I have a number of running buddies who every year without fail enter the ballot to run the London Marathon, unfortunately for just about all of them, the outcome is the same, not successful.
Their only alternative on race day up until now has been to run locally with their normal group of friends and dream of what could have been, and ready themselves for another ballot lottery next year.
This year things are different however, with an iOS app from a group of geeks from a company called Paofit which will allow you to run the London Marathon in real time, but rather than run the cobblestones of London, you’ll be running on the rubber of your treadmill.
The way the Paofit app works is through your iOS device it calculates how fast you are running on the treadmill. The Step Sensor function uses the mobile device’s built in accelerometer to sense your movement and estimates your running speed. It’s probably as close as you can get to running the real thing. The only disappointing things is you don’t get the whole 26 miles, not even 10km, rather you run a loop just over a mile long. The loop does include Tower Bridge, so if you decide to run the full marathon distance you’ll be able to run over the iconic landmark around 25 times or so.
The other terrific thing with Paofit is that through the use of avatars, you will see other runners from around the world on the course, who like you are running the London Marathon on their treadmill. You live in New York and have a friend in LA? With this app you’ll be able to run the London Marathon together, on treadmills situated at different ends of the country.
And the Paofit app isn’t just for the London Marathon. The actual app has a number of terrific courses which are typically a lot longer in distance than the London Marathon Course with most looking to being around 6 or 8 miles, these include:
- Death Valley California
- Tuscany Italy
- Sequoia National Forrest California
- Banff Canada
- Killarney Ireland
- Bali Villages
- Plus others
Living in a quite mild climate I have never had to resort to regular use of a treadmill, in fact the only time I have used them have been for fitness testing and the like. I am an outside running , smell the fresh air sort of guy, and staring at a blank wall while I pound out 6 miles isn’t what my running is about.
The Paofit app however maybe the catalyst to change all of that. Many of you know I run ultra marathons, and the big daddy of all ultra marathons is Badwater, a 135 mile feat of endurance run each year in Death Valley where temepratures can reach 130F. Getting into the Badwater race is immensely competitive and you really need to be an elite to be accepted, mere mortals just don’t get to the start line.
With Paofit however I can see myself setting up the treadmill in my lounge room, bringing in numerous heating devices to crank the temperature up to around 120F, displaying the app on my big screen TV via AirPlay and running the 7.6 mile Death Valley Paofit course 18 times in a row. Will certainly make it a lot easier than normal for my crew to manage my every desire.
The Paofit app is fully integrated with LFopen, so on treadmills that support that standard, the app will even adjust the incline to reflect the course terrain. The Death Valley Course looks like it has some mean hills, so that would make the experience more interesting still.
The reality is though I would probably chose the Bali Villages course, and enjoy running it in air conditioned comfort rather than Bali’s sapping humidity, which I have personally experience on runs there a number of times.
Anyway, in the next little while I am going to find someone with a treadmill, and see if I can borrow it so I can give this new technology a try, I have downloaded the app and tried some of the test runs in demo mode, and it sounds and looks terrific. Will report back.
The Paofit app is available on the App Store at it is free to install, and you can try test runs at no cost. The different courses are available through in app purchase at around $7.50 each. It looks like there is no charge to run the London Marathon course.
For more information, see the Paofit website.
If you manage to install the Paofit app and run the London Marathon I would be very interested to hear how it went, email me.