World Record Attempts for Fastest Treadmill Marathon at Boston Running Expo to Feature Outside Interactive’s Virtual Runner Software
Simulation software features wireless technology to put runners on famous race courses while training on their own treadmill
Posted Tuesday, 3 April, 2012
BOSTON (April 3, 2012) – Outside Interactive’s Virtual Runner Software will be featured at the John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo April 14 and 15 as two elite U.S. distance runners will attempt to set new world records for the fastest treadmill marathon.
Michael Wardian, a world-class ultra-marathoner, will try to reclaim his world record on Saturday, April 14 at noon, while Kim Duclos, an Olympic Trials qualifier, will attempt to set the first world record for women on Sunday, April 15, also at noon.
Each runner will attempt the records while viewing Outside Interactive’s “Hopkinton to Boston 26.2 Mile” HD point of view video, controlled by the Virtual Runner Software which matches the athlete’s pace based on a Garmin Footpod each runner will wear on their shoelace.
Visitors to the Outside Interactive (www.outsideinteractive.com) booth also will be able to take a virtual run up Heartbreak Hill on the treadmill at their pace with the same elevation as the actual hill.
Outside Interactive’s founder Gary McNamee is hosting the two world-record attempts at his booth to showcase his products, which make an otherwise ho-hum treadmill training regimen more interesting by featuring known race courses and popular running venues on POV video while the viewer runs on their own existing treadmill. HD videos are shot in first person giving the feeling of actually being on the course.
Wardian (http://mikewardian.com), a three-time U.S. 50K champion, is trying to reclaim the treadmill world record that he held for two years (2:23.58) before it was broken in 2006 by Eric Blake, the current record holder at 2:21.40. For Duclos, a 2:38 marathoner with two top-10 L.A. Marathon finishes, the key will be to finish the 26.2 miles on the treadmill to become the first world record holder at that distance.
The first-ever interactive software running system provides a needed spark to treadmill training.
“Virtual Runner offers an alternative to the doldrums of treadmill running,” said McNamee. “The goal is to enable runners to view popular courses and running routes interactively and at their own pace even in inclement weather or when on the road, deployed overseas or traveling away from the course.”
If runners don’t have access to a computer, Outside Interactive also offers a line of Pre-Paced DVDs where a simple DVD player, TV and treadmill are all that’s needed. Runners select the “pace” or speed (7:00, 8:00, 9:00 or 10:00-mile pace) at which the video will play, sync with their treadmill, hit start, and begin running while a selected running route plays on the screen.
Outside Interactive will be giving away different Pre-Paced DVDs throughout the Expo from a growing library of iconic courses such as Boston, Falmouth (Cape Cod) and the TD Beach to Beacon (Maine Coast), as well as popular running routes along Boston’s Charles River and New York’s Central Park and international scenic destinations like the hills and rice fields of Bali and the Australian Outback. Nine videos are presently available from the initial product launch for Virtual Runner with many more on the way.
One of the more exciting features of the product is the ability for users to create their own running route videos and upload to Virtual Runner’s video repository. The videos will play interactively as well allowing the user to run to their favorite local routes or relive a course they shot while on vacation all on their existing treadmill at their own pace.
Outside Interactive also is utilizing the technology offered by Garmin, the leading brand in fitness technology.
"Outside Interactive's Virtual Runner software is a nice compliment to Garmin's product offerings,” said Stan Brajer, Director of Fitness Sales and Marketing for Garmin International. “The same data that is uploaded to Garmin Connect can also provide a visually interactive experience to the runner while they are on their treadmill – that has a lot of appeal."
The Virtual Runner software is compatible with select Garmin® accessories utilizing ANT+™ wireless technology. ANT+ is the de facto standard in wireless for sports watches and accessories in the health and fitness industry.
Virtual Runner consists of software (compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7), a Garmin footpod and USB wireless receiver to connect to your laptop or PC allowing runners to train viewing the professionally-created HD videos shot from a runner's vantage point. To enhance the training experience, an on screen “dashboard” can also be enabled with the click of a mouse. The dashboard provides real-time information to the runner such as overall time, cadence, pace, distance and heart rate (if the user is wearing an optional heart rate monitor).
A “shuffle capability will be available on a future release where with the click of a mouse, your run can be randomized,” McNamee said. “You may begin your run on Cape Cod while the next mile could be in the rice fields of Bali and the next mile in the Australian Outback, followed by Central Park, etc. Every mile will keep things fresh and keep you guessing.”
He added, “iPhone and iPad apps for Virtual Runner are also under development for release later this year. Viewed directly from the iPad for use with Apple TV’s Airplay, the videos can stream directly to the user’s HDTV.”
McNamee, a life-long Boston resident and serial entrepreneur, developed the products after getting frustrated with not being able to train properly for the B.A.A. Boston Marathon in New England’s unpredictable and often harsh weather.
“I remember thinking, what if I could film a course and view it while I ran on my treadmill,” he said. “I just took my idea and ran with it, so to speak.”
The courses were shot in a wide-screen format from a runner’s POV with Dolby Digital sound to create a realistic experience, he added. “The best part with Virtual Runner is you can run any pace, speeding up or slowing down along the way, and the video stays in sync with your movements, just like you’re out there learning the landmarks on the course or just enjoying the scenery.”
Familiarity with a course is advantageous for competitive runners.
"Having a chance to preview a course beforehand is a great tool to have," said Dave McGillivray, President of DMSE Sports who serves as race director for some of the country’s most prestigious road races. "Often people from out of town fly in and with such a short window of time, they don't have the chance to see the race course beforehand. What better way to preview a course than at your own pace and on your own treadmill?”
To see a sample of the videos, visit the following links:
· Hopkinton to Boston 26.2 Miles (http://vimeo.com/23344036)
· A 10K Run Through Central Park (http://vimeo.com/26263001)
· A 7 Mile Run Around Boston’s Charles River (http://vimeo.com/26188030)
· A Run with Bill Rodgers (http://vimeo.com/27548172)
· A Run Through the Hills and Rice Fields of Bali (http://vimeo.com/37962211)
· A Sunrise Run in the Australian Outback (http://vimeo.com/37966610)
For additional information, visit www.outsideinteractive.com or call 508-238-9500 or 888-880-9264. A video demonstration can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/26057578.
Garmin is a registered trademark and ANT+ is a trademark of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.
About Outside Interactive
Outside Interactive, a Boston-based startup, is a developer of revolutionary running software and DVDs that feature famous race courses and running routes around the globe. Founded by Gary McNamee, an avid runner and entrepreneur, the firm’s products are available at www.outsideinteractive.com. For additional information, visit www.outsideinteractive.com or call 508-238-9500 or 888-880-9264.