Join me this Thursday 11th October at 1pm (AEDT) for a facebook live broadcast on how technology is playing a key part in this year’s Medibank Melbourne Marathon.

Australia’s largest marathon, the Medibank Melbourne Marathon, has been running for over 40 years. As you can imagine, technology has moved along since 1978 and more recently advancing at a phenomenal rate.SAP is proud to be joining the 2018 Medibank Melbourne Marathon as the official technology partner, tasked with improving race day engagement by providing next-level insights.

40 years – that’s a lot of Data  

Working closely with the official timing partner, Multisport, SAP will be visualising both 40 years of historical marathon data and real-time race data on the day of the Marathon.

40 years of Data, yes that is a lot of Data – so the question is, as a starting point, how can that be leveraged to benefit the supporter, runners and organisers?

This blog will focus on the Why & How – in analysing the 40 years of historic race data.

The Why

Data is the new gold. That’s not an unknown, but what is unclear is why organisations would invest in harvesting and manipulating existing data.

What are the benefits? In terms of the Medibank Melbourne Marathon scenario, this data has been untouched for over 40 years. The thought was, surely from analysing this mass of data we’d unveil some interesting patterns related to Health & Lifestyle, Demographic trends, or even participation growth etc. Insights relating to any of the above could be used in many different ways.

1.    For the sporting & medical professionals

Provide a historic insight into the Marathon as an evolving sport. Insights provide sporting professionals and medical professionals some useful ways of comparing performance today vs 40 years ago. What are the attributes and how can they take these insights to make better decisions, based on facts obtained from the data. Decisions on training, diet, injury prevention – all are examples of patterns and narratives which can be taken from the insights.

For example, the 2 age categories that had the highest number of runners in 1978 were 25-29 and 30-34 and in 2017 is was 35-39 and 40-44. This shows an increasing age demographic participating in the marathon and supporting the theory that marathoners get better with age.

2.    To inspire & drive participation

There is nothing more powerful than factual based information to capture engagement from people as human beings. We strive on information, however to some extent, we are open to the elements with too much information continually being directed at us from a number of channels. It is this factual based information which will intrigue and stand out amongst the mass of information our brains are continually processing. Gaining insights on trends, patterns, comparisons and performance will ignite interest and inspire participants to perform.

As an example, female participation in the inaugural Melbourne Marathon in 1978 was less than 1%, and in 2017 it was 30%. Quite a jump in female participation over the years, one that is both impressive and inspiring.

3.    The possibilities are endless!

The data can be manipulated for multiple reasons. Where this is a challenge is alack of visibility, room for improvement or even just a simple trend analysis required. Guidance is often required on the ultimate benefits from such investment in data, however one thing which can be said, with the increasing availability of Open Data platforms and technologies such as Machine Learning, data leverage is certainly available at the touch of a button more than ever before!

The How

Using cutting-edge technologies, such as SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Cloud Platform, the data landscape is truly transforming for the better – both in context of the end consumer and organisational perspective. Viability and ease of use of these technologies is making the unimaginable – imaginable.

In context of the Marathon race data, SAP are transforming both the in-race supporter experience and post-run insights by leveraging IoT and open API technology to visualise leader boards and times, demographics, and aggregated data to bring unique insights and comparisons. The historical insights taken from the 40 years of data are just the beginning. Learn more on what SAP are doing at the Medibank Melbourne Marathon here, and explore the Infographic demonstrating some of the insights crafted from overlaying our cloud technology onto the 40 years of race data.

Join me this Thursday 11th October at 1pm (AEDT) for a facebook live broadcast on how technology is playing a key part in this year’s Medibank Melbourne Marathon.

This article was originally published on Linkedin