New website keeps athletes on track
Whether you can run a marathon or barely get off the couch, a new website will pump you up and link you with 20,000 other runners in need of motivation.
Jantastic is a worldwide running website perfect for all fitness levels and goals. Almost 100 Kiwis have joined this year already.
Jantastic can boast membership from Bahrain, Oman, and even Iceland.
Developed by Marathon Talk in Britain, Jantastic was born of a runner's desire to track progress, compare results, and find an active forum for motivation and discussion.
Founders Martin Yelling and Tom Williams were looking for ways to encourage runners over the miserable northern hemisphere winter. Many people set their year's running goals in the new year but struggled to keep them.
In the southern hemisphere, Jantastic works for those struggling to keep summer resolutions. While the English are being plagued by snowstorms and sleet, Kiwis are battling the urge to have another glass of wine or settle in for a long lunch over the holidays.
Yelling knows first-hand the troubles faced by runners, festive or otherwise. He has been running for 30 years and can boast an impressive personal best of 10 kilometres in less than 30 minutes. Now 41, he is married to an Olympic runner and spends his time finding new ways to bring runners together.
He and fellow runner Tom Williams are the brains behind top UK podcast, marathontalk.com, and started Jantastic in 2012.
Thanks to a grant from England Athletics, this year's site is bigger, better and more interactive than ever before.
Participants can start from nothing or can already be committed athletes. A profile is created and weekly goals are set. Because goals are personal, every ability is catered for.
Over three months, participants can rival other runners for achievements and track their own progress, prompted by Jantastic's email reminders.
Yelling said the hope was that Jantastic would motivate people and kickstart their running.
"We want people to keep running for the full challenge, but also achieve their personal goals and continue to enjoy to run after Jantastic's finished, " he said.
"The beauty of the web is that anyone, anywhere can be involved."
It's not too late to get involved in Jantastic. To join up, visit jantastic.com and create a profile. The challenge runs until the end of March 2014.