Running on innovation

I wrote a piece about innovation and running for my [now former] job and it’s officially hit the press today (by way of the organisation’s monthly newsletter). Anyhow, it seems to me that since it’s something that I am personally interested in and passionate about, I should share it with you here on Just Frances. This means that the first time I’ve actually told you where I work is a couple of days after I no longer work there. But enough of that, let’s get on to the actual article.

Running on innovation

by Frances Ryan, SCI Communications Manager

Running is one of the most primitive sports known to man; you don’t need shoes or fancy running gear and equipment. All you really need to participate are legs and feet – and even those don’t have to be natural ones.

Since the 1970s, running as a popular sport has increased thanks to iconic distance runners such as David Bedford, an English long-distance runner, and Steve Prefontaine, an American Olympian who helped to inspire the “running boom”. Running is now done for fun and entertainment as much as it is for competition and health.

The popularity of the sport means that there is a desire to continually improve running gear and equipment – from shoes that offer solutions for every foot shape and running gait to clothing specially designed to release or retain heat. In fact, the popularity of running has also meant that race participation is increasing, which has led to improved tools for online race listings and registrations as well as inexpensive digital timing solutions.

Some of Sporting Chance Initiative’s clients have been working on innovative products for the running market, too. FitSip launched their hands-free hydration system last year whilst Go Coco has been selling their coconut water for over two years. Other clients are still in the development stages and are working on products including special running jackets and footwear and sports drinks aimed at specific populations – all of which will add to Scotland’s place as a leader in innovation and invention.

The innovation comes full circle when you look at the number of products and training programmes on the market today that act to emulate barefoot running – if not advocate for actual barefoot running. But despite the trend back towards barefoot running, there will always be someone out there developing the next generation of shoes.

I know that there will be many more innovative products and services introduced to runners in the next few years and I am excited to learn about them as they hit the market. And maybe one day, someone will invent my dream running companion: A thought-activated recording device that would record my inner running monologue, because I come up with the best ideas when I’m running but by the time I get home, I’ve forgotten them.

Sporting Chance Initiative is Scotland’s hub for business innovation in sport. To learn more about their services and how they can help you take your innovations from ideas to creations, visit the SCI website today (no longer active; link removed).

Frances Ryan is the communications manager for SCI and has been with the project since August 2012. She has been a runner since age 14 and participates in a variety of road races each year. Her next race is the Loch Ness Marathon at the end of September.

Join the conversation!