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New Technology Debuts in Marathon

April 4, 2001

BOSTON (AP) _ Boston Marathon fans will be able to follow their friends and relatives running the race through a new technology that will automatically send out updates by e-mail.

Runners can register up to two e-mail addresses to receive the updates, which would be sent when they cross the checkpoints at the 10-kilometer, half-marathon and 30K marks and the finish line.

``It used to be a chalk mark in the road, gun goes off, grab a bowl of beef stew and go home,″ race director Dave McGillivray said. ``It’s not just moving road cones any more.″

During a demonstration with a runner Wednesday, the update took about a minute to arrive on a web-enabled cellphone and a handheld personal digital assistant. Marathon organizers say they expect the data to be transmitted within five minutes on race day, April 16.

Representatives from Compaq, wearing shirts that say, ``Ask Me About Your Runner,″ also will be along the 26.2-mile course with iPAQ handhelds to help fans find their friends and relieve the crush at the information kiosks. Friends also will be able to know if their runner entered the medical tent.

Race results again be will available over the Internet and the Boston Athletic Association Web site. Updates from 11 checkpoints will be available, searchable by name or bib number.

The Marathon has used shoelace-mounted transponder chips to track runners since 1995, when the system was tested on the wheelchair race. Official times for the winner still are determined by handheld stopwatches.


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