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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018 Dec 5. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001861. [Epub ahead of print]

Validation of a Mobile Application Water Planning Tool for Road Race Event Organizers.

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Sports Science Synergy, LLC, Franklin, MA.
Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA.
Boston Athletic Association, Boston, MA.


Water planning is an important risk management concern for road race event organizers.


To compare water and cup prediction outputs from a mobile application (app) planning tool against: 1) measured group sweat losses, 2) documented event water and cup usage, and 3) traditional mathematical planning solutions.


Group mean sweating rates (L/h) from 12 published outdoor running studies were each compared to 12 composite averages using the Road Race Water Planner© app (RRWP). Estimated water (gallons) and cup (#) needs were also compared to documented usage at a large marathon event and to traditional mathematical solutions.


Thirteen group mean sweating rates from 286 runners were compared to composite RRWP estimates. Predicted sweating rate accuracy was 92% for RRWP and ranged from 0 to 69% for traditional mathematical solutions. The 2017 Boston marathon included 27,222 runners on a day averaging 21.5°C. Water and cup usage was 31,740 gallons and 1,036,003 cups, respectively. RRWP estimates were 33,505 gallons and 1,072,160 cups, respectively. The difference in gallons expressed as liters was 0.236 L per person. For a ~4 h marathon, the difference per person as a rate was < 60 mL/h. The difference in cups was a 3.5% error. All traditional solutions gave inferior estimates to RRWP due to large errors related to fluctuations in weather as well as complications related to water station numbers.


The results of the RRWP analysis indicate that it can provide event organizers with a valid, quantitative way to narrow the uncertainties of water planning related to changes in participant numbers, race distance, and weather. 'Rule of thumb' alternatives are also discussed.

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