At StrollRunner, our core values are: honesty, courage, creativity and quality. You will see these recurring themes in our mission, vision, research & development, product and story.
Our mission is simply complex: to give you freedom while running with a stroller.
Being hands-free is just that; freeing. A solid lift over that of running/jogging/walking while having to hold onto the handle. Freedom to move your body naturally. Freedom to swing your arms while you run. Freedom from injuries caused by being in an unnatural position while willing your body to continue forward. Freedom to breathe better in an upright position. Freedom of your mind to get lost in your run.
Since the company began prototyping in October of 2017, we have created no less than fourteen different models of StrollRunner. The earliest design consisted of a Fox motocross kidney belt, turned backwards, with aluminum poles jutting out in a triangle shape, the other ends attaching to the stroller handle. Back then the biggest challenge was attaching to the handle; how to make it a solid and secure connection while still allowing for the movement from the runner’s core to be natural and steer the stroller. This would be a continual challenge throughout the next four years.
Other challenges included the fit at the runner. We come in all different sizes, so how to make something that fit, and worked, on any body was up next. We moved to a custom-sewn belt that the StrollRunner arm would slide into. We worked with the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory to create what we would use for many prototype iterations. This was costly, fabrics were difficult to work with, and it wasn’t easy to get the product to stay in place on the runner to ensure the experience we were aiming for. When we created the belly plate, we eliminated the need for a separate belt and maintained the adjustability of sizing around the runner. It also provided a perfect platform for the pivot point.
Owner and founder, Heather Hayes, worked with biomedical engineers at the University of Vermont Medical Center to come up with the pivot point that connects the belly plate and the anodized aluminum arm. Knowing that all movement originates at our core, allowing the body, and the product, full motion at the belly button area is crucial to both the product working, and the runner maintaining control. The design piece that came out of these sessions is 3D printed and allows flexibility, maintains a strong connection, and gives the runner the ability to continue core movement in the directions that come naturally.
Once we had a solid design at the person, we needed solid steering ability. Testing with the two most popular jogging strollers, the Bob and the Thule, we began focusing on the front wheel, and its abilities and limitations, both locked and unlocked. Locking the wheel gives the best straight-forward trajectory while running, but limits the ability to turn without intervention. Allowing the wheel to swivel grants the ability to steer, but presents a control issue. When we run, we are moving up and down with our bodies, if even ever-so-slightly. When connected to the stroller handle, via hands or StrollRunner, we are then transferring that pressure to the stroller and lifting the front wheel by a tiny fraction. When holding the handle, you wouldn’t notice as you are ever-correcting so many things at once already. With StrollRunner, we noticed in the way we were chasing the side to side movements created by that moment of lift. Where the wheel was free to turn, it would land and cause us chase. This is why the wheel damper was created. It attaches to the frame of the front wheel and using a simple bungee system, can be loose or taught to a user’s preference of how far to allow the wheel to swivel without allowing for full motion. A happy medium of straight and swivel. This allows the runner to steer in typical curved paths while not allowing the wheel to uncontrollably land where it may.
The simple but secure locking clip system at the handle provides for necessary rotation around the handle, absorbing some of that up and down motion you create, while ensuring the runner will stay connected to the stroller. Being connected is the most safe way to run with your child in the stroller. If you fall, your stroller, and child, will not roll away from you. Provided they are securely fastened into the stroller themselves, the stroller is designed to protect them.
Four years later and we have a product we are proud of, made right here in the USA. Born out of a single experience our founder had while running with her daughter and a stroller in 2008.
We designed StrollRunner with you in mind. To feel good about spending time with your kids while feeling good about you. For exercise. For the mental release brought on by exercise. To make it easier to go hang with some other mom or dad friends and be social. To feel like you’re making a contribution to your partner and taking the kid(s) off their hands for a bit. For Freedom.
We love our families, but we also know that everyone needs to remember, and experience, what it’s like to have some time to themselves again.
Heather Hayes, Founder & CEO