Sunday 23rd April saw the 37th annual Virgin Money London Marathon take place through the streets of the capital. Once again record numbers took part in this momentous sporting event, while raising awareness and huge amounts of money for many fantastic charities. This year, runners were supported by the official London Marathon app, which was available from the Apple app store, and for the first time, Google Play app store, providing a one-stop shop of event information.
Designed and created by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the Official Technology Partner for the Virgin Money London Marathon for the second year, the app was downloaded to more than 292,116 devices – that’s more than one in 30 Londoners – with more than 73,000 concurrent users at peak times during the day. The app was ranked #1 on the iOS store as well as being listed as Android’s top free app. TCS is the lead sponsor and technology partner for many major marathons across the world – including supplying the award winning New York and Amsterdam marathon apps.
The app featured an in-built tracking system which allowed family, friends and other spectators to locate up to ten of their favourite runners and keep up-to-date with their progress, as well as auto-track elite athletes – both throughout the race and via push notifications of their finish times. Spectators were able to watch their progress using the interactive map within the app, which provided an accurate update every 5 kilometers to ensure they were at the best viewing points in time to support runners.
Key to the success of the official app was ensuring performance on the day, knowing it would be used by thousands of people at any one time. The app received great feedback during the race with one supporter tweeting: “Tracking my best friend running in the London Marathon on the app is so exciting”. Another Twitter user commented: “Absolutely fascinated by the London Marathon App as I watch five sets of initials go round a map of London”.
In the months prior to race day, the app was rigorously – and manually – tested to ensure the best functionality possible on the day of the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Shankar Narayanan, Country Head, UK & Ireland, TCS, said: “Digital technology is transforming all aspects of society and a marathon should be no different. We were thrilled to be a part of bringing this to the thousands of runners and their supporters, providing not only a useful, interactive resource at their fingertips, but offering a personal touch to what is a truly momentous day in the sporting calendar. I’m truly touched by the positive response of supporters using the app and by the sheer number of people that downloaded it to track family and friends.”
Hugh Brasher, Event Director, Virgin Money London Marathon, comments: “We are absolutely delighted with the success of the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, which saw the city’s streets once again lined by 750,000+ spectators, all cheering on friends and family members and trying to spot their runner among the 39,000 competitors. It’s all too easy for people to miss the one person they’ve spent all day waiting to cheer.
We’d like to thank our technology partner, Tata Consultancy Services, for the fantastic official app – which allowed more than a quarter of a million supporters who downloaded the app to track and monitor their friends, families and colleagues.
With digital technology becoming an increasingly integral part of health and well-being, we hope that the event – and digital fitness apps like this – will continue to encourage the nation to exercise and be active in the long-term. I’m already excited about what the future holds for next year and planning will soon begin again with TCS, who remain our Official Technology Partner for 2018.”