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Publication numberUS3433480 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 18, 1969
Filing dateSep 15, 1966
Priority dateSep 15, 1966
Publication numberUS 3433480 A, US 3433480A, US-A-3433480, US3433480 A, US3433480A
InventorsColeman James T, Fox James William
Original AssigneeColeman Fox Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable running ropes
US 3433480 A
Images(2)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 18, 1969 J. COLEMAN ET AL 3,433,480

PORTABLE RUNNING ROPES Filed Sept. 15, 1966 Sheet of 2 /A/'//vm5, JAMES 7. COLEMAN JAMES M Fox 5% 1477'0KNEY5 March 18, 1969' co ET AL PORTABLE RUNNING ROPES of E Sheet Filed Sept. 15, 1966 awe/woes, JAMES Z COLEMAN JAMES M Fox Arrow/5Y9 United States Patent 3,433,480 PORTABLE RUNNING ROPES James T. Coleman and James William Fox, Paducah, Ky.,

assignors to Coleman-Fox, Inc., Paducah, Ky., a corporation of Kentucky Filed Sept. 15, 1966, Ser. No. 579,535

US. Cl. 27355 15 Claims Int. Cl. A63b 69/00, 23/04 ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A portable runway for practice running is disclosed having a framework for supporting a plurality of cross lines and an intersecting center line to define spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use. The cross lines are resilient to prevent tripping and injury to the runner and may include a rope and a spring or alternatively elastic rope. Cross members of the framework are generally U-shaped, the sides extending inwardly at an acute angle for stability and further safety. Attachments for the cross lines are positioned underneath the side members also to prevent possible injury. The framework may be pivoted or sectionized for ease of transporting and storage.

The present invention relates to devices for practicing running and, more particularly, to a portable runway device defining spaces in which the runner is to place his feet.

In the teaching of running sports, such as track and football, it is desirable to have the players practice running in such a manner as to improve the coordination between the eyes and the feet to make the runner more agile. Such an exercise has proven to be especially beneficial in the game of football wherein broken field running is needed to elude potential tacklers.

Historically, setting up a runway for this type of running practice consisted in laying down a number of old auotmobile tires along a course wherein the athlete would attempt to place his feet only within the tires as be proceeded along the course. Because this arrangement was rather cumbersome and required a large number of separate elements, it has been proposed to provide suitable integral structure to take the place of these rubber tires and provide a more efiicient runway. While these devices have generally been accepted by the coaches and teachers, they have proven to require several man hours to set up in their permanent position and as such have left much to be desired in terms of convenience to the coaches and teachers who must prepare the course. Further, it has been found that once the prior devices have been permanently staked to the ground, within a short time the ground becomes worn in the designated places for the runners feet due to the action of the spikes on the shoes of the runners, so that when it rains the course is made muddy and slippery and thus unusable. In this case, it takes valuable time to move the runway to another position, which means lost practice and coaching time.

Accordingly, it is one object of the present invention to provide a fully portable runway of the type described, thereby overcoming the foregoing shortcomings of the prior art devices.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a runway device which is adapted to remain in assembled condition and requires no stakes to be driven into the ground for use.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a runway device of relatively simple construction for ease and economy of manufacture of the same.

According to the device of the invention, there is provided a framework defining a practice runway with a lattice-work of lines being supported by the framework so as to designate the spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use of the device. Preferably, the framework comprises a pair of opposed side members which generally define the running course, said side members being connected and supported by a plurality of generally -shaped cross members. It will be realized that a running device of this construction can be easily transferred from one position on the practice field to another since it is lightweight and can be easily slid on the cross members across the ground by a single person.

Furthermore, the preferred embodiment of the invention is made in sections to make the runway easier to transport over long distances and easier to store when not in use. If desired and in accordance with other features of this invention, this sectionized runway can be hinged so that the same can be folded over on itself and provided with special wheels for additional convenience and ease of storage and handling.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the lines that define the spaces are provided with resilient means to permit flex'ure of the same upon contact with the runner so as to prevent tripping of the runner should he catch his toe on one of the cross ropes. In addition, if a runner is tripped and falls during the running practice with the device, the resilient means allows the lines to give thereby avoiding possible injury to the runner. Furthermore, the framework has been designed to prevent injury to the runner if he should fall on it, and at the same time it has proven to have required stability in the set position.

