Title:
Portable runners starting block
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lightweight runners starting block assembly with adjustable positions for the foot blocks and adjustable angles for the foot plates is disclosed. The position of the foot blocks can be adjusted by selecting from a series of holes in the central tie bar. The tilt angles of the foot plates can be adjusted by selecting from one of several notches in the brace arms. The foot blocks can be easily removed from the central tie bar and folded flat so that the three parts can be stored in a small bag for convenient portability.



Inventors:
Held, Franklin W. (Del Mar, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/189406
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
07/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63K3/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Franklin W. Held (Del Mar, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A lightweight portable runner's starting block assembly consisting of three parts; a front foot block, a back foot block and a central tie bar.

2. A starting block assembly according to claim 1, wherein said central tie bar does not touch the track surface and holds the two foot blocks in the desired relative position to each other. The desired front to back separation of the two foot blocks is selected by choosing from a number of holes in the tie bar in which to engage the front block and the back block. The foot blocks can be inserted into the tie bar from either side so the sprinter can have either foot forward. The engagement of the foot blocks is secured by a tightening screw and a tightening bar.

3. A starting block assembly according to claim 1, wherein said foot blocks are hinged at the top and secured in position by a notched brace arm. The tilt angle of the front plate of each foot block can be adjusted by selecting from one of several notches in the brace arm.

4. A starting block assembly according to claim 1, wherein the entire assembly can be easily separated into its three parts. The two foot blocks can be folded flat so that the three parts can be easily placed in a small bag for convenient storage and portability.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

Not applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to equipment used by runners to get a good start in a sprint race. Initially starting blocks were developed for dirt tracks with large spikes driven into the dirt to keep them from slipping. Starting blocks generally evolved into assemblies with a central rail and a moveable block attached to each side as in U.S. Pat. No. 3,494,615 by G. L. Moore. With the advent of synthetic track surfaces starting blocks generally used shorter spikes to avoid damaging the track surface and often provided tilt angle adjustments for each foot block as in U.S. Pat. No. 4,611,803 by Newton, Jr. More recently, portable starting blocks small enough and light enough to be conveniently carried in a runners equipment bag have been developed for synthetic track surfaces. These are seen in U.S. Pat. No. 6,238,319 by Young and U.S. Pat. No. 6,342,029 by Richards.

Related U.S. Patent Documents

3,494,615February, 1970G. L. Moore
4,089,519May, 1978Newton, Jr.482/19
4,561,650December, 1985Newton, Jr.482/19
4,611,803September, 1986Newton, Jr.482/19
4,754,965July, 1988Moye482/19
5,342,259August, 1994Crichton482/19
6,238,319May, 2001Young482/19
6,342,029January, 2002Richards482/19

The earlier blocks with the central rail have the disadvantage of being heavy and too large to fit into a runner's equipment bag. They also generally allow some flat surfaces to rest on the track which contributes to slippage during the start of a race. The more recent portable blocks have the disadvantage of being difficult to position on the track because they are two completely separate foot blocks and have to be positioned separately. Powerful sprinters often displace the back foot block when starting. Since it is not attached to the front foot block in any way, it has to be repositioned after each such start. This is a significant disadvantage when doing repeat training starts or warmup starts for a race.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

This invention provides a truly portable starting block with a central tie bar that makes it easy to position the assembly on the track. The tie bar also prevents the displacement of the back foot block so that it is never necessary to reposition it after a start. The only part of the entire assembly to touch the track are the spikes which are placed directly under and behind the sprinter's feet. This arrangement insures the securest possible anchorage to the track and eliminates slippage problems.

The longitudinal separation of the foot blocks is accomplished by choosing from a series of holes in the tie bar when connecting the foot blocks to the tie bar. The tilt angle of the each foot plate is adjustable by selecting from a series on notches in the brace arm that secures the angle between the front and back plates of each foot block.

Each foot block is easily removed from the tie bar and folded flat so that the three pieces can be stored in a small bag and easily carried in a runner's equipment bag.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. Side view of entire starting block assembly.

FIG. 2. Top view of entire starting block assembly.

FIG. 3. Side view of folded front foot block.

FIG. 4. Side view of folded back foot block.

FIG. 5. Side view of tie bar.

FIG. 6. End view of tie bar.

FIG. 7. View of back plate (Typical) showing opening and dowel pin.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows the profile of the assembled block in a starting configuration. This view shows the brace arms 6 which select and secure the tilt angle of the front plates 1 &12. The brace arms are hinged at a dowel pin 7 attached to the front plates 1 &12 of each foot block and slide through an opening 5 in the back plates 3 &13 (See FIG. 3). The front and back plates are hinged at the top by a hollow pin 4 allowing for angle adjustments and folding flat. Any of the several notches 8 provided in the bottom edge of the brace arm 6 can be dropped over a dowel pin 9 imbedded in each back plate 3 &13. Each notch selects a different tilt angle for the foot plate and secures that angle for powerful starts. The spikes 11 are the only part of the assembly that touches the track surface. The front foot block and the back foot block are essentially the same, except for the round rods 10 &14 used to connect the foot blocks to the tie bar 15.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the assembled block in a starting configuration. The front foot block has a round rod 10 attached to its back plate 3 near the base. The back foot block has a round rod 14 attached to its front plate 12 near the base. These bars protrude on both sides of the foot blocks and can be inserted in any of a series of holes 18 in the tie bar 15 from either side so as to allow the sprinter to have either foot in the forward position. The round bars 10 &14 are secured in the tie bar 15 by a tightening screw and knob 16 that is threaded through a tightening bar 17. A rubber pad 2 is glued to the front surface of the curved front plates 1 &12 to provide a secure footing for the sprinter.

FIGS. 3, 4 &5 show the three parts of the assembly in a compact configuration. The brace arms 6 are rotated down, and each foot block is folded flat (FIGS. 3 & 4). The two flat foot blocks along with the tie bar (FIG. 5) are shown ready for storage.