Meridian Industrial


7/31/2019 | ALLISON LITERA


Have you ever been out for a walk, run, or ride and found yourself in an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation? Many of us have. And it’s a shame. Everyone deserves protection and peace of mind when they’re alone outdoors; enjoying a physical activity or one of their favorite hobbies…to live a life without fear or worry.

“This is why we created RunBuddy,” says Ruthie Sutter of Somers, CT. She and her husband Scott, both runners, are the founders of RunBuddy, a smartphone app that acts as your “buddy” when you’re out for a walk, run, or bike ride. The idea came to Ruthie over time, especially after a murder on the rail trail in Connecticut a few years ago. Since then, Ruthie felt more nervous running.

“We were so angered by what happened. We felt like caged animals,” says Scott.

“Running should be enjoyable. It clears your head and it’s great for de-stressing. This wasn’t the case around that time,” Ruthie adds. “My mom was always concerned about me going out for a run by myself after that. Now I use RunBuddy to give her peace of mind.” Scott found developers to work with on the app, and after a year of development, it launched at the beginning of June 2019. It has been receiving great feedback from the running community so far with a few hundred downloads.

“Word is beginning to spread as we tell more people about the app,” says Scott. “Everyone we’ve talked to so far has been really interested and supportive.”

So what does the app do?

With RunBuddy, you can inform your “buddies” that you are going out for a run, walk, bike ride, or hike on your own.


1. Open the app on your smartphone.

2. Choose your activity: running, walking, or cycling.

3. Set your stationary time – the amount of time you might need during your activity to take a break (for example, stopping for a drink of water or to stretch and cool down). This can be anywhere from 1 – 10 minutes. This is the amount of time the app will go before alerting your buddies.

4.) Add a buddy who will be alerted of your activity (you can select up to five buddies at a time). The app asks for access to your contacts to add buddies who have the app downloaded.

5.) Selected buddies will get a notification that you are starting your physical activity and can see on a map where you are located.

6.) Hit “start” and your buddies will get a notification on their phones that you have started your activity and are on your way.

The noise alert used for the notifications is specific to the app, sounding like a bark (perhaps this has to do with the fact that Ruthie and Scott have two dogs, but who can say for sure!). If there is any inactivity for several minutes after your set stationary time, your selected buddies will be alerted. If your stride becomes high-speed (ex. if you were abducted and held captive in a fast-moving vehicle), they would be alerted. If the phone is smashed, an alert will go off to your buddies as well.

The app is free to download and free for non-runners to be a buddy. For those using the fully-functional app to take out with them on a run, walk, or ride, it is 99 cents a month or $9.99 for a year. It comes with a builtin panic button to send your location to your buddies if you feel like you’re in trouble.

“A big question we get is ‘why not connect the app to 911?’” says Ruthie. “We don’t want anyone to hesitate to push the panic button on the app. When the panic button is pushed, the buddy is alerted and can call the runner/walker to see if everything is OK. If the runner/walker doesn’t answer, then the buddy knows to go out and find where the runner/walker is located and then call 911 in case of an emergency.”

The app is only available for U.S.-based smartphones (for now). You can, however, use the app for international travel to alert buddies back home.

The app has other uses as well.

“A great use of the app is for when you might be traveling by yourself for work and you have to walk from a conference into a parking garage by yourself,” says Ruthie. “Or for hikers or hunters in the woods who might experience a heart attack or medical emergency. The buddies will be alerted of their exact location if the panic button is pressed or after several minutes of inactivity. If hikers lose cell service, the app will show their last known location.” Scott adds, “It works well for younger kids [with a cellphone] in middle school who need to travel to/from places without an adult, college students going from a party to their dorm room, or senior citizens who may not have someone around to look after them.”

Ruthie and Scott are currently working on phase I of accessing the app’s panic button on a smart watch. “While there’s an appropriate time for protest, nothing beats love in action,” says Scott. The duo is excited for more people to find out about the app and using it to bring themselves and their loved ones a bit more security in this crazy world.


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