Want to run through the Grand Canyon? Or dodge club-goers on the Las Vegas strip? Or navigate cobblestoned roads in Venice, Italy? Now you (almost) can from the comfort of your treadmill. Virtual Active is a series of DVDs that simulate running in 200 places around the world. Each 35-minute video ($19.95, vafitness.com) features about six locales paired with music and sounds of nature. There's also a personal trainer option if you'd like encouragement. Here's how Virtual Active brings the outdoors in.
To make the DVDs, company CEO John Ford runs with a camera attached to his chest via a rig and vest that weigh 30 pounds.
"I've tripped over rocks and destroyed several cameras," Ford says. "Our new cameras are now encased in a custom carbon fiber and Kevlar shell."
Sharing the Road
"In Yellowstone, I ran past a herd of buffalo at a distance that probably wasn't safe," he says. "They snorted at me."
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Facing the Elements
"I didn't realize how much mist there is at Niagara Falls," he says. "I got dowsed."
Ford hopes to get elite athletes to run with him. "Imagine getting pep talks from the pros," he says. Ford also plans to offer race course tours, so you could climb Heartbreak Hill virtually.