I typically crave spin class because I love the feeling of cycling next to someone who never beats me up a hill. But I recently started taking solo runs on the weekends, and came across the free Endomondo Sports Tracker app to keep track of my running paths through the city. Not only does the app track my running path through GPS, it also allows me to compete with friends and other users, as well as keeping track of my calories burned and mileage.
If I'm feeling competitively feisty with running friends, I can compete against their personal best times. Another cool feature allows you to download routes, and try to beat the champion of that route — it's kind of like "mayorships" in Foursquare, but for running, cycling and the like. So, yes, you can use this app for more than just running, you can track spinning, hiking, skating, snowboarding, golfing and more (hence, the reason it's called Endomondo Sports Tracker). I checked the downloadable routes for the Chicago area, and it's sparsely populated at this time.
Sign-up is super easy, just log in with your Facebook account. Once you get set up and add some friends, you can receive real-time pep talks from friends. I love that I can be out running solo and a friend can virtually pop-up and remind me to pick up the pace!