cartton of a Run-Bot

Running 2049 style

Thoughts of last year's follow-up to sci-fi classic Blade Runner prompted runABC to take its own trip to 2049 and see what the world of running will look like in the year the new film is set in...

In a recent runTalk we travelled back in time to see what running was like in the 1980s. Going forward is always a slightly scarier business. By 2049, will flying cars mean traffic-free race courses are as standard? Or will global warming have caused us to move all events to the moon? Read on to find out what the future has in store for us.

The year is 2049; Donald Trump, Brexit and Ed Sheeran are distant memories from a bygone era. Obesity is also a thing of the past as the world’s population has embraced running – largely thanks to the now global brand of runABC (hey, it’s our future we can dominate the world if we like!).

The original Blade Runner film showcased ‘replicants’ – androids that are virtually identical to humans but with superior strength and agility. In runABC’s 2049 we’ll have something similar – the run-bot®.

The run-bot®, as you might have guessed, is a robot designed to act as your personal running buddy. You’ll be able to control the pace of the runbot®, and also its personality. So if you want to go for a recovery run with your buddy offering gentle words of encouragement, you can. Alternatively, if you fancy a tempo run with someone barking orders at you, that’s also fine. Let’s just hope the run-bot®s don’t revolt against their creators!

Reality check
This idea isn’t so far-fetched. You can currently purchase your own virtual running buddy called a Joggobod. The Joggobod is a drone that follows you around by tracking a patterned T-shirt you wear while running.

cartoon of runners with visor in the clouds

Digital races
By 2049, we anticipate digital races will be as commonplace as regular races. Runners can put on a VR helmet, jump on a treadmill and be taking part in New York or Tokyo Marathon from the comfort of their own home. Technology will have advanced to a stage where treadmills and altitude masks will allow us to replicate perfectly the race-day conditions of an event.

Reality check
In 2015, RunSocial and Virgin London Marathon launched what they called ’the world’s first digital marathon’ - combining HD video of running courses around the world with virtual reality avatars. British astronaut Tim Peake also ‘ran the London Marathon’ from a treadmill on the International Space Station. It remains to be seen whether this will be embraced by the masses.

Wear we’re going...
In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly had a self-adjusting, self-drying jacket as well as self-lacing trainers. We reckon these will be standard items in every runner’s kitbag in 2049. Wicking fabrics will have given way to material that adjusts to your body’s temperature, so if you’re starting to overheat it will cool you down and vice versa.

The film also showcased Doc Brown’s chrome visor, which gave him a rear- view camera display. In 2049, glasses with a head-up display will provide this and more – giving runners vital information about their competitors and their own performance during a race, as well as providing directions.

Reality check
Nike released the Nike Mag shoe in 2016, based on the shoes Marty wore in the 1989 film. Not only does the limited-edition trainer have power laces, it also features a response system called Adaptive Fit, which senses the wearer and tightens or loosens accordingly. The shoe must go on etc.

Google Glass provides similar functions to Doc Brown’s chrome visor, and has already been adopted by a small number of runners.

Back to the foodies
Carrying energy gels or drinks on your run will be so three decades ago come 2049. Instead, scientists will have designed genetically modified food that is triggered to release electrolytes/energy/hydration at the exact moment your body needs it.

Reality check
Admittedly this is based more on sci-fi than science. However, 10 years ago who’d have predicted the energy supplements market to exploded in the way it has? 30 years is a long time, after all. Let’s just hope things are a little less dystopian than Harrison Ford and co are depicting.

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