nikegridUK runners will take to the streets in less than a week to compete with other runners across London in Nike’s new interactive street game, Nike Grid. The urban game will launch on April 23, 2010 at 8pm and will last 24 hours. No more, no less.

Nike is no stranger to developing interactive programs for runners. In 2006, Nike and Apple teamed up to produce Nike+iPod, a sports kit that records data over the course of a walk or run and allows the user to upload that data to the Nike+ website. Unlike Nike+iPod, Nike Grid does not require runners to possess any items of technology to track their run. Instead, the game uses payphones across the city of London as check-in points before and after each run. All runners need to play are their fastest shoes and a free player’s account with Nike Grid.

In order to play, runners must register at the Nike Grid website. Once registered, each runner receives a 4-digit game code that they will use to check in and out of each run at designated phone boxes. Maps will be available on the website to allow runners to prepare their routes and find the location of the phone boxes. Four maps have already been released: North, South, East, and West London. The Grid covers 40 postcodes, and runners can choose to run only in their own postcode, or they can steal others’ postcodes to rack up points.

Rules for running the Grid are posted on the Nike Grid website: no walking; no buses; don’t run through walls or walk on water; and don’t even think about cheating! “The Grid will know,” says a comment on the Facebook page, in response to one question asking how Nike can keep people from claiming points after riding bikes or taking the bus between pay phones. “If we reveal how we know, people will try to get around it. It is never foolproof, but we have ways of monitoring,” states a follow-up comment.

Runners can earn points and claim badges for their achievements as they dominate the Grid. In addition to the “Crown” badge, which is given for the most points scored in a single postcode, there are twelve different badges to be earned. The “Speed” badge is earned for, well, running the fastest. Run before 8am, and you’ll get the “Early” badge. Running a bridge makes you eligible for the “Flywire” badge.

Embedded in the game are chances to win more than badges. According to posts on Nike Grid’s Facebook page, once every hour a phone box in each grid “goes Lunar”. The runner who arrives first at this phone box will win a chance to design their own LunarElite+ running shoe.

Will Nike Grid come to other cities besides London? Not yet, according to comments on Facebook. It may be that Nike is waiting to see how the game plays out on April 23rd. If all goes well, maybe Nike will expand the game to other cities.

You can get connected with other runners through Nike Grid’s Facebook page.

Will you be running on April 23rd? Comment and let us know how it goes!