First look: Octane’s Zero Runner aims to evolve low-impact run training

SNEWS has your first look at Octane’s Zero Runner, which aims to bridge the gap between treadmills and ellipticals for a more natural run workout.
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The fleet footed might soon be running to your specialty fitness store.

In a bid to bridge the gap between high-impact running on treadmills and the restrictive range-of-motion of ellipticals, Octane plans to change the game with its new and inventive Zero Runner.

The fitness equipment piece, expected to hit stores in August, resembles an elliptical more than a treadmill, with very low impact, but features a hinged design at the knee to allow for a more natural stride and kick to the run. There is also the ability conduct other leg exercises. The device is self-powered — it has no plug — and is about the width of a premium treadmill, but shorter in length. An MSRP is still in the works. The video below shows the Zero Runner in action compared to treadmills and ellipticals.

Octane officially debuted the Zero Runner at this past week’s Boston Marathon, symbolic of its desire to reach a new customer — more than 51 million U.S. runners, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association — and funnel them into specialty retail shops across the nation, said Tim Porth, executive vice president of product development and marketing at Octane.

“We think there’s a great opportunity to bring in this additional running customer that isn’t necessarily coming to specialty fitness,” Porth told SNEWS. “This is a passionate group people for their sport and 31 percent have missed a race because of an injury. They want to be able to train with a natural stride without the threat of injury.”

More than half a million runners (541,000) finished a marathon in 2013, according to Running USA, nearly two million finished half marathons, races that require training for an effective result.

The Zero Runner could help the specialty fitness retail market inch toward a customer base that, at times, it has had trouble attracting, including participants of some of today’s more popular fitness pursuits — running, CrossFit and yoga.

Porth said Octane plans to market to that crowd through running expos, social media and running media outlets. Upcoming live demos of the Zero runner include the Blooms Day 12 K, on May 2-3 in Spokane, Wash. and the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marahtion, also on May 2-3.

--David Clucas

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