Introducing Racelink

I used to hate running. It was tiring, painful, and boring. That’s what inspired me and Naomi Alderman to come up with Zombies, Run!, a running game and audio adventure that makes running more fun.

Since its launch in 2012, Zombies, Run! has become the most popular smartphone fitness game ever, with over 3 million downloads, 250,000 active users, tens of thousands of paying subscribers. But quite apart from the numbers, the most rewarding part is receiving emails and tweets every day, from people all around the world, about how our little app has changed lives for the better.

…Now we’re making races better with Racelink

I used to hate running, but now it’s a regular part of my life. I’ve run plenty of races; of 5ks, 10ks, and half-marathons in London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, and beyond. They’re fantastic motivation to exercise, and nothing’s more exciting than running with thousands of people at the same time. That’s why in the US alone, 19 million people completed running events in 2014 — a 40% increase since 2010.

But no-one likes waking up at 6am to travel to the race start, or enduring an endless queue for the toilets. And no-one likes feeling left out when they aren’t lucky enough to have a race happening at a convenient time close by.

That’s why Six to Start is launching Racelink today. It’s a new platform that allows charities and brands to create their own ‘virtual races’. Virtual races are like traditional races — they charge an entry fee and provide real rewards like medals and T-shirts — but they take place in a location and time of the entrant’s choice, making them much more accessible and convenient for everyone.

Fun, Immersive, Social

The Racelink iPhone and Android apps can dynamically inject audio storytelling and music into races, turning them into thrilling spy adventures, epic escapes from zombie hordes, or even educational 10ks where you run across the Solar System! It’s the death knell for repetitive races where the only novelty is a different medal and T-shirt.

Our Spy Virtual Race, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
Run the Solar System, an educational 10k race for the British Science Association
The fourth epic Zombies, Run! Virtual Race

With Racelink, the race experience becomes an immersive digital and physical event, beginning months in advance of the race itself. Entrants receive story-themed race packages, briefing documents, and even emails and phone calls. We’re drawing on all our experience; from creating Zombies, Run! to our work for Disney Imagineering, the BBC, Death Cab for Cutie, and Muse.

Fast, scalable, accessible

The technology behind Racelink is tried and tested from our years developing Zombies, Run! This means Racelink events can reliably scale from 1000 to 100,000 entrants worldwide, making our races accessible to runners in the densest city or the most remote town — perfect for brands and charities with national and global communities.

Entrants can run wherever they live, at any time during the race period (usually 1–2 weeks), from the crack of dawn to late at night. We even support runners on treadmills. The potential for reaching millions of new runners is enormous.

All of our events will benefit from our Racelink app receiving continual updates and improvements, which nonetheless provides a fully branded experience to race entrants. There’s no need to worry about finding good developers to build an app from scratch, or whether it’ll work when you do.

Run the Solar System’s glorious finisher’s medal (L), Zombies, Run! Virtual Race pack (R)

The Racelink platform extends beyond technology, though. Thanks to our experience with our own race events, we’re experts at everything from content creation and audio production, to sourcing and shipping pro-spec T-shirts and medals worldwide. We can get a race up and running within six months.

Best of all, there is zero upfront cost to holding a Racelink event. We charge brands and charities a simple flat fee for every race entrant. Easy!

The Future

Racelink is already a fully-featured platform, but we’re only getting started. In the coming months, we’ll be introducing fantastic new features including team-based runs, enhanced social interactions, plus walking and cycling events. Ultimately, we will open Racelink to user-generated content.

Happy survivors of our Zombies, Run! Virtual Races

At the same time, we will, of course, be improving Zombies, Run! The great thing is that because Racelink and Zombies, Run! share code, they benefit from new features and improvements made to each other.

With all these developments, this is the most exciting period in Six to Start’s history. To help accelerate our growth, we’re launching an equity crowdfunding campaign in the coming months. If you’d like to invest in Six to Start and you live in the UK, Europe, and selected other countries (basically, anywhere other than the US, Canada, and Japan), you can pre-register your interest today.

Want to learn more or organise your own Racelink event? Complete this simple form, or email me at adrian@sixtostart.com.

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