The Komen San Diego Race for the Cure is only a few months away. Many participants like to bring their small children along to enjoy the fresh air and the festivities. One big question we get every year is, “What kind of jogging stroller should I use for race day?” This question can have many different answers but we’ve come up with FIVE major features to consider when using a stroller during a race.
- BIG TIRES
Any type of ‘strollering’ on San Diego neighborhood streets and sidewalks comes with its own risk. Even though in recent years the city has made more efforts to add ramps to the majority of sidewalk corners, there are still many intersections where some form of curb hopping is needed to continue a straight path across the street. The bigger the stroller’s wheels the easier this hop can be both on you and the stroller occupants. This is especially useful if your little one has fallen asleep from the smooth vibrations of the sidewalk. A harsh hop in an ill-equipped stroller can be just the thing to jar them from their slumber and get them throwing a tantrum in the middle of the race.
- SHOCK ABSORPTION
As we mentioned above, San Diego’s roadways and curbs can at times seem like war zone. Potholes and uneven sidewalks can turn what should be a nice stroll in the park into a bumpy and jarring experience for your stroller riding children. One would be surprised at how many advancements have been made with strollers when it comes to ride comfort. While speaking with the salesperson, be sure to mention your desire to use the stroller while jogging and that your child’s comfort is of your utmost concern. This sometimes unnoticed option can mean the difference between a happy child and cranky one.
- FIVE POINT HARNESS
For some this might seem like overkill, especially when you consider the average long distance runner has a pace of 5-8mph. When you add a stroller to the mix that mph drops a bit. Many runners find they are 30-60 seconds slower per mile when pushing a stroller, especially a double stroller. Even so, what seems like a ‘race harness’ is necessary if you want the ultimate protection for your loved ones. We’ve all seen it, toddlers can become very cranky on race day. As much as the bigger tires and shock absorbers will help with the rough ride, a bit of jarring is unavoidable in a race that stretches over three miles of pavement and concrete. As much fun as the event can be for you and your children, safety must rise to the top of your concerns and five point harness can give you that added piece of mind that your little one will be safe should the stroller take a stumble or you have to come to a hasty stop at an intersection.
- RECLINED SEAT ANGLE
Don’t worry, this one won’t cause your child to grow up to be one of those teens that insists on driving with the seat leaning so far back they can hardly see over the steering wheel. When it comes to a jogging-style stroller this is a key safety feature. As we mentioned above, jogging on city sidewalks and streets can lead to abrupt stops for traffic or other slower racers. The drastic lean in the stroller seat gives the passenger an advantage when the momentum tries to carry them forward. This coupled with the five point harness leads to a more comfortable, safer ride for the stroller occupants. Besides safety concerns, wind resistance can also be a major deterrent for racers pushing a stroller and a nicely slopped rig will reduce drag and increase your efficiency, which can improve your race time and overall experience on race day.
- ADJUSTABLE FRONT WHEEL
This last feature is paramount if you are a fan of one hand strollering. Having a fixed front wheel allows the stroller to stay in a straight line and more stable over the many bumps and undulations one experiences in a long race. Many jogging-style strollers come with only the fixed wheel option, which is great if that is their only use but many participants use the strollers for more than just racing. This is why an adjustable front wheel option is ideal. The user can go from a maneuverable stroller for short walks and shopping trips, into a locked wheel cruiser that levels out rough pavement and sidewalks. For those that go off-roading on jogging trails with their strollers, a maneuverable front wheel can be the perfect thing for getting around large stones that could damage your stroller or its occupants.
Now if you are an extreme do-it-your-selfer and nothing made from a factory is sufficient. You may be interested in building a custom stroller for race day like the man in the video below attempted with homage to Batman’s batmobile. Just be warned, this isn’t a job for your weekend carpenter: