Personal Metrics for 20,000 People at Once

I'm honing in on the last week of training before I run the SF Half Marathon on July 26th.   As I'm gearing up for the race, an article on Technology Review that talked about the improvements that have been made in race timing over the past 20 years caught my eye.  Races now use lightweight RFID bands that activate when you hit the start-line (which could be up to 10 minutes after the "gun start" if there are a lot of runners), and stop timing when you cross the finish line.  In essence, the RFID band has eliminated the issues of a delayed start in a crowded race, and enabled more accurate timing for all runners.

As I was looking around the SF Marathon's website, I noticed there was also an option to have your current position text messaged to a family member or friend during the race.  This way, the spectators that matter were more likely to catch a glimpse of you trudging along the course, or keep track of your pace.  A pretty cool addition, which got me thinking: how far can we push this technology in the future?  Will we be able to to pool other statistics from runners, such as heart rate, respiration rate, etc.? Could family and friends also be notified of our vitals as we run?  Will you be able to compare yourself in real-time to other runners?

Just another neat example of self-monitoring making its way into the mainstream...