I want my own theme song

April 21, 2007

On Friday evening we enjoyed a trip to Husky Ballpark to watch our Dawgs take on the Trojans of USC. Music is such an integral part of these games that each Husky player has his own theme song that is played as he steps up to bat. This got me thinking about how ultramarathon races could likewise be infused with song excerpts to make them more “fan-friendly.” Imagine this: about 50 meters before each aid station, a runner passes over one of those mats used for electronic timing purposes. The sensing of the runner’s chip by the mat then causes that runner’s theme song to be played automatically as he/she approaches the aid station, thus building excitement in a semi-informative way (e.g., “It’s that Guns N’ Roses song again — it must be Meghan!”).

The system would need to be set up to handle packs of runners in a reasonable way, rather than switching songs every second. Perhaps the arrival of the leader would trigger 30 seconds of music for that person, after which the system would reset and wait for the next arrival.

So what would my theme be? I’m not sure, but maybe “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” by John Parr, or “Running Down a Dream” by Tom Petty. Or “Climb Every Mountain” by that nun from The Sound of Music. Or….


  1. I wonder how many times we would have to hear Rocky's theme? While I know your idea is a bit tongue in cheek, think of the potential revenue stream. Signing up for the race on active would offer a link to iTunes or similar to "buy" the song for the race. Just think, all of Chicago could be subjected to my much maligned "power song". I'm afraid I will require "Heat of the Moment" by Asia or "Leave it" by Yes (trying to stick with the decade you started with here).

  2. Mike: Excellent idea regarding online registration! To prevent the "same nine songs all day long" problem, perhaps the link should be to eBay, where runners could bid for the temporary rights to each song. "Gonna Fly Now" (Rocky I), "Eye of the Tiger" (Rocky III), and "Burning Heart" (Rocky IV) would all become expensive, but I bet you could get a good deal on "Heat of the Moment."

  3. "Born to Run" would also be pricey, as would the theme from "Chariots of Fire". ;-)On a related note, there are lots of areas of life that could be jazzed up with theme songs. As a scientist, I wouldn't mind having a personal theme song play when I'm introduced to speak at scientific meetings. Unfortunately, I don't work on any of the subjects covered by the many science songs by my favorite band, They Might Be Giants. If only I were an astronomer, so that my talks could be preceded by the rockin' live version of "Why Does the Sun Shine?" And while I could just choose a non-science-related rock song instead, I'm not sure my talks would live up to being introduced by "We Will Rock You" or "Start Me Up".

  4. Sigh. I'm just going to be perpetually attached to GNR for the rest of my life, aren't I? Thanks. Thanks a lot.If I had to choose, I might pick something or a series of somethings by The White Stripes. If I had to hear GNR over and over through an ultra, I'd probably chuck myself off a cliff or something.

  5. What – no Theme Song from Doogie Howser?!?

  6. On a slightly more practical level, you got me thinking that it's surprising the mats don't "talk" to us yet. IE, something as simple as "You're on 2:53 pace," with new output every 10 seconds or so, which could cover all runners in that time frame.

  7. Without question: Bulls on Parade.

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