A marathon, as you’re probably well aware, is a long way, and that final stretch to the finish line can feel like you’re running through treacle. The title sponsor of the London Marathon and the creator of its official app, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has come up with an ingenious way to give runners that extra boost to power through the last 195 metres.
The Belief Booster feature in the app lets you select a participant and then send them a message of support. The idea is that a message will be triggered as the runner approaches the finish line and your motivating, heartfelt sentiment will scroll across an LED display on the gantry, spurring them on to the promised land of not having to run anymore.
TCS says the app will display as many messages as possible and that every message will be emailed to the participant afterwards in case it didn’t display or they missed it – understandable after running that distance. There are limits on what you can write. There’s a 30 character maximum and each message will be approved to ensure it is appropriate for an event that will be broadcast on the BBC.
The Belief Booster is a welcome addition to an event already well known for its levels of support, with cheering crowds lining almost the entire course. In fact, one perennial bit of advice is for runners to get their name printed on their racing top at the London Marathon Expo so you can run to a chorus of people cheering your name. Of course, funny things happen to your state of mind throughout a marathon, so you may wish to heed one of our tried-and-tested London Marathon tips and bring headphones in case it gets a bit much after a while.
That’s not everything the app can do, as it also operates as the London Marathon tracker. Spectators can use the app to see when any runner passes through timed gates, but if a runner carries their phone, they can enable GPS tracking in the app and up to three people can follow their live location. For the first time, that feature will be enabled for runners of the Virtual London Marathon too.
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Jonathan Shannon has been the editor of the Coach website since 2016, developing a wide-ranging experience of health and fitness. Jonathan took up running while editing Coach and has run a sub-40min 10K and 1hr 28min half marathon. His next ambition is to complete a marathon. He’s an advocate of cycling to work and is Coach’s e-bike reviewer, and not just because he lives up a bit of a hill. He also reviews fitness trackers and other workout gear.