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Safaricom to help athletes break record

Safaricom and Vodafone Group are working to deliver industry leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology to Kenyan athletes in a bid to help them break the two-hour marathon mark.

At the moment, the marathon World Record is 2:02:57 which was set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto at the Berlin Marathon in 2014. The two networks will work with a group of scientists, the world’s best marathon runners, and other industry partners in a project called SUB2 to help break the record.

SUB2, led by Brighton University Professor of Sport and Exercise Science, Yannis Pitsiladis, aims to leave a legacy for athletics by demonstrating how science and technology can fairly help athletes improve their performance.

Director of Technology Thibaud Rerolle says they will continue to seek and explore new innovations around the latest technologies, with the goal of creating new opportunities for Kenyans.

“Application of IoT, in athlete training in Iten and Eldoret, will not only help Kenyan athletes improve their performance, but will further refine and fine tune our IoT solution in readiness for nationwide deployment,” said Rerolle.

Safaricom has built a SUB2 smart watch app to provide telemetry with enhanced location tracking using mobile networks. Ethiopian marathon runner Kenenisa Bekele used the app as his digital pacemaker in the 2017 Berlin marathon.

The technology, which was demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month, is currently in use at the Iten and Eldoret training grounds in Kenya.

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