Runkeeper LIVE - great runner safety feature potential

Posted on April 18, 2011 | 3 minute read

I signed up for Runkeeper Elite tonight for one reason and one reason only - Runkeeper LIVE.

Now that it’s getting cooler, I’m slowly getting back into running. I’ve been hoping to run the 12k City to Surf this year and thought it might be a great idea to see if I can run 12k tonight! I know, I’m a fricking genius. Up until now I’ve only been doing runs up to 5km in the recent months and I’ve only run 10km two or three times in my entire life…last year…or maybe even in 2009.

Anyway, seeing as the days are getting shorter C was understandably worried about me running 12k in the dark. So I came up with an idea - join Runkeeper Elite for $20 per year, have C sign up for a Runkeeper account, and allow him to track my route via Runkeepr LIVE. For those who aren’t familiar with LIVE, it’s a feature that allows people to see exactly where you are during your run on a map. I told him exactly what route I’d be taking on my run, so he knew that he could keep an eye on my progress and if my course deviated he’d call me to make sure everything was ok.

The problem was that Runkeeper LIVE seems to be more of a public sharing feature rather than a security feature, and it seems like such a short leap for Runkeeper to turn it into a great safety option for runners. To enable Runkeeper LIVE, you have to make your map publicly visible either to everyone or to your Street Team. So for C to see my map I added him to my Street Team and made the map available there. Now, I have a few people in my Street Team and I’m sure none of them would kidnap me in the dead of night, but that doesn’t mean I want to share my exact real-time whereabouts with everyone. This also keeps me from being very social with other Runkeeper locals as before I add anyone to the Street Team, I’ll need to be sure that I feel comfortable enough for them to see exactly where I am during my run.

My suggestions to Runkeeper would be:

  • Allow the LIVE map to be shared with a particular user and no one else

  • Perhaps even allow an email to be sent to a nominated address (in this case C’s) when a user starts their run (if they choose to enable the email for that particular run). The email would contain a unique URL for that individual run. This way the person keeping an eye on the runner doesn’t need to be a Runkeeper user, which keeps useless accounts from being created just to track people, like what we had to do with C.

I would gladly pay $20 per year for just this kind of security feature alone, without any of the other Elite add-ons.

What do you think? If you’re a Runkeeper user, have you ever used Runkeeper LIVE? Did you use it to share your run publicly or for security purposes?

PS: By the way, I did end up running 12km in 1 hour and 11 minutes. I’m quite proud of myself, but trying not to think of what my legs will feel like tomorrow.

For the record, I know that jumping from 5k to 12k in one run is dangerous. I’m an idiot and risked doing some real damage. Would I do it again? Now that I know I can get through 12km, I’m looking forward to doing it again when my legs recover from tonight. Will I ever learn? I hope so, and like to think that I will never make such a drastic leap again.




Categories:fitness
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