Giving Back: My Week With Mizuno Baton

You may remember that at the beginning of last week I mentioned that I was going to be spending my week running using the app, Mizuno Baton. Now that my week is over, I wanted to share my thoughts on the app.

First, let’s talk about the purpose of the app.  Mizuno Baton uses your phone’s GPS signal to track your mileage over the course of one week. In turn, Mizuno donates $1.00 for every mile you run to Back on My Feet, an organization that helps the homeless get their lives back on track using running. I understand what an integral part of my life running has become, but before I read more about the organization I wasn’t sure exactly how just starting to run could have this power.

Here’s how it works. In step 1, Back On My Feet visits facilities such as shelters and other facilities like missions and halfway houses to describe their program and recruit participants. Once people have elected to participate, they begin training to run. They run 3-4 days a week at a set time. After 30 days of participating in at least 90% of the group runs, participants move on to the next stage.  In this stage, participants work with Back On My Feet Staff to develop a plan for the future and are given access to educational and employment opportunities along with housing opportunities. Back On My Feet says that about 75% of their current participants are in this phase of the program.

Now, on to more about how this works for the runner:

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Step 1. Download the Mizuno Baton app from the app store.
Step 2. Activate your baton. I recommend that you wait until you are ready to begin your first run of the week before you do this. Once activated, the timer will count down from 7 days. This is how long you have to run your miles for Back On My Feet.
Step 3. Use “Start a New Run” to log your first run. Almost every time I started a new run, the app gave me a warning that my GPS signal was weak. I went ahead and used it anyway and it always counted all of my miles.
Step 4. When you finish a run, hit the “End Run” button. After that you can submit your run  or you can add on more runs before you submit. Totally your choice! And, if you submit, you can still add on more runs; it’s just an option.
Step 5. Keep running! Don’t forget your baton! At the end of the week, you will get to see the total amount you contributed.

So what did I think about actually running with the baton? That part was just okay. I love my Garmin, and run with it religiously. On top of that, I very rarely listen to music while I run, so it seemed a little silly to have to carry my phone with me while I ran, but not a horrible inconvenience. I have a SPI belt I used to wear all the time, and it’s stretch pocket was perfect for housing my phone on shorter runs. On my longer run, I stashed it in the pocket of my Nathan Speed 4 hydration belt (although the pocket on that one is a little small for the iPhone).

Also, since I’m not used to carrying something extra, I forgot to wear my phone on two of my 1-mile runs. At least they were short ones! I kind of made up for that by leaving it on after my long run while we walked back across the Wilson Bridge after Sunday’s run. All told, I ended up donating $27.53.

Basically, I really like this concept. People get to do something that  is super easy for one week to give back to an organization that does so much for others.  The only way it would be better is if I could someone import data from my Garmin to cut down on the number of devices I need for a run.

However, I think everyone shoud consider spending a week with Mizuno Baton! You can find out more about the app at http://ifeverybodyran.com!

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