RaceJoy app to make Ohio debut at Glass City MarathonWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
A new app developed by a company with Northwest Ohio connections will make its Ohio debut at the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon on April 27.
The app, called RaceJoy, was released about a year ago by Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based developer TriPerta, based on the personal experiences of owners James and Shelly Harris as both athletes and spectators.
“James used to do triathlons and Ironmans and I’d be out there with the kids all day trying to cheer him on,” Shelly said. “It can be very tiring for the spectator and stressful. We wanted something that could let us know where the other was and ways to connect in with each other.”
Shelly’s mother moved to the Toledo area for a job and now her parents and several siblings call Maumee and Holland home.
The app also offers course and parking maps, Expo information and race progress updates, which can be automatically posted to social media.
“Ninety-eight percent of the app is free, provided by the Glass City Marathon for participants and spectators. Everything you want to know about the race is in there,” Shelly said.
“You get results within moments of crossing the finish line,” she said. “It’s very instantaneous.”
A 99-cent upgrade called Phone Fun can use the GPS technology in a smartphone to track a runner’s progress. If the runner is carrying his or her phone, a spectator can watch the runner’s progression along the route in real time.
“Some tools are estimators. With this, you’ll see them actually move on the course,” Shelly said.
The tracking feature is also expected to be helpful to relay runners since the app gives a “proximity alert” when a specific runner is nearby, Shelly said.
Another popular feature of the Phone Fun upgrade is the ability to send runners an “audio cheer.”
“There will be thousands of those going out on race day,” she said.
Audio alerts is a new Phone Fun feature debuting during the Glass City Marathon, Shelly said. As runner s cross a timing mat, their phones will announce the mile mark, pace and estimated finish time so they don’t have to look down at their phones, she said.
The Harrises have both run the Glass City Marathon’s half-marathon. They will be at this year’s pre-race Expo, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 26 at University of Toledo’s Savage Arena, to answer questions. The Expo is open to the public and will feature more than 40 vendors.
More than 7,000 people are registered for Glass City Marathon events — a record number of participants, said sixth-year Race Director Clint McCormick. The half-marathon and five-person marathon relay events have been sold out for weeks, the relay for the first time. A course change to the final three miles of the half-marathon allowed organizers to increase the number of runners from 2,500 to 3,000. Even with the increase, the half-marathon sold out faster than last year, he said.
McCormick said he’s excited about the new app. Recipients of the text alerts the race has used the past few years often reported delayed delivery, he said.
“Reliability was a big factor and the text messaging was really a one-way communication. The app provides more information at the fingertips of the user,” McCormick said.
The Glass City Marathon supports several charities, including the Toledo Roadrunners. Last year’s marathon raised between $100,000 and $140,000, McCormick said.
“It’s our signature event of the year,” he said. “It helps us fund all the other races of the year. So the success of this event is really critical to the events for the rest of the year.”
An economic impact study done by a UT professor last year found almost half the marathon and half-marathon registrants came from outside Northwest Ohio, mainly southeast Michigan and Ontario, Canada, and that the event accounted for more than $600,000 of increased regional economic activity.
Organizers are encouraging participants and spectators to use the hashtag #RunToledo. For more information and to check road closures, visit www.glasscitymarathon.org.
Sarah Ottney will run this year’s Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon as a member of a five-person relay team.
Tags: Altamonte Springs, app, Clint McCormick, Florida, Glass City Marathon, Holland, James Harris, Maumee, Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon, Phone Fun, proximity alert, Race Director, RaceJoy, runner, runners, Savage Arena, Shelly Harris, The Expo, TriPerta, University of Toledo