Thursday, August 22, 2013

KidRunner: Reinventing Running and Exploring With Kids

Written By: William Warne

We are reinventing running and exploring with kids. And the Bend community of runners is part of our vision; a high performance running machine for hands/arms free running with kids from 6 months to about 4 years old. The current prototype is 70% complete and has run hundreds of miles on roads, trails, beaches and snow/ice. It weighs 30% less than traditional push strollers, fits in a backpack and is designed for safety, beauty and agility. We want your feedback, ideas and experiences running with kids and traditional push strollers. 

It all started four years ago when my daughter was six months old. My wife and I were avid runners but immediately discovered that pushing an awkward, traditional stroller was miserable. We stopped running together so we could trade off and avoid pushing. When we did push, we ran less and felt worse. Our shoulders hurt, we got a poor workout and we were limited to paved roads only. So I started drawing new ideas for a better way to run with kids. KidRunner was born! Several prototypes and two patents later, we are getting closer to reinventing running and exploring with kids. 

Our next steps are to keep testing, to get more community feedback/experiences, to build a new generation prototype and to seek funding for a go-to-market product launch in 2014. Join Us! Lead the Way with your experiences and ideas about improving running and exploring with kids. Help make Central Oregon the place it all started. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Kid in Bend

Written by: Cristina Stavro

I get it.  And you don’t have to say it out loud, because I know you don’t want to admit it, but for some of you, your running might have hit a little boring spell.  Or maybe now that you’ve been in Bend for a year or two or twelve, you think you’ve kind of seen it all and the glitz has momentarily lost its shimmer.

Well allow me to help you out.  Time to get re-stoked about running in Bend.

First, allow me to introduce myself. I’m the new kid. New to FootZone, new to Bend, new to the Pacific Northwest.  If you’ve been out on the trails lately, you actually may have seen me. I’m that person running with a perma-grin and wide eyes and shouting hearty “hello”s to every person I cross paths with. Bend has that effect on me. More on that in a moment.

The majority of my past seven years were spent in West Michigan.  I was involved in the running community out there, and tried to spend as much time as I could rotating through the few trails that were fairly accessible. Mostly wooded and relatively flat, and fairly decent considering it was all I knew.  But life happens and one thing led to another.  A road trip ensued, eventually inspiring a relocation to Bend.  

In my whirlwind of the almost month that I’ve been here, I’ve been getting after any adventure I can get my hands on and running a lot of trails…lots and lots of beautiful trails.  It actually kind of reminds me of the times I’d get home from school and eat all 6 chocolate pudding cups after forgetting to pack a lunch.  I’ve gone all my life without having this kind of access to trails and places to run, bike, hike, and paddle (all within 30 minutes of my front door) and now I just can’t stop. To be honest—I’m a little exhausted, but in the best way possible.

I come in to work these days and I’m always hopped up on some place I had just checked out:

“Oh my goodness, you guys, Green Lakes! Did you know this place exists?!”  In fact, it was my co-worker Jordan who had mentioned the trail to me just last week. Nevertheless, I’d continue as if it were some amazing discovery.  “Did you know there were mountains?! And this river… there’s a river that follows the trail almost the entire way!  And the lake! Two lakes! Three lakes!  It’s AMAZING!” Pause for air. “It’s SO amazing!”

Even cooler: this is just the tip of the green-treed, river-strewn, lake-studded, mountainous iceberg.  It didn’t take me long to recognize that not only is Bend a fantastic place to live, but it’s also a great place to be a runner.  Like I said, Green Lakes was phenomenal, but the kicker was that I was able to drive up in the morning, run the trail, stand in shock and awe for a solid 20 minutes, and get back to town in time for a meeting.  In case you need the reminder, that’s not a common luxury. Awesome, accessible trails and really great people to enjoy them with.  What more could you ask for? 

If things are feeling a little monotonous, get out to a trail and mix it up a bit… find something new or re-discover a trail you’ve checked off your list as “been there, done that,” because I can guarantee that it won’t be the same experience as last time.  Just take a look at where you are. You’re in Bend, Oregon, a one-of-a-kind place. And the trails are insane here. Get excited.

Cristina first discovered Bend while on a cross-country road trip with a friend this Spring. It was love at first sight, so she turned right back around, came back, and is loving every bit of it. She loves a good trail run and believes that avocados make the world a better place. Cristina is FootZone’s and OutsideIn’s newest crew member and helping out with the Half Marathon Training Group this Fall.