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The race against the T

On Friday, Michael Ravert, CIS’16, attempted to answer a question many Bostonians have postulated for years: can the average person outrun the MBTA’s Green Line?

On that day, the answer was yes. But it was pretty close.

Ravert is currently working on co-op at RunKeeper, a Boston-based company that created a GPS fitness-tracking app. He and three of coworkers raced a trolley on the Green Line’s B branch down Commonwealth Avenue, starting from the Boston College station and ending about four miles away at Blandford Street station near Kenmore Square.

The final result: Ravert crossed the finish line first in a time of 24:08. The trolley made it in 24:49.

“This was an awesome experience,” Ravert said after running. “This was a fun race to do. We did a great job pacing each other.”

RunKeeper and event-organizing website The Boston Calendar coordinated the event, dubbed “Outrun the Green Line.” Ravert said he signed up because it was a great way to get to know his new colleagues better.

“An email was sent out about a month ago and I had just started my co-op so I figured it would be fun,” Ravert said. “I didn’t really think anything of it until a couple weeks ago when the race really started to become popular online.”

RunKeeper created a website for the event where people could monitor the runners’ and the trolley’s progress. The trolley held a sizeable lead on the runners during the first half of the race through the hills of Boston’s Brighton and Allston neighborhoods. But the runners caught up once the road got flatter.

Ravert crossed the finish line as the trolley waited at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Blanford Street. A runner since high school, Ravert said he didn’t run anymore than usual to prepare for the race.

Ravert, who is studying computer science at Northeastern, learned about RunKeeper’s co-op at the university’s co-op fair. A friend suggested he look specifically at RunKeeper because the company combines two of his passions: running and computer science.

On co-op at RunKeeper, Ravert has worked on program development for both Androids and iPhones. He said it’s been a valuable learning experience thus far, particularly because it’s his first foray into iPhone development.

Ravert attributes his work as a tutor and undergraduate teaching assistant in the College of Computer and Information Science with helping prepare him for the co-op. “Teaching others certain programs that we use at RunKeeper helped me to understand them better, as well,” he said.