The Beginnings of LEVER Running

Our Story 🚀

The idea came to us during an easy run in our home of Boulder, Colorado. We--cofounders Brad and Ryan--were jogging around the Walker Ranch loop in December of 2018. Amidst the huffing and puffing from the hills, we started talking about the injuries that oftentimes plagued our lives in running. Brad, a former cross country and track athlete at Baylor University spoke about how he had remained healthy during college and quickly realized that much of this could be attributed to the functionality of one device, the anti-gravity treadmill. However, the more we talked about Brad’s experience with the anti-gravity treadmill, the more we realized that outside of the university and the physical therapy clinic, very few people had access to this functionality to help their running. Additionally, Brad remembered that they took a long time to set up, were often broken down, and were extremely hot to run in.

After the run, we quickly set out to do more research on this space. We learned that the technology behind anti-gravity treadmills was actually born out of space--the technology came from a NASA program. However, we found that its use--for partial body weight support--had been around for much longer. We saw that partial body weight support systems had tons of peer-reviewed literature and science behind them as to how they could help prevent, alleviate, and speed up the return from injury. We saw they could also be used to help optimize performance running--runners are able to run faster on them with a lower metabolic load. We also realized the same issues in the industry that Brad had seen in university--strange bladder pressure while running, glitchy software systems, and long setup times. Most importantly we realized that there were no body weight support systems that were aimed at being accessible to the individual athlete. The products that were out there were extremely technical and came with an extraterrestrial price tag only available to the ultra wealthy, professional sports organizations, higher learning institutions with big budgets, and the most high-end of physical therapy clinics. We felt that this technology should be available all runners, so we set out to see if we could solve this problem.

Ryan, a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Colorado - Boulder spent the next few weeks working on our idea--ideating, testing, and creating our first prototype body weight support system. Our goal was to bring partial body weight support capabilities to the everyday consumer--we wanted everyone to be able to reap the benefits we had read about in the literature and had experienced first hand. Ryan finished his first prototype in a matter of a few weeks. This prototype body weight support system was constructed of flag pole holders, wooden dowels, PVC, and lots and lots of tape. It was ROUGH (see photo), but the general idea worked!

Running on our prototype at a local gym proved our point - there was an easier and much more affordable way to provide partial body weight support for runners. There was no need for a complicated differential air pressure system that took minutes to inflate and required a complicated control system. We found that by using the arms that were included on most consumer treadmills, an elastic cord, and a camming system, we could create a partial body weight support system that was dramatically more affordable than the anti-gravity treadmills we had come to know.

This was the beginning of LEVER Running. We started stress testing the idea among our friends, family, and since this is Boulder after all--several local professional triathletes and runners. Every test started the same. Skeptical, suspicious, and that the device was far too simplistic of a design to actually work. But with one run on our system, we saw quick converts from the harshest of critics into believers. From here, we launched our first LEVER system to consumers beginning in June of 2019 and since then we have been constantly refining, innovating, and helping runners stay healthy.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our journey and we hope you stick around to learn more about our patent pending body weight support system. With your help, we hope to become a necessary staple in training plans and rehab programs all across the globe. We are built to help you run, recover, and heal faster.

Brad and Ryan, Cofounders, LEVER Running