#1019: ToeToToe

Running on a treadmill tends to lack much competitive ‘edge’. Certainly, it’s no spectator sport. Today’s invention is therefore intended to offer indoor runners a new form of challenge.

Two running machines would be placed with the runners facing each other. The rollers supporting the belts would be connected by an ‘active differential’ gearbox.


This would be electronically controlled so that as one runner speeds up, so he or she increases, slightly, the resistance of the other’s machine (or even the gradient of the belt).

The gearing would be programmable so that runners of different types could compete against each other. The first one to press the ‘yield’ button would disconnect the machines and lose the competition.

A sprinter, for example, might try tactically to wear down a marathon runner quickly by accelerating away, but if that failed he would then find himself in for an unusually prolonged race.

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