Combining [ Video + GPS ] to Create Next Generation [ Online Maps ]
It started with the idea, "Lets try filming a running race." Then we said, "Lets not do any race, lets film a marathon!" It sounded like a good idea at the time, but 18 miles into my first marathon, pushing a stroller with a bunch of camera strapped to it, temps in the 90s and the race officially called off because they were out of ambulances, I started to wonder if we were a little crazy. The whole race is documented with Trail Genius maps avaiable on the event page.
The day began simple enough, we got to the start early unloaded our new stroller/film rig and checked our equipment. After a quick stop at the porta potties, I headed to the starting line with Elise, my running partner (Trail Genius athlete also filming the run), and Jason our bike support for the day. It is never a good sign when it is warm at the start at 7 am, but we headed out on our adventure hoping for the best.
My goal was to take it easy till I crossed the Fox river, then see how I felt. This after all was my first marathon, and combined with the stroller/film rig and the heat I wanted to make sure I was over half way before giving her any extra juice. The good news is, the Green Bay Marathon is super well organized so there were lots of water stops, and plenty of spectators on their front lawns with sprinklers and hoses to keep you cool as you go.
I made it to the Fox River without incident, but as I was crossing on the bridge I heard three beeps from my film rig. The Contour cameras we use, beep at you when something is wrong, so my heart rate shot up. All the cameras were wired to a large external battery housed in the stroller, and had 32 GB of memory each so there was no reason they should be beeping. My mind raced as checked the LED indicator lights for any sign of trouble. After 18 miles in the hot sun, I will say my brain was not firing on all cylinders so trouble shooting was not going well. I was about to call Jason, to have him meet me so we could figure out what was wrong, when I heard the beep again. This time from behind. It took my hot brain a sec to process what was going on, but it turns out the beep was coming from another runners watch whose heart rate indicator was blowing up. I immediately had a sense of ufforia, that carried me through the next couple miles.
Then I see a red truck driving backwards on the Fox River Trail towards me. As I get closer I realize it is a fire truck and the fire man inside is telling me the race is over and to stop at the next water station and I will be bused back to the start. Again my hot brain took time to process this, but it sounded like I was going to only get 18 of my 26 mile race. When I arrived at the water station I found a friend and we tried to figure out what the deal was and ultimately concluded we were done. Jason arrived soon after on his bike and said Elise was coming (also her first marathon) and was not stopping for anything. Some more talking and we decided why not keep going, I could carry extra water in my rig, Jay would follow on his bike and if things got to bad we would just stop. So when Elise got there, we formed a small group and continued on our way.
After a couple miles taking it easy with the group, the fear I would run out of battery before the finish overwhelmed any sense of reason and I took off again at my original pace. To my great surprise, even though the race was officially over, all the volunteers continued to man their posts and I had water, ice and gatorade for the rest of my journey.
As I passed the 25 mile banner, I have to admit the heat was starting to get to me. As Lambo Field came into site so did a major head wind, which on one hand felt great in the heat, but on the other turned my stroller/film rig into a sail boat. I gave her all I had and managed to push to the finish, a welcome site after a long hot strange day.
In the end our equipment performed as required, and myself and the rest of the Trail Genius crew were able to push through and complete our first marathon. I will say even though I kept running, race officials made it clear that they had ended the race and encouraged me and others to at least walk, but as long as the cameras are rolling Trail Genius can't help but keep rolling to.
I personally would like to thank all the fans, especially the ones with ice and sprinklers, and the volunteers for putting up with the heat and making sure I was well hydrated and encouraged the whole way. I am also very impressed with how race officials were able to handle such a difficult situation. It is never easy to stop a race full of eager runners, but safety comes first and they knew what the right thing to do was. I look forward to racing again next year, and recommend it to anyone especially if like me you are looking to get your first marathon under your belt.
Watch every second of my adventure with our Trail Genius Map of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.