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Top running apps for Challenge Events fundraisers

The humble smartphone… no long-distance run is quite complete, or safe, without it. It’s your miniature motivator, pocket sat nav, SOS device, digital jukebox, calorie-burn counter and, most importantly, a sleek piece of kit that clocks up mileage and tracks training progress over time.

As you embark on your Salvation Army fundraising journey, you may be asking yourself which app you should be downloading. We’ve made it super easy for you by rounding up five of the most acclaimed fitness and running apps on the market to help you kick start or bolster your training programme. (They’re so good we wish we could use all of them at the same time!)

1) Map my run/ride/walk/jog  - For those who have an ultimate fitness goal

The perfect all-round fitness progress app, designed for both exercise junkies and first-time trainees. The app can record any kind of moving activity thanks to your mobile device’s built-in GPS. From walking the dog to power walking, Map My Run records your workout details. Voice updates at key milestones inspire you to keep pushing through. Beyond the real-time tracking and route-mapping, it also allows for logging nutrition, current weight, hours slept and number of steps taken. You can also sync your activity with your favourite music playlist and set goal distances for yourself (paid version online).

At the end of training you can be sure to feel proud of yourself by scrolling through your comprehensive workout history. The frequent workout summaries pinged to your email address is the perfect personal touch, too. Want to impress your friends? Workouts can also be shared through social media for that extra boost!

*Free, available on Android and iOS

2) Bupa Smart Runner – For those who are injury prone

Bupa’s awesome little app helps runners of all abilities add fun and variety to their running routines, while feeding in some extra activity to keep you lean, mean and injury free. Choose from a range of different runs – from hills to sprints – and the app will provide audio instructions en route as well as sync to your fave playlist. You can also record any niggles in a diary, locate your nearest Bupa physio and download videos to help overcome specific problem areas. Injury will no longer upset your training schedule with this nifty app.

*Free, available on Android and iOS

3) Nike+ running – For those who like competition

This no-frills app is a classic favoured by many runners. Like most other running apps, it provides the same running metrics and lets you keep track of your achievements. What makes it unique, though, is the personalised coaching and real-time audio feedback to keep you running strong until the end. Share photos, compare your progress, compete with your friends for the leaderboard spot and get in-run cheers to get you race ready through this ultra-smart gadget.

*Free, available on Android and iOS

4) Zombies, Run! – For those who need a push!

A bizarre concept perhaps, but ‘Zombies, Run!’ simulates a zombie apocalypse, which will make you run further and faster than ever before! 

This gripping app immerses you in an action-packed game and story with your own customised music playlist, whether you're jogging in a park, running along a trail, walking to work, or even pounding a treadmill. Run faster and the groans of the undead will subside - slow down and they're upon you! At the end, you can recap on your run activity, which also includes the number of zombies you evaded! This isn’t just for fans of 'The Walking Dead'. Embark on your zombie mission today!

*£2.49, available on Android and iOS


5) Story Running by Runtastic – For those who get bored of music

Do you prefer audiobooks or podcasts over music during your runs? Then try out ‘Story Running’, which can be downloaded in the Runtastic app (free). Each audio track (at 69p a piece) is roughly 35-40 minutes long – just about the same duration as a typical daily jog. Download as many as you think will fit into your goal distance time. The future of running without music is well in this really cool app.

*Free; iOS, Android and Windows Phone


Enjoy and all the best with your training!


Inspired by Gaby's marathon efforts? Fancy running London in 2016? Click here for more details.