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I am a stats nerd. I’m not even a little shy about that.
This is incredibly evident when watching the registrations roll in for my collegiate alma mater’s annual alumni band at Homecoming. Where are people from? How far do they have to travel to come home? What instrument are they playing? How many times have they been back? These questions and more are usually answered through an elaborate spreadsheet, detailing the event. Naturally when I got serious about my running again in 2014, this system made sense to track my progress, specifically my races. However, in 2017 – after listening to a handful of episodes of the BibRave Podcast – I found Athlinks.
What is Athlinks?
Simply put, Athlinks is a massive online database for athletes all over the world. Notice I said “athletes” and not just “runners”. This is because Athlinks pulls results from triathlon, swimming, cycling, mountain biking, and many other events. If they can find results lingering out in the online world, they’ll add it to their database. Athlinks is all about results.
But it’s more than just that – Athlinks is about sharing and connecting with other athletes (for the rest of this post, we’ll focus on runners). Through their site/app, runners can track their progress, share their results, compete with other runners simply by typing their name into a search box.
What does this mean for ME? Ultimately, it means I don’t necessarily need to track my races on a spreadsheet anymore!
How does it work?
Athlinks makes it VERY easy to get started and one can have their account completely set up in roughly 5 minutes (or less!). Personally, I was sitting at a bar, scrolling through Twitter when I made the decision to download the Athlinks app. It took no time at all to set up and before I knew it I was searching for races. That’s pretty much all you have to do: sign-up, set-up, search, and claim your results.
Regardless if you use the app or the website, you’ll find that – as with any online based service – you have a landing or profile page. Here’s mine:
As you can see, Athlinks will show ME, where I’m from, my age – which comes into play if you’re focusing on age group competition, any upcoming races (usually shown on the “timeline” tab), and then the bread and butter – past race results.
The other tabs along the top include Statistics (all-time), Following (think like Twitter or Facebook), and Rivals. As you probably guessed, the Statistics tab is definitely where I live and is my 2nd favorite feature in the entire app. Why? It shows me the overall result of all the running I’ve done through mileage and personal records (PRs). I don’t have to rely on my spreadsheet or even my medal rack (which has spots to log PR’s) for this information. But I said this was my 2nd favorite part of the whole app…what is my favorite?
RIVALS. So not only can you follow your fellow runners, you can also see how you stack up against them in the races you both have run. For example, in the photos below you can see that I follow Jessica on Athlinks and we are listed as rivals because we both ran the 2017 New York City Marathon. The reason I am 1-0 against her is because I finished the race before she did. 🙂 This takes tracking results to another level because it adds the spirit of friendly competition to the mix. Speaking of competition, coming up short by 18 seconds isn’t something I’m okay with – I’m comin’ for you, Matt! 😉
Like with anything, there are limitations when it comes to Athlinks. The most glaring is missing results. Right now, Athlinks believes my half marathon PR to be 1:56:30 from a race I ran in August of 2017. Since then, I’ve run TWO faster times (currently a 1:45:23 as of this post!), but because those results have not been posted online by the race director OR not made accessible to Athlinks, my 1:56 stands.
The second limitation, which falls mainly on the user, is racing. If you have not participated in a race and only run for personal fitness, then this is not the app for you. But why not take the next step and tackle that local 5k? Who knows – maybe you’ll like it! 🙂
Honestly, I really like Athlinks and the simplicity of the service they provide a stats nerd like me. I can find my past results, declare what races I intend on running, see all my records, follow fellow runners and compete with them all in one place. The ability to search for results could not be easier and the overall user experience is very friendly. You can get started with Athlinks by downloading the app via Google Play or the App Store, or by visiting athlinks.com.
As always, keep striving.
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