Fans of both running and The Matrix should be geeking out very hard over Virtual Runner from Outside Interactive (no relation), a new app that lets runners enjoy the pleasures of some 30 different courses, from a quick jog in Central Park to the grueling trials of the Boston Marathon, all from the comfort of their treadmill.
The runs play on a video screen of the runner's choosing (iPad seems to work best) and can be adjusted to correspond to the speed of the treadmill. The program is also compatible with ANT+ wireless devices, so anyone with a heart rate monitor can have the video automatically adjust its speed to their pace.
Although an app like Virtual Runner might seem obvious, it took OI's Gary McNamee four years to perfect the technology and get the app running smoothly. Each of the runs had to be filmed on a Segway using a Steadicam. It took him three months to film and edit just one six-mile trek. McNamee hopes that runners will be able to use the app to train for difficult races by letting them practice the course in real time.
If you have to run on a treadmill, you should at least be able to enjoy the view.