4 must-have mobile apps for trail runners
Photo by Kenny Louie/Creative Commons 2.0
He’d added “bonus miles” onto already challenging race courses, like the HURT and Javelina 100-milers, by taking wrong turns. On runs in places he traveled to for work, he would often set out to find a scenic spot and find himself instead in a sketchy back alley.
Then, in 2013, he adopted a retired guide dog and had a revelation: what if there was a guide that could lead trail runners on popular and scenic routes around the world?
Slagel, 42, of Vancouver, British Columbia, set to work developing an app using Google directions but found the simple “point A to point B” direction systems that existed were designed for traveling efficiently, not logging a given number of miles and taking in the best views. So he started creating routes by consulting the people who knew them.
“We initially created routes by working with local running experts, running stores and races and finding recommend routes online, then we would create them [in the app],” Slagel says.
Today, RunGo offers turn-by-turn voice navigation along popular routes and several well-known race courses, including those of the Western States 100, Squamish 50K, Angeles Crest 100 and HURT 100, allowing you to train on a course before racing it. If you don’t mind running with headphones, RunGo will talk you through every twist and turn of a course, never requiring you to glance at a map or phone mid-stride; moreover, the app relies on GPS and does not require an internet connection, meaning it will work no matter how far you go into the backcountry.
While RunGo’s list of routes is far from comprehensive, Slagel says users will be able to create their own routes by running them or drawing them in the app, and that RunGo will eventually have official “ambassadors” who can create and share routes for other users.
RunGo is the latest in a growing line of apps designed to help trail runners find—and navigate—new routes and trails. Below is a small sampling of what else is out there; be sure to tell us what you think about these and other apps you’ve used in the comments below.