Longmont resident offers athletes a leg up with Running Weights
Aug. 2—When Longmont resident Dennis Walsh broke his left leg on a hike 30 years ago, it kicked off a search for the best way to recover from the imbalance caused by the injury.
Decades later, that search has culminated in Walsh's invention, Running Weights — small, steel weights that can be attached to shoes for resistance training. Walsh has spent the last four years polishing his idea, which finally received a patent last month.
Running Weights come in half-ounce and one-ounce sizes colored with bright pinks, blues and yellows. The weights are held in place by shoelaces, allowing them to stay centered and keep from wiggling loose while people are running. Simplicity, Walsh explained, is a key aspect of the design.
"I've discovered that simple things work best," said Walsh, a bus driver for the St. Vrain Valley School District. "My neighbor looks at it, or a stranger looks at it, and they know what it does. It's that simple."
Walsh, 70, said the idea for Running Weights came from tire-balancing wheel weights. Realizing he could create something similar for humans and different from other resistance training devices like ankle weights, Walsh ran through prototype after prototype in a process he described as four years of trial and error.
"It's been a trip," he said. "It's been totally educational, from that tire weight to the finished product ... It comes from a lot of prototyping and a lot of research."
Walsh worked with Kenray Corporation in Lafayette to refine the laser-cut design and had several runners to test the product during its development. He said he's happy to have his invention based in Colorado considering how popular outdoor sports are for the state's residents.
"It's a good place to (launch) this idea, and a lot of people have told me the same thing," he said.
With Running Weights patented, Walsh said he's mainly focused now on putting them in more stores. The weights are currently sold at Simply Bulk Market in downtown Longmont, Niwot Market and, most recently, McGuckin Hardware in Boulder. They can also be purchased on the product's website, runningweights.com.
"The kicker will be Amazon, but I'm just starting out," Walsh said. "It's a springboard into my future."
As the process of building strength in his uninjured right leg continues even now, Walsh said he uses Running Weights "all the time."
"(They've) helped a lot," he said. "It's lemonade from lemons."