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Issued:04/02/16

New technology that encourages more people to take up running is being developed by Sheffield Hallam University.

The University's Centre for Sports Engineering Research has been given £10,000 to develop its 'Follow the Light' project, a pacing system for runners of all abilities.

The grant has been awarded by the Sports Technology Innovation Fund, an initiative between London Sport and the Mayor of London to make the capital the world's most physically active city.

The project is a pacing system that uses LED lights installed on running tracks and allows running enthusiasts, of all abilities, to control the pace of their run via an online app.

Catering for all capabilities, the technology will allow people to follow training programmes that are paced according to their ability, with options including, 'Couch to 5K' and 'Race Mo Farah'. 

The web-based programme will enable runners to set their chosen pace before stepping onto the track and will help people to run for longer and improve fitness levels. 

Christina King, business development manager in the University's Centre for Sports Engineering Research, who is part of the team behind the project, said: "One of the more common problems with running, particularly with beginners, is they tend to set off too quickly, they then tire easily and often give up.

"Follow the Light allows people to run at their own, controlled pace in a fun, social and supportive way. It is inclusive, catering for all levels of effort from groups of social walkers to club-runners performing high-intensity training.

Follow the Light

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"We hope our project will inspire people to become more active while at the same time, encourage the use of running tracks and eradicating the perception that running tracks are for elite runners only." 

Running is currently the 7th most popular exercise choice amongst men with 7.6% of the male population engaging with the sport. For women, it is the 5th most popular option with a 4.8% participation rate.

London has the highest level of weekly participation in running at 5.5% and once the technology has been developed, it will be installed on tracks within the capital with a view to roll out wider at a later stage.   

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

The project team comprises of Christina King, principal research fellow, Dr Ben Heller and senior research fellow, Dr Simon Choppin from Sheffield Hallam's Centre for Sports Engineering Research.