When Anna registered us for the Knysna half marathon early in 2013 I had no idea just how much of an obsession running would become for me. I’m not alone though – it seems my Twitter timeline and Facebook newsfeed are peppered daily with stories of people getting off the couch and into a pair of trainers.
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the somewhat narcissistic, socially-powered “I just ran 5.1 kms in 27:32” updates generated by fitness apps like Strava, Endomondo and Runtastic make it just that little bit harder to spend all day on the couch and not care at all. We see our friends getting fitter, FOMO kicks in, and before you know it you’re panting up the road for your first 1km. Lazy is not cool anymore. Sweat is fashionable. Running, cycling and swimming are booming industries, not weekend hobbies.
And yet despite all this I got very frustrated very quickly with the difficulty I experienced finding races and events in my area. Most of the websites that list events sell space to sponsors, or have a very broad audience to reach, and are incentivised to keep you there as long as possible. Sometimes it took as many as 12 or 13 clicks just to navigate to the calendar on the site. Race organisers themselves aren’t web developers and are therefore subjected to the failures of the sites they advertise and or list on.
With this in mind I decided to create fitCal, a site that quite simply allows you to build a customised calendar of race events by sport, location and distance, and export it to your own calendar of choice. That way, while using Outlook, iCal or Google Calendar, you can scroll a few weeks ahead to your next open and available weekend and see what events are coming up, click on the registration link and sign up!
Initial response to the site has been incredible, with events being added weekly and hundreds of users signed up already. I’d love you to check it out, play around, and send me feedback on your experience. There are some pretty exciting features lined up for version 2 and 3 of the site, so watch this space for developments.
Kudos to Frank and the incredible team at Platform45 for their amazing work on the project!