A blog by runners. For runners.

The History of WalkJogRun

I was just asked by a local magazine, Windy City Sports, to provide some information about WalkJogRun for an upcoming article. As I was writing it I thought it might be good to share the information with the visitors to the site:
WalkJogRun was a personal project back in 2003 when I started running with a room mate in Atlanta. I've always been nuts about analyzing things so not knowing how far we were going and how fast drove me crazy. The first version required you to upload your own map to the site, draw your route and see the mileage add up. My girlfriend at the time moved to Chicago shortly after this so a year later I made the move back to Chicago. The map has always been centered on my house and since I still live in Chicago it is focussed there.
This has obviously drawn the attention of local Chicago folk and even mainstream media like Fox News Chicago. There are 76,000 routes worldwide and over 2,250 here in Chicago placing it third in the US after New York (3,400), DC (3,050) and ahead of San Francisco (2,200). London, England has by far the largest number of routes with over 9,100 submitted. I'm from Manchester, England originally so some of the popularity comes from the PR of having your family share the website with everyone they know. It even has a separate domain name walkjogrun.co.uk. I often get emails asking if I could a version build a version of the site for people in other countries which is funny because, you can use the one site to look and add routes anywhere in the world – even Japan and Australia.
The starting point for using the site is either to use the mouse to drag and zoom the map to your neighborhood or enter your zipcode and hit GO to relocate the map. Last month the 60614 was the most common zipcode search followed 60657. Once you are looking at the list of routes, another popular feature of the site is to filter the list of routes to a distance you are interested in running (or walking, skating, cycling). The most common distance used to filter the routes is 3 miles which accounts for 30% of all filters. 10k is the next most popular at 20% with 5% of the traffic looking for marathon routes! (I have attached the full table if you need it).
If you can't find an existing route or you want to map out your own, you simply click the “Create a route” button in the top right corner of the map and start clicking to mark out each turn. Living close to the lake I often switch the map to “Hybrid” mode (also in the top right) to see the satellite images of the neighborhood so I can follow the path more easily. Each click you make gets added to the route and you can drag the map around to go past the edge currently visible on the screen. The status box at the bottom of the map constantly updates to reflect the distance, the time it would take at 3mph and the calories you would burn if you are 190 pounds (yes, my average weight). You can edit the settings to personalize the results to your own speed and weight. Don't worry – I don't keep that information – it's all kept in a cookie on your machine you can easily delete. If you make a mistake with a click you can click “remove marker” in the top right to backtrack.
When you have finished recording your route click “save route” to finish. A bubble pops open to ask you for a title and a description. You also have the option of creating a free account to create a way to claim your route when it appears on the map. If you have an account it also means you have the option of keeping a route private so that only you can see it when you are logged in to the site. Once you save a route it refreshes the page to show you the overview of the route. You can bookmark that page if it is a route you run often but you can always come back to the site and use the search box to find it by name instead. You also have the option to email it to a friend or family member so they can review an upcoming run.
The site gets about 3,000 visitors per day on average or 100,000 pageviews. The fun part is that it is running on 2 computers in a closet in our spare bedroom. One of the computers has a squeaky fan so when guests come to stay we joke that WalkJogRun is powered by mice.
There is more history about the site and some feedback from users.
There is lots more to tell and much more planned for the site including training diaries, running groups and a ratings system.