Stroller Discussion & BOB Sport Utility Stroller Review
November 13, 2009 by Bryon Powell · 12 Comments
It just so happens that the ages for top running prowess and child rearing overlap a great deal. We’re not sure whether this is an evolutionary adaptation to optimize running away from predators while carrying a child or to help speed up late night runs to the Kwik-E-Mart for baby supplies… or perhaps it’s just a coincidence. Regardless of the reason, many runners face the dilemma of how to continue running once they’ve got a wee lil’ one to look after.
Sure, some folks give up running. Others hit the treadmill with their kid close by. A lucky group have ultra supportive spouses that watch the kiddo(s), while they go hit the trail. However, a large number of runners end up bringing their child along on the run. World class ultrarunner Michael Wardian has spent countless hours running around Arlington, Virginia with his BOB Revolution Dualie, while Elinor Fish, Trail Runner Magazine’s Managing Editor, has been logging miles with her first born this year. Below we provide iRunFar reader Meredith Murphy’s experience with a BOB Sport Utility Stroller. We’d love to hear how you trained when children entered your life!
Before I got my BOB jogging stroller, I asked every running mom and dad I knew which jogging stroller they used. The majority used the BOB Ironman and a few used the BOB Revolution. Talking with BOB directly and going on the BOB website, I was directed to a feature on their site called “Which BOB is right for me?” and decided on the BOB Sport Utility model.
I am an ultrarunner and avid trail runner and the Sport Utility Stroller is the best option for off roading. I also opted for the infant seat attachment and the handlebar console accessories.
The stroller came and I enlisted my husband to assemble it. It was easy to put together and we have since learned that if you misplace the instructions and user manual all the information is on the BOB website. My husband kept commenting on how nice the stroller was and how high end the parts and materials were. I could not wait to use it!
My daughter came early and after 26 hours in labor I had to have a c-section and that was a big bummer. I had stopped running 6 months into my pregnancy, and all I wanted to do was run, but I had to be patient to heal.
At my 2 week follow up appointment, I was cleared to walk and out I went to the trail with my BOB. The infant car seat fit nicely and securely on the infant attachment with the baby facing towards me. I started walking, just a couple miles at a time, and every step was great. Even with walking, I was enjoying the BOB and it got dirty fast.
Most of my early walks were on a local trail and it held up great through large puddles and thick mud. The knobby tires on the Sport Utility model were perfect for the terrain. The suspension also made it smooth and easy to go over rocks and roots with the stroller. Even with the variable terrain, the baby slept 80% of the time.
Almost every day I got out there with that stroller and was soon fast walking 4-6 miles a day. The handlebar console was a good addition to the stroller. I can easily have two bottles of water right in front of me and the deep middle pocket held my keys, camera, phone and anything else. The big, deep pocket under the seat of the stroller easily holds my bug spray and well stocked diaper bag. On top of that, the back of the stroller has a large mesh pocket for extra storage. As a pack rat ultrarunner, I love having lots of places to stash lots of things and the BOB did not disappoint!
As my baby came early, she was tiny, but from the start she was super strong and active. By 3 months old, we decided to try her in the BOB without the infant seat since she could easily hold her head up for extended amounts of time. [NOTE: BOB recommends not running with a baby in the stroller until the baby is at least 8 months old. Likewise, it warns against running with the Infant Car Seat Adapter installed due to tipping risks.]
She did great from the start. The harness held her in there comfortably and securely; the straps on the harness are well padded and easy to adjust and latch. There are interior pockets next to the baby to stash toys, as well. The sun canopy is also very functional and multi-positional. On the top of the sun canopy, there is a nifty little window so you can keep a watchful eye on the baby while you jog or walk, but there is a flap that can pull over the window if the sun is hitting the baby. You can have the canopy open just a bit or fully, which pulls down in front of the baby to really shield him or her from the sun or wind.
My first few runs with the stroller were awkward, but soon became easier and more comfortable. There is a fast learning curve to running with a stroller. The handlebar is fixed and nicely padded. The padding does get a bit sweaty in the heat of the summer, but I cannot think of any material that you could use on the handlebar that would be padded, hold up in all kinds of weather and not get sweaty. There is a safety wrist strap to wear so the stroller does not get away from you, as well as a strong hand brake. On the back, there is a parking brake, which comes in handy while loading and unloading the baby from the car to the stroller and vice versa.
For trail running, this stroller is tops. The suspension on this model, in conjunction with the knobby tires, makes it great. Early on, I knew it was great for walking on the t
rail, but once I started running I was unsure how it would hold up over the roots, rocks and uneven terrain, and it surpassed all expectations I had. Even with running on the trails, the baby sleeps most of the time in the stroller.
Last, but not least, the stroller is quite lightweight. I have little upper body strength and was concerned about getting it in and out of the car, but it folds up easily and I have no problem lifting it in and out. Also, the wheels easily pop on and off for an easier fit in smaller vehicles.
I had researched many brands and models of jogging strollers, knowing that as a serious and high mileage runner, I would need one. The BOB was definitely the most recommended by other runners and I soon learned why. Between the high quality of the components and the design of the stroller, the ease of usability and all the small details, it is a top notch jogging stroller for all runners. Even though I have the off road model, I have run on it on the paved trails and it soars, so I feel like I have the best of both worlds. The BOB did not disappoint. Also, only 11 weeks after being cleared to run, I ran 60 miles at a local race. The BOB was my key to getting back into shape post pregnancy.
[Disclosure: BOB provided the Sport Utility Stroller at a discount. Also, the links to Amazon in this post are part of an affiliate program that helps support iRunFar.com.]