It is thus another object of the present invention to provide a portable runway for practice running which incorporates a rigid frame and a latticework of lines mounted on the frame to define the running course.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a runway of the type described which is exceptionally safe to be used by all groups and ages of runners.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a runway which is easily transferred from one position to the other in an assembled condition and yet is exceptionally stable in position for use.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a portable, lightweight runway device which is easily stored and transported, but is also ruggedly constructed for rough use.

Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description, wherein we have shown and described only the preferred embodiments of the invention, simply by way of illustration of the best modes contemplated by us of carrying out our invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modification in various obvious respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 shows an overall perspective view of the device in use;

FIGURE 2 is a top view of the device of FIGURE 1 showing the sectionized construction;

FIGURE 3 is a side view of the device of FIGURES 1 and 2;

FIGURE 4 is an end view of the device illustrated in FIGURES 1-3;

FIGURE 4a is a detail view of the preferred C-shaped hook for connecting the latticework of ropes to the framework;

FIGURE 5 is a detail view partially in cross section showing .a suitable structure for use to form the connection for plural sections of said device;

FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention having hinged sections;

FIGURE 7 is a side view partially in cross section showing the manner in which the runway device of FIG- URE 6 may be folded for transporting or storing;

FIGURE 8 is a detail view of the hinge of the alternative embodiment of FIGURES 6 and 7;

FIGURE 9 is an enlarged detail view of split cylinder foam rubber material that may be used on the framework of the present device for various purposes; and

FIGURE 10 is a detail view of alternative form of cross line used with the runway of the present invention.

Referring now to FIGURE 1 of the drawings for a more specific description of the present invention, there is shown a runway 10 which comprises a framework 11 supporting a latticework 12 of space-defining lines for the purpose of defining a series of right and left-hand spaces 13, 14 on a generally fiat surface G; it being understood that the surface G would normally be the ground if the runway 10 is to be used outside and would be the gym floor or equivalent, if the runway 10 is to be used for indoor practice. As mentioned above and clearly shown in this figure, the intended use of the runway 10 is for running practice by a runner or player P, who proceeds along the course of the runway 10 by placing his feet in the designated spaces 13, 14 in the well-known highstepping fashion to clear the latticework 12. As is apparent, this running exercise is most effective to improve the coordination and thus the agility of the player P and after practice with the runway 10, the coordinated movement of the runner P with the placement of the feet in the spaces 13, 14 in the proper manner becomes more and more automatic, as desired.

As best shown in FIGURES 1-4, the framework 11 includes a pair of side members 20, 21 which are effective to define the sides of the course of the runway 10. The side members 20, 21 are supported in the illustrated fashion by a plurality of cross members C, which can broadly be described as being generally U-shaped in configuration. The cross members C are preferably fabricated of a single piece bent to have a central portion 23 adapted to rest on the surface G so as to support the entire framework 11 above said surface G and to have upstanding legs 24, 25 for supporting the respective side members 20, 21 at a predetermined height above the surface G. At this point, it is noted the framework 11 is most efficiently fabricated from suitable size metal pipe or tubing, as shown, with the joints being formed by a suitable weldment, although it is to be understood, of course, that any equivalent construction could be used if desired.

As shown in FIGURE 4, the legs 24, 25 extend at an angle of approximately 60 with respect to the central portion 23 of the cross member C so that the respective bight portions 26, 27 of legs 24, 25 aid in stabilizing the runway 10 during use. In other words, as can be seen in FIGURE 4, with the legs 24, 25 positioned outside the side members 20, 21, the center of gravity of the runway 10 is maintained well within the outer limits of the framework 11 with the bight portions 26, 27 serving as a form of outrigger to maintain the runway 10 upright. Also, as shown in this figure, the bight portions 26, 27 of the legs 24, 25 are arcuately shaped so that in the case where a player P happens to trip and fall on the side members 20, 21, the runway 10 is capable of a slight tipping action to absorb the blow and thereby prevent possible injury. In actual use, the runway 10 of the preferred embodiment illustrated, has been shown to be capable of such tipping action with a rapid return to the original set position so that the next player in line is not interrupted.

The latticework of lines 12 is shown to comprise an array of cross lines 30 connected to generally C-shaped loops 30a welded or otherwise suitably attached on the underside of the side members 20, 21 at an angle of approximately 45, as shown in FIGURES 4, 4a. This particular positioning of the loops 30a lessens the chance of injury should the player P fall and come in contact with the upper side of the side members 20, 21. Crisscrossing the cross lines at their mid-points is a center line 31, which runs the full length of the runway 10 and along with the cross lines 30 serves to define the spaces 13, 14 in which the played P is to place his feet. The center line 31 is preferably connected to each of the cross lines 30 to maintain the spaces 13, 14 of substantially equal size and is solely supported by the cross lines 30.

