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Review: RaceRunner Virtual Racing App (Running App for Social Distancing)

A personal review of the Race Runner app

A runners review about the Canadian made, globally used, RaceRunner App for IOS and Android. In 2019, RaceRunner became part of the of the Sport Fintech Group and was rebranded JustMove.

As runners, we all have our reasons why we push ourselves kilometre after kilometre – the inner daemon that drives us towards that next personal best (PB).  For most of us, technology has become a critical part of our regime, whether it is heart rate monitor for HR training, our favourite running watch (I love my Garmin 920XT although I admit, I dream about the Fenix 5 – Black Sapphire with Black Band), and apps ranging from EndomondoMapMyRun, and Strava.  Each app in our arsenal serves a purpose, such as great annual statistics with Endomondo, segments and community with Strava, or simply some of the best features without a paid subscription with MapMyRun.  A new player in the game takes our drive one step further with Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) based RaceRunner.

RaceRunner is a Running App that allows runners from around the world to join and compete in real time races or to join with a buddy to run together – That is right, race in real time, from any where, with anyone! Pretty cool right?

IMG: RaceRunner App for IOS
RaceRunner app during a run – Head to Head with voice prompts.

Build by runners for runners, the passionate team at RaceRunner describes their Android and IOS running app as   “a whole new app that enables running enthusiastically around the world to race each other on real-time. The new app goes on to make your daily running experience more fun and exciting by adding super features like Buddy Run and Free Run”.

With Hundreds of Running Apps available, Why Create another?

When asked why the RaceRunner team wanted to jump into a market of dozens of running apps, they replied with a question of their own.  What do most running Apps do? They just track your run, log the data and provide pretty graphs and tables. Some Apps provide data analytics by giving you some insight into your performance.  RaceRunning can make your daily running can be more exciting if you add in some competition. Sometimes it’s fun to run with a friend or race a group of people. These two things can motivate more people run more frequently.

The main feature of the app, Racing is focused on bringing together individuals who like the competitive aspect of running and enabled them to connect with runners around the world and race each other in real-time. In addition to regular races scheduled by RaceRunner, users also have the freedom to create their own group race against friends, colleagues, or anyone across the globe.  Using RaceRunner App you can create a race and invite your friends, no matter where they are. Everyone can run in different geographic locations, but at the same time together in a real-time race.

The App is voice-guided, you will hear your position in the race, how far you behind to next person and your time to finish. Your friends can watch the live race from their phone and send you cheer messages.

My First Impressions

IMG: RaceRunner App during a race (IOS)
Heading for Gold on my 5K race.

I have not logged a lot of kilometres with the app however after a few runs (5 runs, total of 20 km) I have a good sense of what is in store for this newest player in the running app world.  I became aware of the app earlier this spring through a social media post and quickly jumped into the queue for the Race Runner Public Beta Registration.  Racer number 0535 my registration email proclaimed.

The app has been a refreshing change and to simply hitting start on my Garmin and going for a run.  The voice prompts for typical pace and distance combined with information such as how far ahead or behind the closet runners is a nice motivational pick me up to push myself a bit harder.

Races can be either Live Races or and Offline Race.

  • Live Races are scheduled to start at the same time no matter where you are across the globe.  Once you log into the app, you get a count down and the race is off for the scheduled distance.
  • Offline Races allow you to run your race at your leisure between the allowed dates (August 14th and August 19 for example).  The winner is determined at the end of the time period based on all completed runners.

My first live race had me running at 8:00 PM local time and included runners from central Canada (Winnipeg) and California.  The voice prompts were useful and informed me of my time, pace and more importantly what position I was in and how far behind or ahead of the closest runners.  One gold medal for me to add to my statistics.

Community and Rewards

Finding someone to run with, even virtually, is a strong positive for the RaceRunner application.  Follow their run statistics, give them kudos on the news feed.  One of the newest community features just implemented this week allows runners to take a photo while you run and share on the RaceRunner feed and social media.

HINT: Connect to my RaceRunner account with Promo Code Dl3244.

Rewards is another cool feature in the RaceRunning app.  Each run you do or race your host will contribute to your point score.  More points are awarded for Races and Buddy Runs than free runs and even higher points for real-time races.

You can redeem points any time before the expiry date by selecting from the rewards available (currently a new pair of shoes for 7,000 points).

Running Statistics

IMG: My RaceRunner profile.
My RaceRunner profile.

Statistics are available for total runs, total kilometres, and total for the month.  Histograms of pace by distance (3K, 5k, 10k, 21K, 42K) and all runs is also available along with calories burnt, and world ranking (I am currently 56th – I ROCK!).

Where the App Could Improve?

  1. We can’t race all of the time – an app that motivates us to run at race pace daily should motivate us to train as well.  For example, rather then the winner going to the fastest time during the race, something as simple as the percentage of your run maintaining a pre-set pace such as your LSD pace could be used to determine the winner.  For example, my LSD pace is 6:30 per km.  Over my total run, was I on pace 50%, 75%, 95%.  Closest to 100% wins.
  2. Lack of API Connectivity / Partnerships – tracking our runs and distance is critical to many of us. If nothing else, it lets us know when we should start putting our pennies aside for a new pair of shoes. I am not sure what your mobile phone is like, however for those runners that rely on their smartphones for capturing their latest run, having more than one GPS enabled app running at a time will put a serious dent in our battery longevity. Having the ability to upload to Strava or similar at the end of the run would be great.
  3. Not all Routes are the Same – It doesn’t matter how fast your average pace is, add more than a few hills to your route and you will be hard fetched to make up the time, even on the downhills. However, RaceRunner considers all races equal.  By capturing elevation change during the race would allow time bonus’s to be assigned to your race time to help establish the race winner in 1) Time, and 2) Time – a bonus for technical aspects of the race.
  4. Age (all are created equal) – We know sanctioned races have age categories for a reason.   As much as I would like, the chances of me being able to beat an equally as fit 20-year-old in my mid 40’s is a challenge at best.  Consideration of age in world standings or race results could take the application to the next level.

My Next Run

How can it already be August – where has the summer gone?  At the same time, I am sure we are all welcoming that sweet spot in temperatures that we find throughout our fall runs.  To end off the month (and the summer), the RaceRunner team has scheduled a quick 3 KM run for 7 PM local time.  So far 4 runners in the mix.  A great excuse to throw on my runners after dinner and hit the flats in front of my house for an out and back.  A tough crowd in the mix – Ivan from Los Angeles has the best pace of 05:52.  Let’s see how well I can contend?

Technical issue – sat out the race.

I had a bit of a technical issue with the App jumping into tonight’s 3K race as it would not let me join a 7 o’clock race at 6:58 (2 minutes to spare) so I had to sit this race out. As expected, Ivan had a great run. My next RaceRunner race / run I will be sure to post a few more pictures.

The RaceRunner app is only a few months old, version 1.0.5 and counting.  With a fresh approach to running apps, I look forward to its evolution.  Although it can’t replace some of the great features I enjoy in Strava, I would argue that is not the goal of RaceRunner. Looking for someone to run with, or need that push on your solo runs to push your pace a bit faster then you can do alone, give the RaceRunner app a try.

Download the App Now

The RaceRunner application is available for Android and IOS.   When you download the app and create your account remember to enter Promo Code DI3244 to earn reward points.

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Mark is a foodie in training, photographer, Starbucks addict, runner, cyclist, and single parent living outside of Toronto, Ontario. Living with Crohn’s Disease and Diabetes, life for this Transportation Planner and RPP can be an interesting mix.

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