By Judy Chang, Andrew Mikofalvy, Eric Lau, and Kenny Friedman
Each year, people from across the country travel to Boston to run in the
marathon. By grouping runners by state, and then averaging the times of the runners per state, it is possible to compare the running ability of each state. For this project, our group has done just that.
We have three goals in mind for this project. First, and most generally, we hope the map increases excitement about the Boston marathon. Second, and more tangibly, we want to increase state pride and state camaraderie. Marathon running is a very individual sport, which can at times feel isolating and lonely. By grouping runners by state, we hope to introduce a local-area support network. We hope runners from a given state will help each other and increase a sense of community. Third, and most concretely, we want to show runners how well their state performs and provide them resources to help them increase their state’s performance. For example, a link might be provided to a local marathon to practice and meet other runners from the same state.
Therefore, our audience is marathon runners who have not yet run the Boston marathon, or running enthusiasts, from all 50 states. Our Call to Action is to improve the user’s state-average by providing resources to help runners improve their time and join local runners. Our call to action leverages viewers’ aforementioned sense of state pride by encouraging them to learn more about and potentially join a local marathon. There, they will hopefully qualify and join other runners from their state in next year’s Boston marathon.
Our creative map is part of a website, available here. When a user first goes to our site, they are asked to enter their state acronym. Next, the user is presented with a map outlining the Boston marathon. There are nodes that are shown moving down the marathon. Each node represents a state, and the amount of time that state takes to complete is shown as a race between the states. Then, once the animation is complete, information about how well the user’s state did is displayed along with a link to a local marathon in which the user could participate.
Future Additions / Improvements
Of course this is a rough sketch, and there are always improvements to be had with more time. Specifically, we would want to add many more resources for local runners to meet up and help each other train. Then, we would want to augment the map with more qualitative information, such as the elapsed time as you are watching the animation. Lastly, we would like to add a second, US map, in which a user could hover over a given state. Hovering over the state would highlight the corresponding node would highlight, and vise versa. We discussed these ideas and many others, but were time limited.
We fielded data from a variety of sources, including:
- Our map of the Boston Marathon: here
- The statistics of the 2016 Boston Marathon: here
- Average & Finish Times of the Boston Marathon: here
- List of Marathons in a Given State: here