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World championship marathon gains high-tech edge


When runners begin the marathon at the Athletic World Championships in Helsinki this August, they will have a high-tech edge, thanks to a Finnish start-up firm.

The race course has been recorded in detail and sent to competitors to help them prepare for the competition. The data was compiled by the FRWD Sport Performance Recorder, a strap-on gadget that measures race route, distance and speed using GPS technology, as well as an individual athlete’s heart rate, altitude and other data.

The accompanying software enables the user to move through two-dimensional or three-dimensional animations of the route, complete with a terrain profile.

“The IAAF has forwarded the FRWD file of the marathon to all participating national teams, so they can get to know the route profile in advance in every detail, including all the slopes, twists, turns and so on,” explains Mari Pajunen, Marketing Coordinator at FRWD Technologies. “This is the first time that an organising committee has ever offered such an opportunity.”

Introduced in the summer of last year in two models, the wearable athlete management system has already struck a chord among serious competitive athletes. FRWD is being used by various teams including the Finnish Nordic Combined Ski Team. Its head coach, Janne Marvaila, calls it “an excellent instrument for coaching.”

Along with the Helsinki Athletic World Championships partnership, the device is also being offered for competitors to use during other competitions. “FRWD has been a partner of approximately 25 sports events so far,” says Pajunen. “This summer, we’re a partner to the Tahko MTB120 mountain biking marathon in eastern Finland, among others.

Athletes, whether they own or rent the device for a competition or training, can use the data to track their own strengths and areas that need work. Extreme sports fans use it to relive once-in-a-lifetime experiences and share them with friends.

“The FRWD Replayer PC Software is available to everyone on our website. Once you download it, you’ll be able to analyse all performance files you get your hands on, and you can even do it on your sofa at home.”

So far, the Sport Performance Recorder is FRWD’s sole product. The company plans to unveil new products later this year.

Anna Niemelae | alfa
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