Ina Fried

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MapMyFitness Sprints Into Marathon-Tracking Business

MapMyFitness, whose apps let users track their runs and bike rides, is expanding into the marathon-tracking business.

The Austin, Texas-based company has adapted its MapMyRun software, combined with RFID and GPS tracking of runners, to allow marathon enthusiasts (and friends of competitors) to track their favorite runners. The software was used at the recent New York City Marathon and this past weekend at the San Francisco Marathon.

The software provides a variety of race information, including a map of the course, and allows runners to track their own progress and send out alerts on Facebook and Twitter.

For San Francisco, MapMyFitness offered a free iPhone app; an app for tracking individual runners was available as a $1.99 in-app purchase.

That said, my colleague Liz Gannes found that the marathon-tracking features could use a little more training. Gannes said she tried to track friends running the San Francisco half and full marathon, but found the app crashed often, demanded unnecessary personal information, and required payment for any of the tracking features that would have made it interesting.

It’s the latest expansion for MapMyFitness, which offers run- and ride-tracking apps available for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, with a companion Web site that lets one view all their past runs and rides. The company raised $5 million in Series A funding last November from Austin Ventures.

Coincidentally, just as the marathon was taking place in the city, I was about 25 miles south, rollerblading through Half Moon Bay, and I used MapMyRide to track my workout for the first time. The free program let me track my 5.9-mile ride along the coast, see how fast I was going, and annoy my friends via Facebook and Twitter. A $1.99 “plus” version removes the ads, allows one to take geotagged photos during the journey, and offers iPod integration to allow music to play while the app is running.

The company is one of many in a growing class of fitness apps, including Strava, which announced last week it has raised $12.6 million in Series B funding.

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