The loneliness of the long-distance runner may have been reduced by the latest update to the Nike+ Runner app. Version 4.3 allows you to challenge friends at other locations to virtual races, set a distance and duration, and then the app keeps track of how you are doing against your mates.

A group chat function allows you to encourage them or mock them as the mood strikes.

The free app uses your iPhone’s GPS and accelerometer to record your progress – no additional hardware is required.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is one of Nike’s best-known fans, sitting on the Nike board and sporting a Nike FuelBand.

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