Back to the future

Our very own ‘Father of Fitness’ Ken Heathcote recalls the time in 1972 when he brought back the first manual running machine from America he purchased from the late Leo Stern.

‘This is a photograph of a treadmill we had at Bolton Health Studio in 1972. Note the belt around the runner’s waist. I brought the first manual drive treadmill from Leo Stern in San Diego, California and what you see is a replica of the one we had back then.’

manual running machine 1972.jpg

‘By 1985 the motorized ones had started to arrive in the trade shows in both America & Great Britain. The one you see here quickly became something of a joke, but now that joke is coming back around to haunt us. The new innovative free running treadmills of today will be clogging up the gym for the next few years. It makes me laugh at how times come around full circle, it’s all been done before, only it comes back around sometimes better than the last time’


Here at Fitness Systems we like to see what all the talk is about and try things for ourselves so we’ve had one of the Trueform Runners installed in our own showroom next to something else which we are quite fond of, the Water Rower.

We’re hoping Ken will start writing some more posts for us in future. Thanks Ken for your insight and we hope to get you back on here soon.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Colin Gradwell says:

    I remember it well. Strap yourself in and off you go


  2. Ian Thorpe says:

    How often do you hear ” fashion comes back around ” or it goes around in circles” well this is proof of that


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