Have you ever done an event as a team and wondered how far away your co-racer was? Or maybe, in the heat of competition, you took a wrong turn and wondered if you were still on-course? Or perhaps you had a little ‘Lara’ (AKA bingle) and struggled to describe where exactly you were to get help? Well, that’s about to change: Participants in the Battle the Barge this weekend and Magnetic Island Adventurethon at the end of the month will be part of an adventure sports revolution when the rugged outdoors meets the safety and convenience of technology.
Excited by the launch of the Adventurethon app and its potential; event director Joel Savage says the technology, which was created by North Queensland-based innovators Cloud Three, will make adventure racing safer for participants, simpler for teams and more interesting for spectators. The upcoming events will be the testing ground, with plans to further rollout the Townsville-grown racing and training tool throughout the national market.
“Typically, for an endurance event, the participant will spend the day out alone on course through some rough terrain, kilometres away from their supporters, and at times from course marshals,” says Joel.
“For spectators, endurance events have been hard to follow, with supporters normally having to go between the known points of the course. Loved ones waiting for their athletes sometimes wouldn’t have a clue if they were coming first or last or whereabouts they might be.
“The new Adventurethon App by Cloud Three solves these problems and it’s expected that many other events around Australia will follow suit very soon.”
The tech-masters at Cloud Three participated as a team in the 2014 Adventurethon events and, straight after the Townsville event in June, hit the drawing board to work out how they could create an app to stay in touch with each other over the course. After a few chats with Joel for ideas, plus countless hours of coding, building, and testing, the first release of the Adventurethon App was born last week.
App designer James Cashion-Lozell says, while the technology is still in its testing phase and there are many more updates to come, it will be a very useful tool come March 28-29 and – after six months in development – he’s looking forward to seeing it in action.
“It’s also great to use as a training tool in the lead-up to the events,” says James. “All the Magnetic Island Adventurethon courses are mapped out, so no matter what event you are doing, you can use it to do a training run on one or all of your legs.”
Also, one of the stand-out features of the app is that it turns a standard Apple or android smartphone into GPS tracking beacon with an inbuilt emergency button so, if anyone is in trouble on course, the event coordinators can be notified easily with an exact location.
Key features of the first release:
- The ability for users to be tracked on the event day by friends and families, both at the event and online
- Easy access to a distress beacon for event participants
- Event marshals can easily locate event participants in distress
- Users can track and train on the courses easily ahead of time
- Users can log and save tracks for training and improvement
- Users to see local bike and running tracks that they might be interested in.
Future features that are being added:
- A social media-integrated newsfeed to keep competitors and spectators up-to-date
- Spectator-only camera functions
- Tabs for event logistics and sponsor functions.
If you’re on the island as a spectator, keep an eye out for the Cloud Three tent that will have a large screen displaying every competitor’s position on the course (as long as the app is downloaded and running).