For runners on a map quest
Die-hard runners can choose from an assortment of tools to track their progress: sport watches, GPS units and even cellphones with maps and fitness features.
Now, a new, run-mapping website has joined the tech melee. At www.mapmyrun.com, which launched last summer, runners and walkers can use Google-mapping technology to plot their routes with a few mouse clicks.
The map is accompanied by calculators that spit out information on pace, speed, covered distance and calories burned. It can upload data from a runner’s global positioning system and use the information to plot the course the runner took.
Or, conversely, tech-savvy runners can take a route from the website and import it into their GPS -- which can display the route-in-progress on its screen, along with current location, heading and position.
Most importantly, says founder Kevin Callahan, the site’s “sharing features” enable runners to post their routes and compare their runs with friends and teammates.
“We’re trying to be the ‘MySpace’ of the running and fitness world,” says Callahan, a dotcom veteran who launched the site more as a hobby than a business. “We want people to take advantage of the gadgets they have.”
Mapmyrun.com isn’t the only website to offer services of these types: Among others, www.gmap-pedometer.com and www.walkjogrun.net also assist runners with mapping technology.
But users such as running coach Shannon Porges rate Mapmyrun.com as superior on some features.
“I’ve tried other sites, but find this one simpler to use,” Porges says.
Since its launch, the site -- still under construction -- has attracted a growing number of followers. It currently draws about 25,000 page views a day, representing about 5,000 to 7,000 users, up from 3,000 to 5,000 a month ago, Callahan says.
The site’s community feature is particularly helpful for Porges, who coaches for Team Danskin Training, a national women’s triathlon training organization.
“I map out mini-triathlons for them and e-mail them the map so they can familiarize themselves with the routes,” she says.
“Even the technical folks believe that it is very accurate,” says running guru and author Jeff Galloway, who says that a number of friends use the site.
But, he cautions, before embarking on long runs, runners and walkers need to research the safety of an area, as well as the traffic and terrain.