Every once in a while I wake with hangover.
If that isn’t punishment enough for a night of excesses I tend to also discover that the car isn’t in the drive as it was responsibly abandoned the night before and I’m now faced with collecting it. This has given rise to a whole new category of run in my running log – the “hangover car collect” run.
On my last hangover run I had a new app to ease my navigational burden – ViA by Firebird Creative.
The ViA iPhone app is billed as the Sat Nav system for runners and is not to be confused with the multitude of GPS tracking systems in the image of Endomondo or mapmyrun. ViA is a unique, step by step, navigation system with audible instructions.
I’m afraid to say that I am actually quite familiar with my hangover route but I was happy enough to hand over responsibility to the nice chap in the VIA app. He confused me a bit when I left the front door and he suggested I headed north. I am shamefully unaware of my position relative to the north star and had to wing it for a few metres until the chap confirmed I was on track and should consider taking the next right.
I was able to jog on, mindlessly listening to the Marathon Talk podcast safe in the knowledge that my guide would butt in every now and again to steer me closer to the car.
The app works by setting a start and end point by either searching for a location or dropping a pin. The route selected seems to be running specific and will include one-way streets, snickets and pedestrian bridges. One of the most impressive features of ViA is that you can drop pins to indicate via points. Even google maps can’t do that on the iPhone.
I’ve plotted my route from Euston to Norbury and with the strategic placement of a couple of ViA points I’ve managed to avoid the humiliation of running down the heaving Tottenham Court Road after work. I can’t wait to try it now. There’s no need for constant checking of the map system either as the voice over will tell me in plenty of time where I need to go. Previously I’ve relied on a pre-plotted crumb trail that I follow on my garmin but that is highly unsatisfactory as you have to weave yourself on and off track.
The app is limited to 3 via points in addition to the start and finish. That is probably plenty for a point to point route but if you want to create a circular course you might need a few more.
I’m hopeful that this is an app in its early stages. There are plenty of improvement opportunities such as the ability to save a route or your run history and the ability to create routes with multiple ViA points but even as it stands this app is a great investment for an urban runner.
I’ve taken so long to post my review of this app that the ViA team have managed to issue an update for the app. You can now add upto 15 ViA points on your route which is really exciting and makes ViA a unique run route plotting device.
VIA – Firebird Creative (itunes link)