The cross lines 30 and the center line 31 can be suitably formed of any relatively lightweight rope available, such as the common clothesline variety; however, it has been found that nylon rope is particularly adapted for efficient use with the runway 10, since it is more rugged and resistant to weather, and better resists cutting which might occur due to contact with the spikes of the runner P.

In order to keep the cross lines 30 in a taut condition and permit fiexure of said cross lines 30 as well as said center line 31 upon contact with the runner P, there is provided a spring 34 at one end of each of said cross lines 30. This allows the lines 30, 31 to flex by stretching the spring 34 by a limited amount upon contact with the toe of the runner P, which limited fiexure in most cases prevents the runner P from being tripped so that he can continue to run the entire length of the runway 10 without interruption. Furthermore, if the runner P inadvertently happens to place his feet directly on the lines 30, 31, serious injury, such as jamming of the leg joints of the runner P that might occur in certain prior art running ropes where the lines were rigid, is avoided since the springs 34 have sufficient stretchability or flexibility to allow the lines 30, 31 contacted to give, thus allownig the runners feet to touch the ground in the normal manner. Also, in accordance with this feature of the lines 30, 31 of the present invention, the important safety feature is added wherein the entire latticework of lines 12 is capable of giving upon the occasion of a runner P tripping and falling into said latticework 12.

In accordance with another important aspect of the present invention, the runway 10 is formed in sections for the ease of storing and transferring the same. Thus, a first and second section 35, 35 has been shown in the drawings to illustrate this principle; it being noted that like reference numerals refer to like elements with a suifix added to the elements of the second section 35' for identification. For the purpose of connecting the sections 35, 35, suitable connectors 37 are shown (note FIGURE 5) and each comprises a sleeve 38 which is welded to the side members 20', 21' of the section 35', with the adjacent side member 20, 21, respectively, of the section 35 being telescopically received by said sleeve 38 and locked therewith by means of a suitable locking pin 39. With this construction, it can be seen that the runway 10 can be easily disassembled into sections 35, 35 for transporting and storing of the same, and similarly, these sections 35, 35 can be readily linked together to form the runway 10 when desired.

To complete the connection of the sections 35, 35', there is provided an auxiliary line 31a for the purpose of interconnecting the center lines 31, 31' of said sections 35, 35', as clearly shown in FIGURE 2. It is to be understood that this auxiliary line 31a may be connected to the adjacent cross lines 30, 30' in any suitable manner, such as by hooks or the like.

In FIGURES 6 and 7, there is illustrated an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein the sections 35, 35 are hinged together by hinges 40 so that the runway 10 of the present invention can be folded over on itself for still further convenience in transporting and storing the device (note dashed line position of section 35 in FIGURE 7). As shown in FIGURE 8, the hinge 40 may comprise suitable vertical hinge plates 41, 42 mounted on the adjacent side members 20, 20', and 21, 21', respectively, which hinge plates are connected in the usual manner by hinge pin 43.

As best shown in FIGURES 6 and 7, there is provided on each of the upstanding legs 24 of the cross member C, an outwardly extending cam arm 45 which serves to rotatably mount wheels 46. Thus, for further convenience, after the section 35' has been folded over on the section 35, as shown in FIGURE 7, the end of the folded runway opposite the wheels 46 is lifted in the manner indicated by the arrow 47 in this figure, whereupon said wheels 46 are cammed down into engagement with the surface G whereby the runway 10 can be easily transported over substantially long distances.

As mentioned above, the cross lines are preferably positioned on the underside of the side members 20, 21 to prevent possible injury to the runner P if he should fall into the same, and further along this line, the present invention contemplates the use of resilient padding for the side members 20, 21 of suitable foam rubber or plastic in the form of a cylinder 48. As shown in FIGURE 9, a split 48a down one side of said cylinder allows the cylinder 48 to be easily positioned on the side members 20, 21 by simply spreading the same along the split 48a so that it assumes the position shown in FIGURE 6. It is noted that this padding could be of particular advantage where the runners using the runway 10 are of a young age and lacking in the necessary coordination to prevent frequent falling during negotiation of the course.

