A Chair Pusher’s Guide: Running Chair vs. Wheelchair

TOWaterfrontMarathon2004-7Finishing the 2004 Toronto Scotiabank with a Boston Qualifying time in her old Baby Jogger.
I squeaked under my qualifying time of 3:30, Boston didn’t count seconds back then.

Having pushed my daughter in her standard chair, I can’t recommend it for anything other than short distances over flat, smooth courses. For running, I found a regulation wheelchair to be very unstable. At slow speeds (walking), it’s great and comfortable, but a standard wheelchair at running speeds is extremely unstable.

  • The center of gravity is too high, it’s very tippy when cornering
  • It is very hard to control, as it will not track in a straight line, making it very hard for the pusher
  • The push handles are too close to the chair to get a proper stride
  • Having the push handles parallel to the direction of travel makes it ergonomically incorrect for the pusher , and difficult to apply force to propel the chair forward.
  • There are no usable brakes, unless the chair occupant can assist. Not having brakes can be extremely dangerous for both the passenger and runners in front of them. For hills and especially in the finish line chute of a race, brakes are required.

In my opinion, a regulation wheel chair is too dangerous to use at running speed for the runner, the occupant and those around them.

The only three options that I have found:

  1. A fold up type jogger (Baby Jogger)
  2. A modified push rim wheelchair racer
  3. A custom-built modified push rim wheelchair racer

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