Imagine running a race remotely without even being at the physical location for the actual event.
For many runners in Cape Cod, Mass. this past weekend, that was reality. According to a Mashable report, several runners competed in the New Balance Falmouth Road Race from home on their treadmill simply by downloading an app on their tablet.
The virtual runner app, created by Outside Interactive, lets runners compete remotely, although they see video footage from the actual course, simulating the real-life run. The goal of the app is to allow runners, who, for whatever reason, can't attend an actual event or aren't good enough, to compete.
With the Cape Cod race alone, 3,000 runners were denied entry because of limitations or because they couldn't make the trip to Mass., signaling there's a big potential market for virtual participants.
"This gives them an opportunity to sign up like they would [for] the normal live race, but at a reduced fee and they would then receive an email that would contain the virtual runner app for iPad [or] Android, the course video, an activation code, a downloadable bib, which they can actually use," Gary McNamee, president and founder of Outside Interactive, said to Mashable.
As of now, the weekend total of virtual participants stands at 83, as they saved money with the $40 virtual cost compared with the $65 actual race fee.
One runner that Mashable spoke to, Jennifer Walker, had planned to run the Cape Cod race from her local gym in Baltimore using the app.
"There's so many runners that just do it for the experience and the course," said McNamee, "and having the virtual run you get that feel of being on the course and you get to experience it still in some way."