Before I get into the review of the Bugaboo Runner, let me share with you that we tend to use things until the wheels come off, almost literally. Our first (and only runner) was an original Baby Jogger. We purchased it 12 years ago when our oldest was an infant. We used it for our first "race" in San Francisco at Chrissy Field. It has served us well over the years, allowing us to be active with all four kids. But the time came to replace it and when we learned last year that Bugaboo was coming out with a jogging stroller, we waited patiently to get our hands on one.
We are current bugaboo bee stroller owners. We absolutely love bugaboo and appreciate that part of the philosophy of the brand is to provide quality products for families who are looking for space saving baby gear. The Runner is no exception. For current bugaboo stroller owners you only need to purchase the frame and corresponding seat adapters. Genius! I can use my Bee stroller seat on the Runner frame. Therefore I am only having to store a second frame rather than a whole other stroller. For those who are not current owners you will need to purchase the entire kit which is pricey in comparison to other strollers on the market - but the advantages I believe the Runner has - make it a stroller worth considering.
There are many things that I absolutely love about the Bugaboo Runner.
* The seat is reversible!!! Ok this is huge everyone. Yes, I know other running strollers provide this option when using the car seat adaptor, but the Runner gives that option beyond the car seat. For my youngest who needs to see me while running, it has been a game changer. I can see him the entire time, talk to him, glance down and smile at him, see if he needs help, etc. He has enjoyed every mile that we have used the Runner, no tears and no reflux (health issues).
* The Handlebars are petite friendly. We have shopped around for running strollers for years. Always the biggest problem was the handlebar height. All strollers, even those where the handle bar top folded down still felt slightly high. With the Runner there are three adjustable heights for the entire bar. Works perfect. I use the middle height often, adjusting to the lowest height when I'm am running against strong wind or up hill to help with leverage while not allowing my shoulders to tighten. David uses the lowest height primarily. The tallest height we do not use. We are short and that height is about mid-chest. I love the different heights for comfort but it has really helped with training with the stroller -- different heights for different conditions.
* Time for baby to relax. The seat reclines! There are three seat heights - completely upright, slight recline and then full recline. Just to note, Bugaboo recommends NOT sitting the child in full upright position while facing you. Our youngest never slept in our old jogger perhaps because it was 12 years old, but regardless he has taken naps while I run in the Runner allowing me to go farther.
* Storage, storage and more storage! The basket is large and that is great, but what's better is that the basket has two rows of elastic straps divided into three sections to securely place items. I've used it for water bottles, baby food and my wallet. There is also three Velcro mesh pockets on the front flap of the undercarriage basket that fit my iPhone 6 Plus perfectly, plus the other two pockets work great for fuel. Everything in its place and a place for everything!
* Large wheels, great suspension, and perfect wheel distance. At first glance, the Runner frame may seem large but in actuality it isn't that much longer than most other jogging strollers. The distance between the wheels is perfect allowing for stability of the seat. Combined with responsive suspension and fixed front wheel (my opinion on this further down), the ride for child and runner is smooth.
* No distractions, minimal design. Ok this might be a silly "like" for the runner, but comparing to other strollers out there I enjoy that it is a seat and a frame. It looks minimal, there are not a lot of things to be fiddled with. It looks great on the road, but doesn't compromise function and comfort.
* Comes with its own air pump. Ok how convenient? It is small enough to take it with you on runs in the basket of you want. This is more of a convenience perk. Most households have a tire pump, but it's always nice to have a dedicated one for your stroller that is compact and easy to use. The Bugaboo Runner kit also comes with a rain cover. If you are a current Bugaboo owner, you will have to purchase this separately.
I will admit that I am a bit biased towards the Bugaboo Runner simply because I am a current owner of the Bugaboo Bee stroller, yet there are a few things that didn't strike a positive note with me.
* Woah, it is heavy! I am used to a very light jogger. My first few uses of the runner (about 15 miles of use) my stroller pace slowed by 30 secs to 1 min. I felt the weight difference immediately. The frame is 19.3 lbs, whereas with the Runner seat (not the bee) it comes to 27.9 lbs. Sizable in my mind.
* Folding can be challenging. I feel as if I need about 3 more inches on me to fold this stroller comfortably. As I said earlier, we keep things until they do not work anymore or simply are not functional in our lives. With that being said, I hate (yup I said hate) having the stroller handle hit or even tap the ground when folding. I want to make sure the stroller lasts long and looks well maintained. The size and weight make it somewhat challenging for me.
Now last but not least, let me address that fixed front wheel. For some, that might be a negative. Having the ability to have the wheel fixed or swivel is personal preference and if there is a budgetary concern or you live in a small space, a "twofer" might be an option. You might want a stroller you can run with and also go about town shopping. However, in my opinion in most cases you want a one trick pony. To be honest, I am a minimalist when it comes to products. I do not like clutter at all. But here are certain times when safety, function and durability take precedence. A fixed front wheel is a must because it offers stability. It is a safety feature. Also running strollers are not compact, no matter the brand. Using a running stroller to go through narrow grocery store aisles or through small store openings is bothersome.
Bugaboo has created a great product with the Runner. They have combined comfort, safety and function with a beautiful aesthetic. The stroller offers many many positive perks that I feel outshine the challenges. When shopping for your first or next running stroller, add the Runner in the mix. Try it out, take it for a test run at your local Buy Buy Baby or Right Start, it is worth the time and investment.