From the get-go: there are many mobile apps and gadgets designed to help make exercise more fun, social and ‘analyzable’ if you will (RunKeeper, Fitbit, Sportlyzer, Strava, Endomondo, Nike+, Runtastic and Yog are some of them).
Runno’s taking a different route (pun intended) by adding a layer of social gameplay to the exercise motivation and tracking part of the equation. Not unlike Foursquare, Runno lets you ‘claim’ real-life areas you choose to work out in (this can be running, cycling, rollerskating, hiking or whatever) and duke it out with other users.
The Swedish startup behind the service, Eplinovo, says it added simple game mechanisms to Runno that wouldn’t scare off a traditionally non-gamer audience.
Here’s the interesting part of the fitness ‘app-game’. Users can walk, run or bike a circle within a given area, which can then be claimed as his or her ‘kingdom’. Runno lets users earn points per calorie they burn, which are converted into a virtual currency called Walluta. To track the calories users burn by doing outdoor physical activities, Eplinovo built a nifty iPhone app (iTunes link), and a version for Android handsets is currently in the works.
The more points you collect, the more leverage you have with regards to your ‘opponents’, because Wallutas enable you to buy virtual ‘soldiers’ to defend your turf(s). That makes the (free) game not limited to the area you live in, as it allows players to purchase and claim areas in other parts of the world.
Users can also start ‘battles’ over areas. Basically, once a battle starts, whoever is left with more soldiers after a period of 7 days, is the victor. During that week, battle zones are off-limits for other Runno users.
The company made an explanatory demo video, which you can watch below.