Elite athletes and their coaches attempting to run a marathon in less than two hours for the first time will be able to monitor running efficiency and body and environmental temperature in real time thanks to work undertaken by engineers from Vodafone’s Networks Centre of Excellence.

Vodafone is working with a group of specialist scientists, the world’s best marathon runners, and other industry partners in a project called SUB2 (www.sub2hrs.com) that is demonstrating how science and technology can fairly help athletes improve their performance.


Spanish Olympic Athlete, Maria Azucena Diaz, tests the body sensors. Source: ElPais


Last year Vodafone built a SUB2 smart watch app to provide telemetry with enhanced location tracking using mobile networks. Kenenisa Bekele, one of the world’s best marathon runners, used the app as his digital pacemaker in the 2017 Berlin marathon.

Working with partners, Vodafone engineers have now enabled a series of body sensors to communicate with the SUB2 app over a mobile network:

  • contact time, cadence and strike angle - motion sensors from Gait Up , a spin-out from the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) and the Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL), provide running efficiency metrics that will help physiologists working in coaching teams to determine an athlete’s running mechanics and communicate advice for injury avoidance and performance enhancement, even while they are still out on a training run;
  • 3D visualisation – technology from a start-up called Notch can reconstruct  running movements in 3D on a smartphone or laptop, which can help those responsible for an athletes care and performance implement corrective running strategies; and
  • skin and land surface temperature – using sensors from French lab Bodycap the SUB2 app can now inform elite athletes if they are hotter than expected during a run and should change their water intake strategy. The team expect to also be able to show core temperature within the app in the near future.

Top male and female athletes from around the world are now using the SUB2 app to enhance their training and race performances.

Vodafone will be demonstrating the SUB2 app and body sensors on the Vodafone stand at Mobile World Congress (3D30, Hall 3) from 26 February – 1 March.


Liked this post? Here’s what to read next:

Vodafone joins attempt to break two hour marathon barrier