Satellite tracking helps Marathon des Sables participants keep on running
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

Globalstar Europe’s satellite-based SPOT Gen3 product is going to be used to track athletes competing in the Marathon des Sables, the company has announced. The event – which attracts around 850 participants and is described as the world’s most extreme running race –, takes place at the beginning of April, across the Sahara desert in Morocco.

According to Globalstar, each participant will have a “small, rugged” unit mounted on their backpack, transmitting GPS location every few minutes. The company’s satellites traverse the planet in low Earth orbit, “enabling reliable, ubiquitous coverage even when alternative communications infrastructure is non-existent.” Customised tracking software is being provided by GlobalPlus.

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Gavan Murphy, director of marketing, EMEA, Globalstar said: “Participants in Marathon Des Sables push themselves to their very limits, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are extremely glad that SPOT Gen3 and the Globalstar satellite constellation will deliver safety and peace of mind to this extraordinary group of people.”

British runner, Sabrina Pace-Humphreys said: “I had never dared to run in such an inhospitable environment, let alone for days on end. The SPOT Gen3 reassured me that even when I was all alone in the desert, help was never far away.”

The technology was first used at the event in 2015. In the last three races – again, according to the company - 45 competitors have been rescued because of its deployment.

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