UPS Keeps Marathon on Its Feet

Keeping a world-class marathon up and running in today's digital age requires more than a good supply of bottled water and sports drinks. Take the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, for example. This event hosts more than 40,000 runners a year, and spectators can track their favorite competitors via the web, thanks to microchips located in each runner's shoe.
By Staff March 1, 2004

Keeping a world-class marathon up and running in today’s digital age requires more than a good supply of bottled water and sports drinks. Take the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, for example. This event hosts more than 40,000 runners a year, and spectators can track their favorite competitors via the web, thanks to microchips located in each runner’s shoe. Keeping all this data straight requires a lot of time and energy on the part of staff and volunteers, and a computer network they can count on to operate without interruption or failure.

Reliability is crucial for at least a week before the event, as course and participant data is entered and checked. Receivers are set up at a number of locations throughout Chicago to capture information on each runner’s progress as they pass by. In the 2003 race, two servers were required to meet organizers’ needs. And to make sure those servers stayed on their feet through any potential power-quality problems, two uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems were specified.

A single UPS could have served both servers, but redundancy was seen as a crucial component to guaranteeing event success. The servers both had dual power-supply connections, so connecting both servers to both UPS units gave organizers confidence their system wouldn’t stumble.

In the end, the marathon ran smoothly, without any surges or sagsā€”at least in the power supply. However, with the eyes of the nation’s third-largest city on them, organizers knew they had the backup they needed to meet whatever bumps were encountered on the road.