It is contemplated within the scope of the present invention to provide alternative forms of the U-shaped cross member C. For example, as shown in the alternative embodiment of FIGURE 6, the central portion 23 may form a substantially 90 angle with respect to the lags 24. On the other hand, the U-shaped member C could be made more arcuate along its entire length so that the legs 24 extend at an obtuse angle with respect to the central portion 23 whereby the tipping action from a player falling on the frame would be more pronounced than in either of the above cases. As with the padding 48, this arrangement might be preferred in certain cases where youngsters are using the runway 10 to further guard against injuries from falling on the runway 10.

As shown in FIGURE 6 and in accorodance with the invention, resilient cylinder skids 50 (identical to the padding cylinders 48) can be placed around the central portion 23 of the cross members C for indoor use of the runway 10 to prevent marring of the gym floor. These skids 50 also prevent undesirable sliding of the runway 10 during use if the runner comes in contact with the lines 30, 31 or the framework 11.

It has been considered that the lines 30, 31 could be selected to give additional stretchability or flexibility by providing elastic or rubber ropes 50 (FIGURE 10), thus eliminating the necessity for the springs 34. In this case, it might be desirable to include a nylon mesh cover 51 on the rubber ropes to improve the serviceability of the same.

Thus, in summary, it can be seen that the runway 10 of the present invention offers certain results and advantages in that it is of relatively simple construction for economy, and is particularly constructed for ease of portability. Furthermore, the present runway 10 is safe for use by runners of all ages, which is always a prime consideration in training devices of this type.

In this disclosure, there is shown and described only the preferred embodiments of the invention, but, as aforementioned, it is to be understood that the invention is capable of various changes or modifications within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed by the accompanying claims.

I claim:

1. A portable runway for use by a runner to practice running on a generally fiat surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, cross members for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, said cross members being of generally U-shaped configuration, the central portion of said cross members being for cooperation with said surface to support said framework above said surface, the upstanding legs of said cross members being for positioning said side members, a plurality of cross lines extending across and connected to said framework at a pre determined height above said surface and at predetermined spaced intervals to define spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use, and said cross lines including means to make the same stretchably resilient to keep said cross lines in taut condition and to permit flexure of said lines upon contact with said runner, said resilient means having sufiicient resiliency to permit said lines to give such as to allow the runners feet to engage said surface when said lines are stepped on.

2. The runway of claim 1 wherein said lines comprise substantially inelastic rope and said resilient means comprises a spring attached to each of said cross ropes between one end of the rope and the adjacent side member.

3. The combination of claim '2 wherein said rope is constructed of nylon to resist wear and weather.

4. The combination of claim 1 wherein said resilient means includes elastic ropes, said cross lines being defined by the outer surface of said ropes.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said outer surface of said ropes com-prises a fabric mesh covering.

6. A portable runway for use by a runner to practice running on a generally flat surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, cross members for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, said cross members being of generally U-shaped configuration, the central portion of said cross members being for cooperation with said surface to support said framework above said surface, the upstanding legs of said cross members being for positioning said side members, and a plurality of stretchably resilient cross lines extending across and connected to said framework at a predetermined height above said surface and at predetermined spaced intervals to define spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use, the resiliency of said lines being sufficient to prevent injury resulting from the runner making contact with said lines with his feet or legs, said upstanding legs of said cross members being directed inwardly at an acute angle with respect to said central portion to assist in maintaining said framework in the upright position in the transverse direction with respect to said framework, said cross members being separated from each other to provide stability in the longitudinal direction with respect to said framework.

7. The runway of claim '6 wherein the bights of said cross members are curved to allow limited tipping action of said runway upon contact with said runner.

8. The runway of claim 7 wherein said acute angle is substantially 60 for stability so as to resist tipping of said runway when a runner falls on said side member.

9. A portable runway for use by a runner to practice running on a generally flat surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, cross members for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, said cross members being of generally U-shaped configuration, the central portion of said cross members being for cooperation with said surface to support said framework above said surface, the upstanding legs of said cross members being for positioning said side members, a plurality of cross lines extending across and connected to said framework at a predetermined height above said surface and at predetermined spaced intervals to define spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use, said cross lines including means to make the same stretchably resilient to keep said lines in taut condition and to permit flexure of said lines upon contact with said runner, a center line crisscrossing at mid-points with said cross lines so as to be substantially centered between said side members, said framework comprising first and second sections, means on said side members for connecting said sections and an auxiliary line for interconnecting the center line of said sections.

