They announced, just days before the race, that they had hooked up with a service called ZumTri (which piggy-backed, somehow or other, onto the Chicago Athlete Magazine sponsorship. The subtleties are a mystery to me). ZumTri used the times our chips recorded at several checkpoints on the race course to construct a "Virtual" recreation of the race. When I plug in my bib number, I can watch a little digital "me" run the course, along with every other runner in the race. It shows a full map of the course, with me as a big red dot among the field, and also an alternate view that zooms in and focuses just on my position. I could also select more bib numbers to watch at the same time.Really, it's easier to see it, rather than me trying to (badly) describe it. Just check it out. Here's a link directly to ZumTri's Wisconsin Marathon event page. You will need to select "Marathon", then on the next page type in my bib #396, then just skip the next option to get to the virtual race.
I was fortunate to run pretty even splits for a long time and to fade at the end far less than many other runners, so my little virtual self spends a lot of time passing the other runners on the course. And, yes, that's a lot of fun for me to watch.
This is not a completely new feature to me. The New York City Marathon offered a similar feature for the last several years (and maintains an archive of it, too). But, this ZumTri version is much more extensive and really feakin' cool. In addition to the two alternate views of my virtual race, it also posts a small collection of charts and graphs that deconstruct my race in some interesting ways.
The Wisconsin Marathon is the very first marathon in the U.S. that has used this ZumTri Service to chart their race. It'd be even cooler if there had been more than just four check points on the course. Getting a split in the system at every 5K might have been really ideal. I hope it's something that, say, the Chicago Marathon gets on board with this year, because I really do think it's pretty cool.