Runners and support personnel will leverage SPOT satellite technology for tracking, messaging and if necessary, emergency notification, that works beyond cellular
- 18 athletes rescued in 2015 race thanks to SPOT Gen3
- SPOT Gen3’s satellite tracking and SOS button reduces the risk of athletes going off course and speeds up emergency assistance in the Sahara Desert
- Friends and family can track a runner’s progress in near real-time online during the world’s most arduous race
- 4,100+ worldwide rescues to date thanks to SPOT technology
Dublin, Ireland, 07 March 2016 – Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc. (NYSE MKT: GSAT) and the leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, today announced that its affordable SPOT Gen3 safety device will be integral to the safety and security of 1,250 athletes competing in the MARATHON DES SABLES 2016 (MDS), the world’s most extreme running race taking place 8-18 April 2016 in Morocco.
Each of the participants will run with a SPOT Gen3 mounted on his/her backpack, allowing race organisers, emergency support teams, sponsors, family and friends to precisely track each runner’s location online.
During the race in 2015, the first year SPOT Gen3 was used to protect all 1,330 runners as part of a three-year agreement, the MDS team was able to precisely locate 18 competitors in distress and quickly dispatch rescue personnel. Similar to last year, all race marshals will carry the small, rugged devices, and they will also be outfitted on security vehicles, medical vehicles and helicopters.
Should the unexpected occur for a competitor, he/she can simply press the device’s SOS button and location data is rapidly transmitted from the SPOT device to the organising team, making it easy to dispatch a nearby responder and dispatch the necessary support within minutes. Customised tracking software including an intuitive user interface is provided by athletic gear and tracking specialist WAA Tracking, Globalstar’s partner based in France. Thanks to this interface, sponsors, friends and family of MDS participants can search for and locate the positions of individuals and teams.
Last year, one Japanese competitor digressed from the normal route and WAA’s geo-fencing software ‘MDS_PC Course’ raised an alarm that alerted race headquarters instantly. The participant was moving away from the official route in an area that was particularly difficult to access, even for the team’s experienced 4×4 drivers, so one of the race organiser’s two helicopters landed close by. The doctor on board checked the athlete’s health and declared him able to continue the race. The crew advised the athlete how to get back on course since any competitor who is transported is automatically disqualified.
“With sand in their eyes and no other athletes nearby, competitors can easily miss the markers and stray off course,” explains Patrick Bauer, CEO of the MARATHON DES SABLES. “Thanks to SPOT Gen3, we can ensure more athletes complete the race by quickly spotting anyone wandering off route as well as getting immediate assistance to anyone who presses the SOS button,” he said.
“Communications options in the vast expanses of the Sahara are limited and satellite is the only reliable option to stay connected with all of the participants throughout the race,” said Mark O’Connell, Director of European Sales & Business Operations, Globalstar. “The combination of SPOT Gen3 and WAA Tracking’s software ensures MDS operations run smoothly and enhances the safety of everyone involved in this extraordinary event. We are very proud that our small, affordable tracking device has helped to initiate over 4,100 rescues to date around the world and can be a reliable source of communication for MDS participants again this year.”
SPOT Gen3 retails for €146 (excl. VAT) and can be purchased from any recommended SPOT retailer worldwide.
About 2016 MARATHON DES SABLES
To be run for the 31st time, MDS 2016 is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a highly challenging landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates – the Sahara desert. MDS 2015 saw the world’s toughest runners, including world-renowned adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, take on the challenge of a lifetime, facing the most extreme terrain as they raced across the sands of Morocco in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celcius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).
About SPOT LLC
SPOT LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc., provides affordable satellite communication and tracking devices for recreational use. SPOT Global Phone uses the Globalstar network to transmit two-way voice and data communications. SPOT messaging devices use both the GPS satellite network and the Globalstar network to transmit text messages and GPS coordinates. Since 2007, SPOT has provided peace of mind by allowing customers to remain in contact completely independent of cellular coverage, having initiated over 4,100 rescues worldwide. For more information, visit FindMeSPOT.com.
Note that all SPOT products described in this press release are the products of SPOT LLC, which is not affiliated in any manner with Spot Image of Toulouse, France or Spot Image Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia. SPOT Connect is a trademark of SPOT LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
For media information, please contact:
Director of Marketing – EMEA
Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd.
White Tiger Communications
+44 20 3514 2525