When I started running seriously about two and a half years ago, I used a couple of apps to get me going. On my first run, I used Couch to 5K because I need some help and guidance starting out, but I also tracked the run using MapMyRun because somehow it felt more public and because I love tracking progress of anything.
So for the last 30 months or so, I’ve tracked every run I’ve ever done using this one app.
To be honest, I’ve found it very motivational and one of the reasons I’ve stuck with this other app and have been loathed to try any others, is because I like all of my history being in one place. When talking to other runners, they seem to all use different apps, whether Strava or RunKeeper or something by Nike etc. Well, a new website called CityStrides may change all that.
I found the site because they had been re-tweeting my workouts that get automatically posted by MapMyRun. The idea of it is to map out all of the streets you’ve run in a particular city, and track which streets you’ve run Vs the number of streets you still have to run.
Apparently I have run about 2% of Brooklyn’s streets
You can see what other people have run in their cities, and there is a leaderboard based on percentage of streets individuals have completed. Amazingly, the website actually imports all of your workouts from various apps and other websites. I don’t know every compatible running app, but MapMyRun worked, Strava apparently works and I think a number of others too. My import too most of a day, as it had hundreds of workouts to import, but it seemed to work flawlessly.
The idea is simple, seems fun, and having a look at the routes of different people in cities you know, or don’t, was good fun. There are a lot of quirks and minor issues with the site; searching is really painful, as searching for “New York” brings up every city in the state, and searching for “New York City” brings nothing, as does “New York, New York”… although Brooklyn was easy enough to find. Also finding friends, or people you know through affiliations like running clubs or other common attributes isn’t possible, and it doesn’t do anything like match you to people who run similar routes etc. Maybe there are privacy issues around doing this, but having the option to share and connect to people would be really interesting.
Not an App
There is no app, as far as I can tell (which isn’t a bad thing), and it doesn’t try and track your runs for you (you need another app to do that). Both of these things I think are positive, and the website works really well on mobile devices (at least on iPhone and iPad)
Looks good on iPhone
My hope is that the developer takes this idea much further. The back end of this thing must have a LOT of data, and that could mean a lot of really helpful information. Looking up routes with minimal traffic or road crossings (based on fastest average speed) or routes with hills or no hills, or with water fountains, or restroom facilities etc. The developer has tapped into a huge amount of information, and it looks like there is potential for this to grow in future.
On an iPad
Search Still Needs Work