Make a run for it

Make a run for it

Consumer Tech

MobieFit’s FirstRun is an app that aims to get people running a 5k in a matter of just weeks; the two-fold principle it functions on is the need for a structured programme and a coach who gets you there

GOURAV JASWAL, FOUNDER-DIRECTOR, MOBIEFIT

In today’s times, you turn the corner of a month and people are on a run; partaking in a marathon. And that puts a lot of pressure on a slob like me who can’t run to save her life leave alone a worthy cause. So imagine my surprise, nay, disbelief when I heard of MobieFit’s FirstRun; an app that gets you up and running in just a few weeks.

“I’d not been a runner even though I led an active life and participated in sports. Then I encountered the Couch to 5K program by Josh Clark and found myself running 5 km within a few weeks. This triggered off the epiphany that what most of us need is two things; a programme or a clear set of instructions that take us from stage to stage and the second is a coach, a person who can motivate, guide and hand-hold us,” explains Gourav Jaswal,

founder-director, MobieFit. It’s got to help that the coach on the app is the lovely Gul Panag. He weighed multiple aspects before getting Panag onboard as the co-founder in the technology fitness company. What he needed was a genuine athlete and not just a slim celebrity; someone who understands technology in advanced ways; a person who has the intelligence to contribute meaningfully to a knowledge-capital venture; someone with cultural and ethical values aligned with the founder’s; someone trustworthy; someone who has a public persona that engenders confidence in users, team-members and investors and finally, a person who has the ability to work hard and bring time and energy to the venture. “Gul met all these criteria and a few more. Not to mention the dimples,” recalls a smiling Jaswal.


OTHER RUNNING APPS SAY ‘GO AND RUN AND WE WILL TRACK WHERE YOU RAN AND HOW MUCH YOU RAN’ WHEREAS WE SAY ‘COME, WE’LL COACH YOU ON HOW TO RUN’


What’s different?

Before I can quiz Jaswal on the USP of his app he’s quick to assert that FirstRun is not the same as a run log. The essential difference between FirstRun and other running apps is its approach to running. “Other running apps say ‘Go and run and we will track where you ran and how much you ran’ whereas we say ‘Come, we’ll coach you on how to run’,” he says. In effect, FirstRun helps each runner reach the next level, from a 5k to a full marathon. It also addresses a number of problems first timers run into. For example, can’t run even a hundred metres? FirstRun only asks you to begin by running a minute.  Don’t know how to run? It’s got a load of videos that teach you the basics of running form. You often start programs only to abandon them? No problem, FirstRun sends notifications, alerts and reminders which help you stick to your goals. Forget to track what you’ve done or not done? There’s always a log. Don’t have a place to run? That’s what the treadmill mode was designed for. Basically, this app leaves you no choice but to run. And this has Jaswal and his team excited about the future. “We’re targeting downloads in the millions and active users in the hundreds of thousands. Whether we reach that goal in 12 months, 18 months or 24 months will be clearer as the months unroll,” he shares. He’s also aware that there’s work to be done and improvements to be made. “We have a road-map for the next 12 months and every single month you will see improvements in programs, in trainers, in language, in interface design, in multimedia and more,” states Jaswal as he signs off.

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