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IAAPA 2018: Footprints From the Heart and the roller coaster we are fortunate to be on

EOS Rides supply animatronic King Kong and spinning coaster to CarthageLand Tunisia

Clack, clack, clack, clack. We all know that ominous sound of a  roller coaster as it takes you up the lift hill. It was also the sound of my knees at the annual Footprints From the Heart run held during the IAAPA Expo.

By Martin Howe, CEO of Teq4 & Immersivity

Clack, clack, clack, clack is also like the sound of the barista bashing out the grinds; preparing the morning caffeine hit before launching you through a sequence of crazy highs, drops, twists and turns of another week of IAAPA. Just like many of you, this year a record 42,000 of you, I had a roller coaster of a week at IAAPA’s centennial anniversary in Orlando. Early mornings, late nights, deals won, one lost, old friends and new ones. What a ride I was having, albeit a now familiar one.

Running for a cause with Blooloop and the Carb Loaders

Martin Howe teq4
Martin Howe

But this year my week got spun around. Charlie Blooloop‘ had gently twisted my arm to join him and the Blooloop team on the Footprints From the Heart annual run; organised by Give Kids the World Village charity, which provides free week-long holiday accommodation for children with critical illnesses and their families, in a beautiful purpose-built themed village.

All that was asked of me was to get up a little early and run five kilometres. I’ve not run that far in too many years, and even then occasionally I’d slow to a fast walk. But this year I was determined to run the whole distance, regardless that I hadn’t trained at all leading up to it. It’s a fantastic cause I told myself; and I’m in such a fortunate position, while many of these families that this great charity supports are dealing with hardships that I simply cannot comprehend. The least I could do was keep running.

Making a difference in any way we can

So run it I did, and yes it hurt, and again the next day trudging the show floor.

But what had left a far greater and lasting impression was seeing the kids in their pyjamas with their parents; who got up early morning to wave and cheer us along, thanking us for making the effort. By comparison, it was not an effort at all. And I was so appreciative to be able to make even a modest contribution and seeing first-hand what a difference this great charity makes to these kids and their families.

Give Kids the World Runners

One way or another, we in this industry make our living by providing families around the world with some form of entertainment. We’re fortunate to be on this life-long roller-coaster and well enough to not have to get off. Last Thursday morning, 300 of us, plus our generous sponsors, were able to pay a little back. Thank you Charlie for roping me in, it was a highlight of my year.

Footprints From the Heart 2019?

So please come along and join us for your opportunity to pay a little back too. Wouldn’t it be great to see maybe a thousand of us there next year, just over 2% of those attending. You don’t even have to run. There’s a mile walk course too and there’s even opportunity for business networking and a free plug.

Look, WhiteWater were running. They launched a sophisticated park wide management and guest insight system called Vantage. A few of us techies concluded it was one of the highlights of the show. You should check it out.

7th Sense were also running, and here’s proof!

Give Kids the World 7thSense runners

They previewed a new pixel box, that’s capable of manipulating pixels from a wide range of sources and formats up to 120 fps, at high dynamic range at resolutions far beyond 4k. Due out early 2019, it’s likely to be another winner from this high-speed-pixel-house of innovation.

LCI Productions were there too. They have seemingly cornered the market, particularly in the UK, for seasonal attractions. Once again they brought the Longleat Christmas Tree out of the decorations box, and this year added John Lewis’s Christmas advert featuring Elton John to their impressive repertoire.

Not too late to contribute…

And of course Charlie and his Blooloop team ran it. Did you know that Blooloop is the most read online magazine in the industry? Sign up to their daily newsletter if you haven’t already.

For the 39,700 of you who didn’t get to make it to the run, there’s still time to help. Just click here or here to chip in a dollar or two. It all helps, enormously. Thank you.

Images credit: Give Kids the World Village, Martin Howe.

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Martin Howe

Martin Howe is CEO of TEQ4 Ltd. TEQ4 designs and builds unique immersive attractions and interactive experiences for museums, science centers and theme parks around the world.

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