Guest Blog by Gary McNamee of Outside Interactive
With the pervasiveness of the internet in each of our daily lives, the world has truly gotten smaller. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow us to interact and communicate whether around the block or half way around the world. While this will always be one of the mainstays of the internet, physical interaction promises to be the next iteration as the internet evolves. The ability to exercise and even compete with family and friends across the globe is a quantum leap in the effort to make indoor exercise more engaging and less boring. One major catalyst in making this happen will be bringing live marquee races into the virtual world for training and paid remote participation that “counts” in the eyes of the race. While the idea of a virtual race is nothing new, technology advances now allow athletes and entrants to actually see race courses right on their iPad or Android tablet, which will adjust to the exact pace of the runner, allowing entrants and would be entrants to see and learn a course ahead of time, preview and train on a course prior to race day, or even compete remotely if deployed or otherwise “geographically challenged” in this whole new paid category. This technology would prove especially beneficial for races which sell out quickly, offering unlimited reach for global participation. Charities now have a whole new way to raise funds on a worldwide scale. Themed races and new races will also be able to show the electricity and excitement of their event. In addition, race sponsors could now have a global “5 or 10K Commercial” with in video paid advertising measurable by download, view time and region.
And it’s happening now. Take this example from USA TODAY of the Digital New Balance Falmouth Road Race held on Cape Cod last August as can be seen Here
And in the not too distant future, “smart” treadmills will also communicate with tablets via Bluetooth, allowing for incline control to match hills and terrain found on the virtual course, allowing for remote participation in your event in homes and clubs around the world. Perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands of entrants may be added to your roster of live participants for a global participatory event without the addition of one more orange race cone (or Porta Potty !) The future is here. Is your race ready?
Gary McNamee is the founder and president of Outside Interactive, the developers of Virtual Runner, a software app that works in conjunction with high definition interactive videos, developed in partnership with endurance events. Working with many of the most famous and largest races in the US, Outside Interactive’s goal is to get people moving by connecting them with live races and likeminded people promoting a healthy lifestyle. For more information and previews of current race partners, please visit www.OutsideInteractive.com