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NOTE: This blog was originally published on the Dimension Data website. Dimension Data rebranded as NTT DATA in 2024.


Thousands of marathon runners from all over the world will converge on the Kenyan capital for the 20th Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon on 29 October this year, following months of preparation by both the athletes and the organizers – and, for the latter, an increasingly technology-based approach.

For the sixth year running, Dimension Data has partnered with Standard Chartered and the organizers of Kenya’s largest single-day sports event to provide the connectivity that links all the efforts to prepare for the race in which 25,000 runners from all over the world are expected to compete.

Connected to the cloud

The marathon secretariat – the central body in charge – oversees a complicated logistics plan that covers all aspects of the race, from providing thousands of kits to participants beforehand to safely reuniting children and parents at care areas after the event. They also gather large volumes of data on competitors, route changes, race conditions and more.

To keep track of their progress and milestones, members of the secretariat use a logistics application. Once again, Dimension Data is hosting the application in a secure local cloud environment and providing the required computing resources.

We also provide connectivity to the back-end application – for example, at the various locations where runners arrive and sign in on marathon day – and enough redundant connectivity and backup power to prevent a break in this all-important service. This also supports the secretariat’s other duties, such as printing race vouchers and other documents on location.

An on-site Dimension Data engineer helps the marathon’s information technology team manage their back-end application servers. Security is configured within the secretariat’s application itself, but there is also a layer of security in both our back-end and cloud environment and in the secretariat’s Wi-Fi network.

New technology, new opportunities

Our role as a technology partner to the marathon showcases our ability to provide world-class connectivity and reliable cloud infrastructure that support even the most demanding scenarios across multiple locations.

But how will the evolution of networking technology support such events in future? IoT connects many devices – monitors worn by marathon runners, for example – to provide real-time data from which many insights can be gathered, and Dimension Data then offers the reliable network connectivity needed to realize the full potential of IoT.

Imagine a race where each runner’s vital data – such as their heart rate, their breathing, their speed, even their hydration levels – is transmitted from a monitoring device in real time to show the runner, organizers and fans alike how they are performing in the race so far, where they have accelerated, how well they are coping with hills and what their estimated finish time is. And, after the race, the runners can obtain a detailed analysis of their full race performance within seconds.

Many current IoT applications are found in high-value and high-productivity industrial environments, but this is an example of how our latest technology can also digitally transform other industries and events.

Sustainability is key

Our partnership not only allows us to explore new ways of using technology but also supports our sustainability ambitions.

Standard Chartered has referred to the event as “the world’s most sustainable marathon”. This goes beyond cutting back on single-use water bottles to raising funds for community initiatives, all of which also aligns with our own sustainability pillars – Connected Planet.

One of the marathon organizers’ objectives this year is to plant 2 million tree seedlings in the next five years, and Dimension Data is supporting this objective by sponsoring USD 1,000 worth of seedlings – which equates to 1,380 trees. The seedlings are distributed at the marathon’s warmup races and during the main race.

Then, Standard Chartered’s Futuremakers program funds young entrepreneurs and new enterprises across East Africa to help address unemployment in the region. The bank raises money to address inequality and improve economic inclusion among young people across its markets.

For example, over the past four years, they have invested USD 800,000 through their Women in Technology Incubator programme to provide business management training and seed funding to more than 40 women-led organizations.

These initiatives make us proud of our involvement with the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon as we work toward another important finish line: saving our planet.


Read more about NTT DATA’s Network as a Service offering to see how an intelligent and secure network can serve your organization.