. Maps will show nearby entertainment and music, as well as places to buy coffee, food, or merchandise. By using the mobile app, discounts will be made available to these shops for the consumers.
In addition, video will be made accessible for users of the app, allowing them to watch live feeds as well as specific video clips of the race. Daily Cool Down is a collection of media that features behind-the-scenes footage, while New York Road Runners Live is a section that showcases stories and strategies of the best marathon runners.
Lastly, the app will help spectators get the most out of the race by making suggestions on where the best spots are to watch the event. There is a course guide helping out tourists and those new to the race, and the app will keep users up-to-date on weather and news.
GPS technology is not new, and the Mobile Spectator App is not the only way to follow runners during the race. Mobile phone users have many options already in the area of tracking, including Google. Still, the creators are hoping that users will be taken in by location-based marketing. Dunkin Donuts, Subway, and several others will have their names and specials appear during the event, titillating users and looking for their patronage.
Still, for just three dollars, a portion of which Road Runners will pay to Apple, the app is a useful tool if you are looking to immerse yourself in the race, without actually running in the race.