10. A portable runway for use by a runner to practice running on a generally fiat surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, cross members for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, said cross members being of generally U-shaped configuration, the central portion of said cross members being for cooperation with said surface to support said framework above said surface, upstanding legs of said cross members being for positioning said side members, a plurality of cross lines extending across and connected to said framework at a predetermined height above said surface and at predetermined spaced intervals to define spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use, said cross lines including means to make the same stretchably resilient to keep said lines in taut condition and to permit flexure of said lines upon contact with said runner, a center line crisscrossing at midpoints with said cross lines so as to be substantially centered between said side members, said framework comprising first and second sections and a hinge connecting the side members of said sections whereby said framework can be folded over on itself for ease of transporting and storing.

11. The runway of claim 10 wherein is further provided a pair of outwardly extending arms mounted on said upstanding legs of the outer cross member of one of said sections, a wheel mounted on each of said arms and normally positioned just above said surface, whereby said runway is capable of being bodily transported on said Wheels when said framework is folded and the end of said one section opposite said arms is raised.

12. A portable runway for use by a runner to practice running on a generally flat surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, cross members for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, said cross members being of generally U-shaped configuration, the central portion of said cross members being for cooperation with said surface to support said framework above said surface, the upstanding legs of said cross members being for positioning said side members, a plurality of stretchably resilient cross lines extending and connected to said framework at a predetermined height above said surface and at predetermined spaced intervals to define spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use, the resiliency of said lines being sufiicient to prevent injury resulting from the runner making contact with said lines with his feet or legs, and C-shaped loops on said side members for attaching said cross lines, said loops being positioned on the underneath side of said side members at an angle of approximately 45 with respect to the horizontal plane passing through said side members, whereby to prevent injury to a runner falling on said side members.

13. A portable runway for use by a runner to practice running on a generally fiat surface comprising an elongated framework including a pair of opposed side members, cross members for supporting said side members in a spaced relationship to each other, said cross members being of generally U-shaped configuration, the central portion of said cross members being for cooperation with said surface to support said framework above said surface, the upstanding legs of said cross members being for positioning said side member, a plurality of cross lines extending across and connected to said framework at a predetermined height above said surface and at predetermined spaced intervals to define spaces in which the runner is to place his feet during use, and said cross lines including means to make the same stretchably resilient to keep said cross lines in taut condition and to permit flexure of said lines upon contact with said runner, said resilient means having sufficient resiliency to permit said lines to give such as to allow the runners feet to continue to be raised an additional distance at least as long as said predetermined height after first contacting said lines to prevent tripping by contact with the toe of the runner.

14. The combination of claim 13 wherein said resilient means includes elastic ropes, said cross lines being defined by the outer surface of said ropes.

15. The combination of claim 14 wherein said outer surface of said ropes comprises a fabric mesh covering.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,608,409 8/1952 Pinkerton 273-194 2,758,632 8/1956 Koller et al 27252 3,010,447 11/1961 Roemer.

3,255,115 6/1966 Peterson 272-57 RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner.

THEATRICE BROWN, Assistant Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2608409 *Sep 30, 1949Aug 26, 1952Aleane Cloward PinkertonGolf swing trainer
US2758632 *Jun 2, 1954Aug 14, 1956Wonder Products CompanyStand for spring suspended hobby horse
US3010447 *Sep 8, 1958Nov 28, 1961Trueflight Mfg CoArrow nock locating means
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3999755 *Mar 27, 1975Dec 28, 1976Shealy Jr Victor DalmuthFootball training device
US4059268 *May 10, 1977Nov 22, 1977Forrest Charles PAgility running obstacle device
US4108435 *Jul 12, 1976Aug 22, 1978Coleman James TPortable runway with longitudinal supports and tension holding means
US4134586 *Jul 12, 1977Jan 16, 1979King James RPortable running ropes with flat spring cross members
US4176471 *Dec 8, 1977Dec 4, 1979Roe Thomas JMarching guide
US4892302 *Dec 9, 1988Jan 9, 1990Daigle Dennis LJumping skill training game
US6053824 *Jan 19, 1999Apr 25, 2000Boudreaux; Glen T.Portable obstacle course system
US6135921 *Dec 1, 1998Oct 24, 2000Holland; DennisLong jump training apparatus
US8465290Feb 17, 2011Jun 18, 2013Mark G. RodriguezAthletic training device
WO2008015644A2 *Aug 1, 2007Feb 7, 2008Advanced Distrib S P AA sports or games apparatus with elastic elements
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/440, 482/14
International ClassificationA63B69/00, A63B23/04
Cooperative ClassificationA63B23/0464, A63B69/0028
European ClassificationA63B69/00J