Tracking Marine Corps Marathon Runners

24 Oct

I’m looking forward to cheering on one of my old college teammates this weekend as she runs in her very first marathon: the Marine Corps Marathon! With 30,000 runners, I’m a little anxious about being able to actually find her in the crowd, so I’ve been researching different ways to track Marine Corps Marathon runners.

Runner Broadcast Service / Track a Runner [FREE]
Good for: Runners and Spectators

This free service lets you broadcast your times or track your runner friends via Facebook, Twitter, text message or email. Your 10K, 20K, 30K, 40K and finish-line splits will be sent, though it’s not clear whether it will also provide your pace or estimated finish time (like the Chicago Marathon’s Runner Tracking did).

Although the MCM site advertises RBS and TaR as separate services, they both do exactly the same thing; it just depends whose Facebook/Twitter account you want to use to post the updates. If you’re running in the race, register and search by your last name. Once you’ve found yourself in the list, you can quickly link your social media accounts and add the cell phone numbers and email addresses of your friends and family who want to track you.

A fair warning: the registration process isn’t very intuitive. When I entered my phone number and clicked “Track,” the screen didn’t change to confirm that a text message had been sent. Once I received and responded to the text a few minutes later, the screen then changed to a “success” page. Also, I couldn’t find a way to log back into my account and review which runners I had signed up to track.

MCM Locator [FREE]
Good for: Spectators

Another free service! They describe it as an “app” but really this is just a website formatted for your phone. This is really a glorified course map, with locations of mile markers, water/aid/food stops, transportation and important MCM spots (bag drop-off/pick-up, finish line festival, etc.).

The nice thing about accessing this on your phone rather than the old-fashioned paper way is that you can search for locations nearest your location and open a detailed map and directions. The mile marker section is slightly more robust in that it will give you the mile marker locations along with the estimated time your runner should be coming by it. Unfortunately you can only adjust the pace by one minute intervals (i.e. 7 minute pace, 8 minute pace, 9 minute…), but it’s better than nothing!

Neither tracking method seems perfect, but I think the combination of the two will help me to see my friend several times throughout the course — and more importantly, she’ll be able to see ME cheering like crazy all along the way! Good luck runners!!!

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