Grains of data from the Sahara

Co-founder of Big Data Week, Ande Gregson, will be one of the many competitors joining the annual gathering in Morocco in the Sahara desert for the Marathon des Sables in April 2014: A six-day, 250k self sufficient ultra marathon, which is the equivalent of six regular marathons, considered to be the toughest foot race on Earth.

However, unlike most of the competitors, he’ll be using a number of wearable devices to measure his physiological attributes as part of Quantified Self project tracking his heart rate, breathing rate, race pace, marathon speed and all round performance; coupling the vital statistics and with HD video footage from his own perspective to produce a short documentary of the experience.

Running with an 8kg rucksack packed with food and technology is a challenge in it’s own right, but powering all the technology for constant use is just as significant. Voltaic Systems, one of his sponsors have kindly provided a number of solar chargers to make the adventure a little easier – ensuring the technology runs just as long as the runner is running.

The harsh conditions of the desert will provide a real insight into the stresses these types of ultra marathons put on the human body, and the team at Big Data Week are very much looking forward to seeing the results and sharing the story with our community.

Good Luck in the Sahara, and Bon Voyage!

You can follow Ande’s exploits online on the Official Marathon des Sables website or donate to the charity he is running for: Mind UK.

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