Let’s go for a run… in the metaverse. Thanks to a new app you now can run in the real world while powering your avatar across 50+ virtual courses.
The app—Klocked—is brought to the metaverse by ePlay Digital Inc, creators, and publishers of augmented reality (AR) sports and entertainment titles for mobile games. Choose your running route or race in one of numerous international locations, such as the Boston Common, the London City Marathon, Toronto Beaches, go for a run in your own area, and then replay it back with your avatar running on the course you’ve chosen.

While running you can hear the breath and footsteps of passing competitors, the tempo matching/boosting Weav music, pace reports, and announcements of upcoming landmarks, such as Le Louvre in Paris. With the setting selected, other Klocked runners can teleport to your avatar to “join” your run.

“The video experience is cool, but we want runners to think of Klocked as an augmented reality audio experience,” says ePlay CEO Trevor Doerksen of Calgary, who is competing in the upcoming BMO Vancouver Marathon and pacing the Calgary Marathon.

That its games take users outside is one of the differences between ePlay and its competitors: Peloton, Zwift, and Facebook’s Supernatural. The app is best optimized with real-time virtual races. The audio program on your headphones begins 30 minutes pre-race with a run coach psyching you up for the start.

You are also given updates on your division placement. “I can’t tell the ages of the people around me,” says Doerksen, 52. “I have no idea who’s coming up behind me and then when the half-marathoners join the marathon, I don’t know who’s in what race.” Once Klocked starts forming relationships with race events it aims to integrate all the race’s timer data to notify you of your competitors’ information, Klocked and non-Klocked.

“It will tell you the pace you need to increase to move up a place, or to hold your place,” he says. With today’s souped-up carbon-plated runners this feature again brings the level playing field into question: will being privy to the other competitors’ stats give Klocked users an unfair advantage?

In the app store, users can buy virtual tattoo-style sneakers—Tattshoos—as a non-fungible token (NFT), exclusively designed by American artist Chris Clemence. When you overtake runners, the shoes emit special effects and feature slo-mo replay in the post-race highlight reel.

While you can never replace the actual live racing experience, AR running may be of interest to runners and the metaverse curious. 

Image: The Tattshoos emit cool special effects as runners overtake one another on the Tikal Mayan Ruins 5K in Klocked’s metaverse.

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