Our mission since day one has been to inspire and guide runners to explore runs they never knew existed. We wanted to help people discover places that put a massive smile on their faces.
We set out to build a tool that delivers inspiration, useful information and navigation confidence.
The RunHunters app has now been available in both app stores for free for 14 months as we've listened to our users and improved early raw versions. We've spent hundreds of hours adding more than 1400 routes with every one re-mapped from raw gpx to ensure they're super accurate for exploring, whether via the app or gpx download to your running watch. The feedback over the past 12 months has been really encouraging and been the fuel to keep investing and developing RunHunters further. Thank you to everyone who's been part of that process.
We feel we're only just getting started with RunHunters, we've got some really exciting ideas we want to develop for our users and seeing which users pay for RunHunters and what they request is a powerful way for us to get clarity on what matters most. Our job is to deliver as much value as possible for the price of a cup of coffee a month.
As a team, we need to do a better job of explaining why we exist but it also helps to remind ourselves that RunHunters is one full time person (Henry), one manic multi-tasker (Matty) and a tiny team of freelance devs (FireAnt), designers (Overlay) and contributors. Strava has 228 employees and AllTrails has a team of 48 so we think we're doing ok so far. Time will tell!
The common pushback we receive is how we're different to current tools. Here's an example from an app store review:
"The latest update mentioned that it will go towards paid subscription. I knew they will head to this direction while asking members contribute contents for free. Why would members contribute when there are apps like Strava and AllTrails which covers the same features?"
Let's dive into this deeper. We've always been aware of Strava, AllTrails, Trailforks, TrailRunProject, Komoot and the myriad of other hiking and biking apps available, but we still felt there was a missing piece.
Strava is a superb performance tracking app, it will do a world class job of telling you how you ran. It is sensational at looking in the rear-view mirror. It does that job immensely well and quite rightly will now charge you to access their most valuable features. Part of their recent moves have been to help focus their forward progression on users who most value their service by putting their hands in their pocket for a small monthly fee. Both RunHunters founders are Strava subscribers, but we do not use it to do the job RunHunters does. If you want to find great runs easily and then navigate them safely, Strava is not a great tool for that. See this example below - exact same spot on the trail with same mobile coverage. Which one would you rather head out exploring with? Would you pay $4.49 a month to not get lost and have emergency contact functionality if you do?
AllTrails is the king of all trails - rough, ready, unverified, generic, user generated. It's useful for seeing all trails in an area but never felt specific enough for a runners. When we set out to develop RunHunters we believed there's space for a runner specific tool. We don't want trails 1.2km long, there's no point putting running shoes on for that. If we're visiting Singapore (for example) I don't want a list of 110 trails, give me 10 of the best to choose from. AllTrails does what it does very well but it is not built for RunHunters who want hyper-accurate maps and curated information.
One thing we're working hard on is to create a program that rewards our contributors in a meaningful way, right now that's free access and some merch coming down the pipeline. More work to be done here.
Turning on subscription options is just another step in the journey but will be a clear indicator of whether what we've built so far is valuable. Asking people to put their hand in their pocket for the price of a cup of coffee may not seem like much... but we're not taking that challenge lightly.
If you have any questions or feedback get in touch via the chat bubble.
Happy RunHunting out there!
Great trail runs in New Zealand's capital if you're visiting for the first time and want to get your bearings.
Time to lace up those shoes and hit the trails as we head to summer in Oz.