Monthly Archives: February 2013

Running app idea – ‘Running Buddies’ (WIP title)

I’ve had a random thought for a phone app for runners, who want to run with friends or family who aren’t at the same location as they are. So you could be running in England, with a friend in Germany.

The app would be installed on your mobile phone and use the internal GPS. You invite friends to go for a run (via the apps text message service), stating the departure time and distance / pace you plan to run.

Each participant (maximum of two others) confirms if they wish to take part, and then confirm when they are ready to start.
When all parties are ready to start, the app will give a count down and you start your running.

The app will display the speed and distance covered for each of the runners in real time, along with how far ahead or behind you are, so you can try to match each others pace.
Also an audible alert of the other participants pace and distance ahead/behind can be set to sound every 1km / 1mile.

As well as just running with friends, it can be used to race against friends.
eg, set it to a distance of 10k, when all have signalled they are ready, the countdown begins and you are off in a race. “2km in 9min23 – Jill is 14 seconds ahead of you” the audio would play out, giving you the incentive to run faster to catch up.

Obviously one person could be running downhill, while the other uphill, which wouldn’t be a fair race. Fear not, I have thought of this too. You can set the app to ‘True distance’ or ‘Grade-adjusted distance’ On grade adjusted, using a complicated algorithm (no I haven’t thought of that), one person running on the flat will cover 1 mile, where as another person running uphill would need to cover slightly less that 1 mile. The higher the grade climbed, the less distance needed to make the adjusted 1 mile.

There is also the safety aspect of running in numbers. Even though you are running alone, you will soon notice if one of the others has stopped. They can go to the menu, and click an ‘exhausted’, ‘need a rest’, ‘injured’ button which will alert the others via a warning sound and flashing up on the screen.
If a runner seems to have stopped, but does not give a reason, then it maybe time to give them a quick call to make sure everything is fine.

I was just about to post this, when I thought of adding a pro version. For a small one off fee, you would get additional features. The feature I have thought of is a ‘Push to Talk’ feature. Using the 3g/4g network, and basically turning the app into a Walkie Talkie, you push and hold the phone ‘send’ button, you record what you have to say, and that message is delivered to the friend you are running with. They can then push to talk back. Therefore, as well as running alone with each other in real time, you can also have a conversation.

I have no idea if something like this already exists (but if it doesn’t, I am hereby copyrighting it 😀 ) and I also have no idea how to create something like this, it was just a random fun idea I thought of.