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WalkJogRun: Why We Really Love Technology

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 30, 2010 6:40PM

The WalkJogRun iPhone app is available in (you guessed it) the iTunes store.
Chicago goes crazy for marathons. So we’re not surprised WalkJogRun, a website that mashes up Google Maps with user-submitted running routes searchable by your location, hails from here. And since WolkJogRun provides useful stuff for any level of runner, we’re also not surprised it made TIME magazine’s list of Top 50 Websites for 2010. If you’re gearing up to train for your next half marathon or just want to get outside to enjoy the fall weather before it slips away, we’d recommend checking it out.

WalkJogRun adds functionality to social networking. Although the website founders put hours of their free time into developing and improving the site, the website also succeeds thanks to the 800,000 routes submitted by users. There are plenty of those. WalkJogRun receives about 10,000 hits a day and has sold 30,000 copies of its iPhone app, which launched last year.

It's is pretty simple. If you’re looking for a running or cycling route, enter your address and nearby routes will come up. You can filter routes by distance and map your own. The app offers the same functionality as the website and uses GPS to locate nearby routes.

The app started out as (and continues to be) a side project. Adam Howitt developed the first version of the site to help him track his training for a 10k, then brought designer Jeff Kenny on board to launch a site in 2005 that other people could get some use out of. Once they integrated Google Maps, traffic started flooding in. “We've continued to add features important to runners without compromising our standards at the whim of investors (since we don't have any),” said Howitt. WalkJogRun now also offers training plans, can calculate distance, speed and calories burned, and can be used to track your training for an upcoming race. The iPhone app development was a long and arduous process that involved a lot of scavenging the Web for snippets of code to make it work. Howitt estimates they put 400+ hours of development into the app.

There are lots of similar sites out there, which often bring up the same tired list of routes and instead offer a steady stream of pop-up ads. WalkJogRun understands “user friendly,” and next time we’re motivated to tie our running shoes, we’ll check this first.