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Globalstar’s Spot used in 22 Rescues During 2016 Marathon Des Sables

By | June 2, 2016
      MDS 2016 Globalstar

      MDS 2016 racers using the Spot Gen3. Photo: Cimbaly V. Campagnie

      [Via Satellite 06-02-2016] A total of 22 participants in this year’s Marathon Des Sables extreme running race received rescue services though the use of Globalstar’s Spot Gen3 safety devices. Each of the 1,250 competitors ran the 250 km across the Sahara Desert with a Spot Gen3 on their backpack, allowing MDS race organizers, emergency support teams, sponsors, family and friends to precisely track each runner’s location through a service from WAA Tracking, a Globalstar Value Added Reseller (VAR) partner and geolocation solutions specialist. The one-touch SOS button on SPOT Gen3 gave competitors an easy way to let organizers know if they got into trouble.

      “This year’s event was one of the toughest we have known, especially the first couple of days which saw extraordinarily high temperatures and fierce winds whipping sand around, reducing visibility and resulting in high levels of dehydration. The Spot Gen3’s real-time tracking and SOS button ensured we could quickly help those competitors who were struggling, reducing the risk of them dropping out,” said Patrick Bauer, CEO of MDS.

      At one point during the race, the MDS coordinated the simultaneous rescue of six separate competitors. All race marshals also carried the Spot Gen3s, and they were attached to security vehicles, medical vehicles, helicopters and even a camel.

      With temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), sand storms and tough terrain, competitors did occasionally miss the markers and stray off course. When this occurred, WAA’s geo-fencing software alerted the support crew to quickly dispatch a rescue team. A total of 11 rescues occurred on day three due to extreme heat and sandstorms. Each incident involving a ground crew was completed in just minutes and two helicopters were nearby in case their assistance was required.