Sport Relief Make Every Mile head

The UK’s yearly sport related national fundraiser Sport Relief is gathering pace. Guest reviewer Rosie Hattersley takes a look at the Sport Relief Every Mile Counts app designed to help you train for the main event.

 

If you’ve tuned in to a BBC channel recently, or been to your local Sainsburys, you’ll be well aware that Sport Relief is imminent. It’s being fairly heavily trailed and there are plenty of bright red clothes, sport bands and deely boppers on sale to show your support.

The bi-annual fundraiser has its usual array of celebrities undertaking feats of endurance – Davina McCall swam, cycled and ran on behalf of the cause last month, for example. The weekend of 21 to 23 March is everyone else’s opportunity to do their bit for Sport Relief.

We’re being encouraged to run 1km, 5km or 10km at a local venue and get sponsored for doing so. However, Sport Relief’s organisers have come up with a cunning way to encourage us to clock up more miles in the run-up to the event. Last month, they launched a free iPhone and Android app called Make Every Mile Count. It’s mainly being promoted through schools, which is why you might not have heard of it.

It’s a shame the app is being so narrowly targeted as it’s a great way to encourage more people to get out and about in the fresh air without having to fundraise or put their sporting prowess on show. In fact, I’ve been using the app for the past week as my partner is doing the Sport Relief 10K and wanted a training companion.  It’s not clear why every mile counts, but if it’s simply that every mile of exercise you do counts, I wholeheartedly agree.

Sport Relief walk summaryYou can use the app to add the miles you walk, run, swim or cycle to a national total. Schools are offered the option to set up a Make Every Mile Count group and get students to contribute to it. By the time all the miles clocked up during Sport Relief weekend are added up, there should be a very healthy total.

When you first set up the app you need to provide some basic details including your age and the area you live, and add a profile photo. To start a walk, run or cycle you tap that activity and invoke a 3-2-1 countdown. It’s obviously impractical for the app to measure a swim as the phone isn’t waterproof. Instead, you type in the distance you swam. If you’re running you’ll need an armband or convenient pocket to keep your phone in so it can measure how far you go.

The Sport Relief app then simply registers how long you do the activity for and how far you travel between then and tapping Stop. At this point, you can choose to share the miles you’ve travelled on Facebook or Twitter.

I’m not that keen on apps that insist on being able to post on our timeline or Twitter feed. Since this app is mainly being used by children and teens, I think it’s particularly bad practice although the app simply posts ‘I’ve completed a [walk/run/swim] of X miles for Make Every Mile Count for Sport Relief’ with a link to the app download page.

Sport Relief FBAnother option is to import activity data from another app. Only two are supported: Moves and Map My run. Both are available for iPhone and Android. Importing data from Moves involves a PIN-code pairing, while Map My Run uses the M7 movement sensor on your iPhone 5S and the GPS on an Android to accurately log your runs.

It’s a shame you can’t import data to the Sport Relief app from a dainty Fitbit One, Fitbit Flex,Nike Fuelband wristband or similar device though. This would solve the issue of needing to carry your phone while you exercise and maybe give it wider appeal.

Sport Relief medalIt’s not really clear whether you need to manually save your activities – the app sometimes reported an error when doing so. Every so often you’ll unlock a badge and get to see an inspirational video from a celebrity. To earn medals, you need to vary your routine and do at least one other type of activity. Not a bad way of getting users to try something new.

In summary, the Make Every Mile Count app is a basic but free activity tracker you can use to get involved with Sport Relief, without having to commit to taking part in a sponsored event. It’s fun and social, and you can use it alongside your existing fitness tracker.

 

Score: 7/10

Pros:

  • Free activity tracker
  • Use with Move or Map My Run
  • Fun medals and celeb videos encourage use

Cons:

  • Need your phone with you as you train
  • Doesn’t work with more wearable fitness trackers
  • Not clear what the miles count towards

 Price: Free

From: Download here