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(Virtually) run the NYC Marathon thanks to Samsung's Gear 360 camera

At the New York City Marathon on Sunday, 10-time participant Alex Christison secured a 360-degree camera onto his shoulders and started out on the grueling 26.2-mile course through the city’s five boroughs. The project was supported by Sports Illustrated, Life, and Cyberlink, and the resulting 360-degree video experience is available now through the Life VR app.

Titled “26.2 in 360,” the project puts viewers in a pair running shoes on the course of the world’s most popular marathon. Over 50,000 people finish the race each year, making the NYC Marathon one of the most exciting. However, the race’s popularity also makes it difficult to secure a spot — many runners dream of participating but won’t get the chance.

“With the launch of ‘26.2 in 360,’ we’re able to not only take our viewers on a journey that many will never otherwise take, but we are particularly excited about the timeliness of offering this experience,” said Mia Tramz, managing editor of Life VR, in a statement published by Sports Illustrated.

Indeed, the video was online and available Monday morning — within 24 hours of the finish of the race. That in itself is a testament to how far technology has come in shooting, editing, and delivering 360-degree content.

Obviously, running 26.2 miles with a camera on is big ask. The three sponsors therefore turned to the Samsung Gear 360, a compact 360-degree camera that provides high-quality footage without the bulk of multi-camera rigs. Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 15 software was used to edit the footage for the quick turnaround time.

Marathons are long events, but don’t worry: the video has been cut down to just three minutes. From the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island, through Brooklyn, across the Queensboro Bridge, to the Bronx, and finally back to Central Park for the finish, viewers will get a curated glimpse of Christison’s run from his point of view.

The video provides a unique perspective on one of the world’s most iconic marathons, and runners of all stripes will likely find it inspiring. To see the full video, download the Life VR App for Android or iOS.