The other day, I was talking to a family member who had a good friend who ran a 100-mile ultra-marathon. When he told me about this, and the fact that it took his friend over 25 hours to complete the event, I was duly impressed. This took place in the California Mountains above Pasadena and it included 50,000 feet of up and down hills, mostly all on trails.
Every 10 miles or so there was a checkpoint – each individual wore an active matrix satellite identification which would ping the satellite and tell those watching the race exactly where they were along the route. The satellite could also give those watching the event the exact speed the contestant was traveling, along with all of the data to average their overall progression. All of this data could be pitted against all the other contestants, the terrain; whether they were going up or down, along with the time of day, amount of daylight, surface temperature, and a host of other data points.
All this is very cool, but it seems to me that for these hundred mile ultra-marathons there ought to be a UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle chase apparatus for each and every contestant. These UAVs could watch the competitors from a distance, and you could watch on TV. If they stopped to go behind a tree to use the restroom, the gait recognition system would observe their privacy and wait until they were done. If this were to occur, such extreme sporting events could be televised, and more sponsors could participate, just as they do in the Tour de France.
This would more than pay for the cost of the event, the little UAV drones and their cameras, and other digital equipment. This would also be good for safety of each athlete. If the drone crashed it could have and ELT or emergency locator transmitter which would go off and make a beeping sound whereby the nearest check station could send out a volunteer to retrieve it. This would not negate the other equipment such as the armbands or wristbands that the athletes currently use in these type of contests, rather this would be an additional piece of technology to help televise for social networks, television, and the Internet.
You see, I believe those who are willing to go out of their way to train to compete in 100-mile ultra-marathons deserve more credit, and they deserve our admiration. You have to be an Olympic quality athlete with iron legs, and the strength of character of 10 men to do this. Meanwhile, I don’t mean just men because many women are also very good competitors in these types of events. Please consider all this and think on it.