The Chicago Marathon is one of the best running events in the world. Part of the World Marathon Majors, the race attracts some of the world’s top talent. And then there are the rest of us, who have trained all summer just to cross the finish line.
I’ll be running again this year, but I realize that not everyone will partake in the 26.2 mile hike on Sunday. Some will be spectating by choice, watching loved ones cross the finish line, while others will be left with no choice as the route cuts through a number of Chicago neighborhoods.
Whether you’re a spectator or a runner, here are 5 apps to help you with either endeavor.
For the runners
Runkeeper Live – Runkeeper is the most expensive option if you want to broadcast your progress to your friends. It costs $19.99 for Runkeeper Live, which enables the application to broadcast your progress online through the RunKeeper website. The app itself is actually a good app for tracking your athletic abilities. The only drawback is that the app uses the phone’s GPS to track speed and distance. Most phone batteries won’t last the entire marathon with constant GPS use. You can also track your heart rate using a bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor.
Nike Running – Formerly only available for iPhone, the Nike branded app now has an Android version. The app does not offer live tracking for runners, however, it does offer some social media feedback. You can post your run start to Facebook, and friends who ‘like’ your status translate to ‘Cheers’ in the app. The iPhone version of the app can use a footpod to track speed and distance, and a bluetooth HRM as well.
For the spectators
RacerChaser – Updated for 2012, this application is more of a prediction application rather than a tracker. For those tracking runners, the app can tell you their predicted pace to complete the Marathon. Based on this prediction, users of the app can place themselves in the right place at the right time to watch their runner go by. Again, this app’s drawback is if something happens along the way or he or she slows down, the prediction won’t be accurate. So be ready to adjust accordingly. This app is available for $0.99 for the iPhone.
Foursquare – This application can be especially useful if you don’t have a runner to track. Most of the buisnesses and locations along the Marathon route will have viewing parties, specials and tons of crazy spectators. Foursquare can help find the more popular locations. Some of the runners may even check-in on their smartphones as they are running by.
And finally, the holy grail of Chicago Marathon apps
Bank of America Running Tracker – This takes all of the guess work out of apps and what not. When you sign up for Runner Tracking, you can get either a Text Message, a Facebook Status update, or a Tweet with said runner’s progress. This will be the first year that the social media component is being used. The updates will come in key locations during the race as a runner crosses the timing mat.
So there you have it. If you’re not running the marathon this weekend, sit back and enjoy the view. If you are running, good luck, stay safe and I will see you out there!