Outside Interactive, a Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based developer of the Virtual Runner race course simulator for treadmill runners, has announced that Polar exec Stan Brajer has joined its Board of Advisors. Brajer’s role will be to advise on expanding the company’s technology to Race Directors, allowing for the creation of an online digital race participation platform. In addition, he will also advise on approaching and introducing the technology to new industries.
When used with a treadmill and iPad or Android tablet, runners can interactively experience a race course via Virtual Runner, enabling them to see the cheering crowds, feel and learn the course at their exact pace, note the landmarks along the way and even experience the incline grades of the hills on the course.
“We’re excited and honoured to have Stan join our Advisory Board,” said Gary McNamee, President and Founder of Outside Interactive. “Stan has unique experience in the multiple industries we are involved with and plan to approach later this year. In addition to his senior role in companies such as Polar USA, he has also had experience as a CEO for a sports technology start-up company, allowing him to understand the day to day challenges I face in my role with Outside Interactive. The combination of this experience is invaluable.”
“I first met Gary and saw his technology on exhibit at a previous Running USA Conference,” said Stan Brajer. “Races today are struggling with increased competition, keeping their event fresh, giving their sponsors more bang for their buck and raising awareness and funds for charity. Gary’s technology is like a check list of solving all these problems and then some.
“Imagine being able to bring a race to a global stage, letting people see the crowds and landmarks along the course and even feel the hills at their exact pace? It’s like he’s giving a marathon a 26.2 mile worldwide commercial.”
While “virtual” races are nothing new, where people run around their neighbourhood or local track, Outside Interactive is aiming to bring things to a new level by turning cardio equipment into race course simulators, allowing runners to actually see and experience a course.
Race Directors can now tap into the potential of a global audience, no longer confined by geographical boundaries or race entrant caps. Outside Interactive adds that this will create entirely new revenue streams for the race and its charities, while creating global exposure for the race and its sponsors using in-video advertising capabilities.
‘From health clubs to military bases, hotel chains to homes, anywhere you find a treadmill, you can be part of a race. In addition, with the simulated course, a race can now be a year-round opportunity for contests, giveaways, fundraisers and even tying in guaranteed entry into the live race day event.’
Outside Interactive’s Gary McNamee, went on to add, “While we are starting with treadmills, we hope to one day be able to work with races to offer other activities as part of their event. Imagine being able to spin or even row your way through your favourite race as an official paid entrant? Our technology can open events up to a whole new world of people, literally!
“In addition, our ability to create a race day production, captures all the electricity and excitement of the event, giving races the ability to showcase their event to a highly targeted global audience.”
Virtual Runner is available for the iPad on iTunes and for Android tablets in Google Play. The app allows for manual adjustment of the video speed to match the runner’s pace by minutes per mile or kilometre. Also available on certain models is an ability to pair tablets with smart Bluetooth compatible treadmills, controlling not only first-person course video speed, but also the treadmill’s incline and decline to match the terrain of the course.