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18 Athletes Rescued During the 2015 MARATHON DES SABLES Thanks to Globalstar's SPOT Gen3


  • MARATHON DES SABLES equipped 1,330 runners, 18 security and medical vehicles, two helicopters and one sweep camel with a SPOT Gen3 satellite tracker to reduce risk and aid rescues in the Sahara Desert
  • Real-time GPS tracking and a one-touch emergency button resulted in up to six rescues a day over the seven day race
  • Over 100,000 thousand unique visitors to the MARATHON DES SABLES website tracking the position of competitors

Dublin, Ireland, 30 April 2015 – Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc. (NYSE MKT: GSAT) and the leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, today revealed that its affordable SPOT Gen3 safety device was instrumental in rescuing 18 athletes competing in this year’s MARATHON DES SABLES 2015 (MDS), the world’s most extreme running race.

Each of the 1,330 extreme athletes ran with a SPOT Gen3 on their backpack, allowing MDS race organisers, emergency support teams, sponsors, family and friends to precisely track each runner’s location through a web site hosted by a Globalstar partner and geolocation solutions expert. Developed in just days, the bespoke service allowed users to search for individuals and teams.

With sand in their eyes and no other competitors in line of sight, athletes did occasionally miss the markers and stray off course. Using SPOT devices and MDS, the support crew was able to immediately act on geo-fencing alerts and dispatch a rescue team.

There were a total of 18 rescues during the event. Day five of the event was the busiest day for emergency assistance, with six rescues occurring over a section covering 91km. Each incident, involving a ground crew, was completed in just minutes and two MDS helicopters were nearby in case their assistance was required. The rescue crew directed able athletes back to the course since any competitor who is rescued is automatically disqualified.

Patrick Bauer, CEO of the MARATHON DES SABLES, commented, “The use of SPOT Gen3 has made the operations side of this year’s race even more slick, plus it reduced risk for the athletes. In previous years, we relied on the competitor’s RFID tags passing over each checkpoint. If someone didn’t arrive at a checkpoint 15-30 minutes after we expected them, then we would send a rescue party. Real-time tracking with SPOT and MDS has enhanced the efficiency of our operations dramatically.”

Thierry Dedouche, geolocation manager at MARATHON DES SABLES said, “Time and time again, we proved the value of SPOT in the MARATHON DES SABLES. We gained valuable insight into the use of devices and the MDS platform and are planning enhancements to the MDS geolocation service to support future MDS and sporting events. Over time we hope to extend the value of the tracking service and allow athletes to analyse their performance during an event.”
Now in its 30th edition, MDS is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a highly challenging landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates - the Sahara desert. Held April 3-13, MDS 2015 saw the world’s toughest runners, including Ranulph Fiennes take on the challenge of a lifetime, facing the most extreme terrain as they raced across the sands of Morocco in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celcius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

About SPOT

SPOT Gen3 is a rugged, pocket-sized, low-priced personal GPS messenger that helps users stay connected via satellite even where there is poor or no GSM signal.  SPOT Gen3 is priced at just €179 RRP, with service starting at an affordable €138 per year.

If a runner gets into trouble, such as sustaining an injury, with the single press of a button, emergency services are alerted, their GPS coordinates are transmitted to the support crew, and help is immediately dispatched.

SPOT Gen3 provides off-the-grid messaging, emergency alerts, extra long battery life, and extreme GPS tracking as frequently as every 2 ½ minutes.

SPOT devices have been used in over 3,500 rescues worldwide since Globalstar launched the technology in 2007.

The rules of MDS require participants to be self-sufficient, carrying everything they need to survive – including all equipment and food – on their backs. Only water and tents are provided. Other safety measures include RFID tagging and flares.

For more information on SPOT Gen3, and a list of retailers carrying SPOT products, visit

SPOT LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc., provides affordable satellite communication and tracking devices for recreational use. SPOT Global Phone uses the Globalstar network to transmit two-way voice and data communications. SPOT messaging devices use both the GPS satellite network and the Globalstar network to transmit text messages and GPS coordinates. Since 2007, SPOT has provided peace of mind by allowing customers to remain in contact completely independent of cellular coverage, having initiated over 3,500 rescues worldwide. For more information, visit

Note that all SPOT products described in this press release are the products of SPOT LLC, which is not affiliated in any manner with Spot Image of Toulouse, France or Spot Image Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia. SPOT Connect is a trademark of Spot LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For media information, please contact:
Gavan Murphy
Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd.

Rachel Postlethwaite
+44 7949 883636