Chasing BOLT!


I couldn’t hold a conversation with video gamers. I don’t know the games, much less language. But when I heard about the mobile game BOLT!, I had to get it. And little did I know that it was free.

So I have been playing it for a few days and I am getting better, although every time I get into a zone with Usain flying over barrels and under balloons, he gets nailed by a pirate’s cannonball and is left in a pile of dust with just his eyeballs remaining. Game over.

So what does BOLT! have to do with HepsTrack.com?

Well, Usain’s official game was developed by a member of the Heps Nation — Yale’s Matt Taylor. A steeplechaser who graduated in 2000, Taylor was the fourth Bulldog to run sub-nine in his specialty, but that number has been soaring in recent years.

And while Yalies were chasing his marks, Taylor began an entrepreneurial track career right away. By 2002 he was on his own, working in the production truck for NBC during the New York City Marathon. And he was writing for variety of outlets, including Runners World and Running Times.

Then he decided that the sport needed more video content. Not just races, but behind-the-scenes storytelling. So he set out to follow 11 NCAA cross country programs, including Dartmouth, for a blogumentary.

This is where I first heard of Taylor’s ventures. Somewhere along the way, as I worked in the Ivy Office, someone sent me a link to the doc and it was fascinating. I recall the Big Green team running into President Jim Wright’s office and inviting him to come to Heps. I have a recollection of a young Ben True playing with firecrackers in the video.

That piece, called Chasing Tradition, led to Taylor’s entire “Chasing” series. Next up was Chasing Kimbia, as he was embedded with Kenyan marathoners in training. Then Chasing Glory, the story of the 2008 U.S. marathon hopefuls. And finally, Chasing Bolt, where he had amazing access in following Usain’s metoeric rise in the track & field world.

He’d work with Bolt as the head of marketing for Puma and was among the driving forces in the creation of Brand Bolt. Knowing Bolt to be a big-time gamer, Taylor asked him if he wanted to do a mobile game together. Bolt agreed and now we have BOLT!

Thanks, Matt. I suspect I will get really good at it when I get back East and have significant train time!

2 Responses to “Chasing BOLT!”

  1. Eric Kerchberger says:

    I love the post and have really enjoyed Matt’s various “Chasing” series, but just a quick point of contention. Yale has had three sub-9 steeplers in the past three years, and went 3-4-6 at Heps in 2010 and 3-5 in 2011 in the steeple.

    http://yalebulldogs.com/sports/m-track/2010-11/files/All-Time_Outdoor_Top_15.pdf 

    • Brett Hoover says:

      Lazy me! I did a search and found the list… but it was obviously an old list. Very sorry for the inaccuracies and it is now corrected. Thanks much. My apologies.