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UPDATE: UTC professor finishes Chattanooga Marathon for scientific discovery

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UPDATE: A UTC professor ran his first marathon this weekend. He says he wanted to be part of Chattanooga's inaugrial event but he was also the first athlete to ever have his brain waves tracked for the 26.2 mile race.

"I recall getting to about the 20 mile mark and finally thinking, you know what? I am in fact going to finish," said Sports Management Professor Eric Hungenberg, "And it's interesting looking back at the data there is a spike."

This professor-turned-marathoner endured more than 4 hours of running all in the name of science.
Hungenberg wore an EEG headset to track his brain activity and emotions, which makes him the first athlete to have his mental state of mind recorded during an entire marathon.

"His excitement is through the roof here. It was his first marathon, I'm sure the nerves were crazy," said Health and Human Performance Professor Andrew Bailey.

Now the team of professors have to sort through all this data, and see where Hungenberg was more excited, focused, or stressed.
It's the kind of information they say can make a better athlete, or even a better fan.

"You know being able to give spectators a very unique glimpse into what an athlete goes through," Hungenberg said.

The professors say if they can show people know how to reach their peak performance mentally --- it can help in any situation, not just athletics.

"So imagine if any of us can do that just on a daily basis, if we approach a stressful situation, a challenge, being able to bring our brains back down to that mode where we can actually have good performance," Bailey said.

Hungenberg said after the race he was tired and sore, but the experience was well worth the pain.

"I'll likely do it again," he said.

Professor Bailey says they've already been approached by elite athletes and local schools who want to use this technology and be part of next year's marathon.

The performance technology was created by emotiv and UTC was approved to test it.


Nearly 3,500 runners are gearing up for the Chattanooga Marathon this weekend.

Races and festivities will be happening all weekend long, meaning many area streets will be closed.

The half marathon and full marathon begin at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Both races wind through the heart of Chattanooga and end at Finley Stadium.

Runners are expected on city streets, downtown from Riverfront Parkway to Orchard Knob, Riverview and St. Elmo.

Many roads will go down to one lane to make room for runners. Police will also stop traffic at various intersections so runners can pass.

READ MORE | Road closures for the Chattanooga Marathon

"I have no idea what to expect. I have no idea what my emotional states will look like. It's my first marathon," said runner Eric Hungenberg.

His reason for running is scientific. Hungenberg will be wearing an EG headset during the race. It will track his emotions across the 26.2 mile course.

"We're going to stream the brainwaves via Bluetooth," said Andrew Bailey, Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance at UTC.

Scientists have done plenty of research on athletes' physical conditions during big events, but they don't know much about what's happening in their minds.

"An athletic event like this is a perfect place to look at somebody under stress," Bailey said.

Combined with a GPS and heart monitor, the headset will give a live look at Hungenberg's different emotional states during the race, the highs and the lows.

It gives a glimpse into how much power the brain has over an athlete's performance.

"We can see if the body drives it or if the brain drives it, or if they can draw themselves back into a more relaxed mental state while they're running," Bailey explained.

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