During the pandemic the Maprun concept has become a lifeline for some as a means to organise and take part in 'virtual races' - runners can test themselves in a competition/challenge format without the need to gather in numbers.
What is MapRun?
Maprun is a free 'app' you download to your phone. It automatically records which checkpoints you visit, when you start and when you finish. When you visit a checkpoint, your phone emits a loud bleep, the point on the phone map changes from pink to green and your time to get there is recorded automatically. After the run, your score and route is uploaded automatically to the overall results table. Of course, the checkpoints don't actual exist on the ground, they are merely locations determined by the gps functionality on your phone (don't worry, the app is not used as a gps to navigate by).
It's very intuitive to use and once started you can just stow your phone in a pocket or bumbag and forget about it.
A new development with the app is that you can get it to run on a Garmin Watch (FR230 and above) so you don't even need to take your phone with you.
The use of 'tech' in the hills is not popular with everyone but most who try it out soon appreciate it's advantages - particularly in 'score' type events where there is no longer any need to scatter the hillside with actual physical checkpoints. It is also possible for individuals to 'turn on' tracking so that the RO can see where the runners are on the hills - a useful safety feature in remote spots.
Runners can do the race/challenge at any time (although RO's can determine an actual time frame to make it more of a race). Runners can run in pairs/groups for support.... and they can do the run as many times as they like so can use the app as a record of personal development/progression.
Here are some MapRuns you could try out (these can all be found within the app - select event - UK/Wales/South Wales Trails/):
Pen Tir - loosely based on Pen Tir Drop fell race (with an extension to Mynydd Langors). Paper Map here.
Waun Fach - based on the fell race.
Cwmdu West Score (get as many checks as you can in 90 mins - with this maprun you can actually start/finish at any checkpoint). Paper map here
Cwmdu East Score (get as many checkpoints as you can in 3 hours). Paper map here.
Getting the app to work on your Garmin watch (FR230 and above)
It is recommended you get used to the app on your phone before proceeding to this. Those who struggle somewhat with 'tech' will find this process quite challenging.
Basically your phone manages the app so you need to set up a bluetooth connection with your watch. This is done in the process of acquiring and and setting up the watch app.
The app for your watch is MapRunG and you can get it using the Connect IQ app on your phone.
You will need to have previously installed 'maprun6' and Connect IQ on your phone.
During the process of getting the watch to communicate with your phone via bluetooth there will be a pairing process that requires a code.
When you've done all of this within the maprun app you can turn on and off GPS watch mode - go to 'options and settings'.
You send the route/map to your watch within the app. On the home screen - after setting the app to gps watch mode within 'options and settings' just select 'send event to my garmin watch'.
On your watch in the activity menu you will see MaprunG as an option. Once started you will see on your watch the title of the run. Pressing the usual start button another screen appears with go to start. The watch is now recording your progress and will recognise the start/finish and all checkpoints you visit. Using the up and down buttons you will have various data screens which may be useful as you progress on the event.
When you've completed the run and logged the finish the watch app will ask you if you want to finish or continue. Once you have pressed finish and exited the app on the watch, go to the app on your phone and select 'show results. You will then be given the option to 'get track from garmin'. This process can take a bit of getting used to but once mastered is easy enough.
The maprun app actually works better on a garmin watch, since it is better at tracking your activity than a phone.
If you have any problems with getting MapRunG to work on your watch it may be due to a Garmin outage (or go slow) so wait a while. If all else fails just uninstall the app and start again.