This fitness app changes the narrative in your audio book according to your surroundings

Running Stories uses real-time data to build an augmented narrative where you are the protagonist, and your route is integrated into the story.

24 November 2020


BBH Singapore has created a new fitness and audio entertainment app that is described perfectly by the portmanteau “enter-training”. Running Stories features a selection of fictional tales that you can listen to while you’re on your jog, which places you as the main character and adapts the story along the way according to your surroundings through augmented audio reality. It uses real-time data to integrate landmarks and geographical features into the story, so runners feel immersed and motivated to keep going.

Titles available so far include The Extraction, an espionage-based adventure; a psychological thriller called The Runner Without a Past; and Runner’s Body – apparently the “world's first audio sitcom set inside your own body”. The app is designed for beginner and seasoned runners alike, with stories written as episodes to encourage users to get back out there and maintain their training.

“The story is triggered using GPS location data that is based on where you run, using data while you run to inform the story,” explains creative lead and BBH global CCO Joakim Borgstrom. “You go to the starting point of the run and then the audio directs you, that’s where the magic is. The audio augmented reality talks about elements that are in front of you in the physical world, and the story is tailored to your location. The app reads your direction, your pace, and your environment. For us, this is just the beginning because, in the future, we’ll be able to use more real-time data – bus timetables, opening hours, things like that – the possibilities are endless.”

Borgstrom also hopes the app will provoke users to explore new routes and make running into a “bingeable” experience, describing it as “like Hollywood, Silicon Valley and your personal coach had a baby”. While there are other running and story-based apps, he believes this is the first to offer a fully immersive experience integrating all this data into the storytelling.

The app is still in beta and looking for brands and consumers to test it out, though in its initial stage it’s been designed to work on selected routes in Singapore. The next phase is a roll out in more cities around the world, while making the app available as an open source platform so that writers and creators can devise their own stories. There are also plans to incorporate more real-time data like weather conditions and the runner’s heart rate to enrich the experience, and add tailored fitness challenges.

You can download Running Stories from the App Store and follow its development on Instagram.

GalleryRunning Stories (Copyright © BBH Singapore, 2020)

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Running Stories (Copyright © BBH Singapore, 2020)

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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