Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Foursquare Thursday: Foursquare and RunKeeper


This is the thirteenth post in a series about Foursquare – read part one, part two, part three, part four, part five. part six, part seven part eight, part nine, part ten, part eleven and part twelve.

Foursquare is a game that you can only (legitimately) play whilst out and about. You don’t need to be particularly active or sporty to play it – you just have to get out of the house on occasion.

But if you are a bit more active, you should consider signing up for RunKeeper, especially if you’re into running, hiking or cycling. Along with the web site, there are apps for the iPhone and Android which let you track activities. With the help of your phone’s GPS, you can track your run, covering distance and altitude, as well as how many calories you’ll have burnt off. It’s geared up for runners but can be used for other activities, and this includes exercise at the gym where you burn off calories but don’t move any actual distance.

So how does this fit into Foursquare? Well, you can link your RunKeeper and Foursquare accounts together, and as you complete activities on RunKeeper you can earn Foursquare badges. There are presently 5 up for grabs:

  1. ‘Warm Up’ – complete three activities with a minimum distance of 1 kilometre (0.62 miles) and upload them to RunKeeper
  2. ‘5K’ – run 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) and upload it to RunKeeper (this has to be tracked by GPS; running 5km on a treadmill won’t count)
  3. ‘Over Achiever’  – complete five different activities with a minimum distance of 1 kilometre and upload them to RunKeeper – these have to be different types, e.g. hiking, running, swimming, walking, skiing etc.
  4. ‘Marathon’ – run 42.2 kilometres (26.2 miles) and upload it to RunKeeper – again, must be tracked by GPS
  5. ‘NYC Marathon’ – complete the New York Marathon; presumably getting this badge will also get you the previous one if you don’t already have it.

Whilst the last one may be out of reach for those outside the US, the other four are achievable with some effort. ‘Warm Up’ is by far the easiest as you don’t even need to run – as long as you walk for 1 kilometre or more three times, you can get this one. ‘5K’ is a little harder – you need to run just over 3 miles, and walking or cycling doesn’t count. There’s also not much tolerance – on some people have reported that if you run much more than 200 metres over 5km, the badge isn’t awarded. ‘Over Achiever’ is do-able with more effort, but ‘Marathon’ requires a somewhat greater commitment.

So far, I’ve got one hiking activity on RunKeeper, from last weekend in Dentdale, but should be able to add to it to get the ‘Warm Up’ badge soon. ‘5K’ will require a bit more effort since I’m not really the running type, however Christine and I are planning to join the local gym soon so it may be doable in a few weeks.

If you’re prepared to get out there and do a bit of exercise, then as well as feeling good about yourself for keeping healthy, you can also reward yourself with a few Foursquare badges that your lazy ass friends may not have.


  1. Hi Neil,

    afraid all your ‘part one’, ‘part two’ etc. links are 404 (excpet part 12)