Running for Someone Else's Life

I’ve taken up running lately. That might not sound very impressive to you, but as a childhood asthmatic who could never even run 100 metres without falling in a heap, the fact that I can now run for over 5km (and improving all the time) is a big deal for me. I don’t know what happened over the last few years, but my asthma just sort of got better and now I can do all sorts of things that I was never really able to do before… I like it!

Of course, technology has played a big part in keeping me motivated too. Since I discovered the joy of the Nike+iPod combination I’ve found it much easier to stay focussed and motivated about running. For those that don’t know about this little gem of technology, the Nike+ kit comprises of a sensor that goes in or on your shoe and a receiver that connects to your ipod Nano. The sensor contains an accelerometer which detects your footsteps, reports them wirelessly to the receiver which then calculates your statistics as you run. Because the system knows your average stride distance, the sensor counts your steps and works out your distance and pace per kilometre, as well as keeping time and calculating average calorie burn. You load the Nano up with your favourite tunes, start recording your run stats and off you go. It’s amazing just how more motivating it is to have some music to run to, and to be able to collect your stats and monitor your progress when you get back home.

When I get back from a run I just connect the iPod to my computer and all the run data is dumped right back into iTunes, where it is then automatically passed through to the Nike+ website where all the data is stored and managed online. From this site I can go back through my previous records, analyse my performances over time, map the running routes I’m using, set personal goals, and even challenge other Nike+ users to run against me. Linda and I are actually having a little contest at the moment to see who can get to 100k first… I’ve discovered we may be on two different continents but we both have a very competitive streak!

On an educational note, I showed the Nike+iPod to some of our PhysEd staff the other day and they told me that they do a whole unit of work where the students have to exercise and monitor their progress… they mused on just how great it would be to use this sort of technology in the classroom. And why not? Why not have a class set of Nike+ kits? Why not load them up with music that the kids would enjoy exercising to and set them on a challenging exercise program for a few weeks. Why not loan them out through the library perhaps? The end result is that kids are exercising, having fun and meeting some of their learning outcomes in the process. I think it’s a great idea…

Now, I have a favour to ask…

Because I can be a little obsessive when I do new things, I’ve also entered a couple of community fun-run events. The main one I’m doing in a few weeks is a 16k event to help raise money for research into MS. MS is a terrible disease that affects way too many people, and I like the idea that I can be doing something I enjoy while helping raise money to improve the lives of other people. I have a goal to raise $2000 in the next few weeks, and although I have a long way to go yet I think it’s quite achievable. The MS people have some excellent fundraising tools these days, including a personal fundraising website for every person who enters their events. I was further encouraged today when I got a newsletter from the MS organisers with a list of the top fundraisers and I was pleasantly surprised to see I was ranked number 9 in NSW! Of course, that competitive streak in me means I would like to be ranked even higher still!

So here’s my request… I know there are a lot of people who read this blog regularly, and I hope you’ve gotten something out of it over the last year or so that I’ve been writing it. I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it, but now it’s my turn to ask for something back in return. If you feel like supporting a very worthy cause, may I suggest you head over to the website at and make a donation. It doesn’t have to be big, but I know that it every little bit would help make a big difference to people suffering from MS. I think it would be kind of cool to get a nice boost in my fundraising from this wonderful web community of which I so love being a part. Besides that, the money goes to a great cause and it would be kind of cool to show how just a handful of voices in the blogging community can make a big difference.

I hope you can help out…

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Running for Someone Else's Life by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.