Two area residents are the brains behind a new iPhone app that will soon have racers competing in the first ever “Smart Race” in the Windy City.
Naperville resident Alex Haines wanted to combine his love of running with his interest in gaming and technology, and so came his idea for the “Smart Race.”
During the event, on May 11th, teams of two will use their iPhones to solve riddles and navigate through nearly 10 different checkpoints around the loop in Chicago, while competing against other teams for the fastest time.
“Each riddle points to a different geographical destination somewhere in the city. So it’s up to you, given the map in the app, to find all these different objects,” said Smart Race founder and CEO, Alex Haines.
Upon approaching a particular checkpoint, a physical or mental challenge will begin.
Using iPhone-specific technology like sonar, gyroscope, GPS tracking, and camera, racers must either complete each challenge before proceeding to the next, or take a time penalty.
Racers can venture by foot or take public transportation to assist them.
Haines’ brother-in-law and Rockford resident Scott DeNowh is helping to engineer the smart race application.
“It really does keep it interesting & fun as you’re doing the race. It’s more than just a 5k where it’s just the running. It’s got that other side of it, the more light-hearted fun side of the equation,” said DeNowh, Smart Race co-founder and CTO.
“We’ve actually gotten other people to pilot the race, we’ve gotten feedback,, made a few changes & tweaks. We’ve tested the tech – we know it works – we know it’s fun,” said Haines.
After finishing all challenges, racers can then head to a surprise final destination, which will be a bar.
The two hope to have at least 150 “smart racers” for the inaugural event in the windy city, and are already planning races in 14 other major cities nationwide.
“We really want to do this all over the country. We think this is a great idea that people are going to want to do,” said DeNowh.
While the first Smart Race will be for iPhone only, the two hope to expand the race to other smart phones in the near future.
To register, or for more information, visit the thesmartrace.com.
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