The Comrades Marathon runners have been given the opportunity to boost their race preparation through ground breaking virtual reality technology called Oculus Rift. Brought to them by major sponsor Old Mutual, it enables them to experience five of the race’s infamous hills virtually, while getting personal advice from multiple marathon winner, Bruce Fordyce. The Oculus Rift is a Virtual Reality headset used for viewing 360 degree immersive videos that will bring this iconic race to life.
This can be experienced at the Comrades Marathon Expo – which takes place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from May 28 to 30. Using sophisticated tracking technology, the headset provides 360° head tracking, which gives viewers a seamless look around a virtual world. Every subtle movement of the wearer’s head is tracked in real time, creating a natural and intuitive experience. Old Mutual has combined this technology with expert route advice from veteran runner Bruce Fordyce. Inside the world of Oculus Rift, Comrades runners can hear Fordyce give essential advice on the Big Five Hills that form part of this year’s up run. Each of the five Oculus Rift headsets at the Old Mutual stand at the Comrades Expo will cover one of the hills – Cowies Hill, Fields Hill, Botha’s Hill, Inchanga and Polly Shortts – with Fordyce giving insider tips and information.
Three of the “Big Five Hills” are in the first half of the race. From the base of the first hill, Cowies, to the top of Botha’s Hill runners climb 502 metres in the space of only 22 kilometres. Fordyce’s advice could prove invaluable to those taking part.
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