As we all know, long distance runners are lonely. You’re out there on your own, feet hitting the pavement, strange birds pecking at your hair as you scramble up and down alien streets at dawn or dusk. It’s good to have friends out there.
That’s the goal of this new iPhone app, called Runens, a goal that, I feel, so far falls short. You set a goal level – 5K, 10K, Ultramarathon – and then “share” your runs with with the app. It ranks you according to miles run and speed and you can have “hood fights” which are battles between neighborhoods. The goal of this app is similar to JoggingBuddy.com’ – essentially the socialization of a usually stoic, solitary endeavor – but, obviously, this thing is app-based and is, thus far, a bit barren in the social aspect.
In the end, this app is basically a very good running log. The social portions are interesting but considerably underdeveloped and although you can tap a few buttons to track your run, this doesn’t make running any more social than passing someone on a trail: you’re both basically running alone. You can follow runners on a built-in leaderboard and see other runners on a map, but it’s not like you can tap one of the glowing icons to initiate a race or make a running buddy and, to be fair, it’s not like I’d want someone tapping my icon to find out where and who I was.
In terms of features I think Runkeeper has this app beat but in terms of price – Runens is free [UPDATE: just noticed RunKeeper was free now as well] – the app can make an interesting addition to your daily regimen. A few glaring issues including lost network connectivity and GPS issues marred my experience with the app but it’s brand new and produced by one guy in New York, Marcio Cyrillo, and worth a few tries before ash-canning it.