Running with a stroller. {The Graco Relay Jogger}

I used to think burpees were the most difficult exercise on the planet. I was wrong. Nothing has ever made me feel so out of shape as running up a hill while pushing my 33lb toddler in a stroller.

I didn’t start running until Betty was a year old so back when it was time to choose a stroller a jogger wasn’t on the radar. I thought they were cool, but my lifestyle didn’t call for all that. We were gifted a very nice stroller at our baby shower and it served us well for her first year.

As running slowly took over my life though, I started to wish that we had gone with a jogger instead. I marveled at my runner friends who ran 5Ks with their kids in a stroller…Sue ran 8 FREAKING MILES with her son in a stroller. WHAT!? I couldn’t even wrap my brain around it. I kind of wanted to try it. I would soon get my chance.

The generous folks over at Graco must have some serious mind-reading skills because they contacted me asking if I would like to try out a stroller from a new line that they have geared specifically toward active moms: the Relay™ Click Connect™ Performance Jogging Stroller.

Would I?

870

Um yes. Yes I would. 

Betty’s infant car seat was a Graco as is the convertible seat in Mr. Salt’s car now. We also used a Snap and Go stroller with her infant seat, so we are no strangers to the brand. I trust Graco products and was already anticipating that this would be a stellar experience. Shortly thereafter, the most wonderful package arrived.

23840626-graco-relay-jogging-stroller-01

The color is called PANTHER. (Picture me whispering it for dramatic effect.) This stroller is also available in 3 additional colors as well and all of them have fast jungle cat names: Green (Lynx), Blue (Jaguar), and Red (Cougar). My husband would probably tell me that I was better suited for a red one.

Whatever, Mr. Salt. You’re only a year and a half younger than me.

I liked the Relay immediately. Right out of the box it required some simple assembly that only took me 2 minutes and I’m generally terrible at following instructions. It once took me almost 3 hours to put together a small dresser from Ikea.

One of the great things about this stroller is that if you are using it with a slightly older child you don’t have to buy any add-ons. It comes with everything you need including the UV50 protection canopy, a roomy and easily accessible storage area underneath, the parent console that features a cup holder and all sorts of pockets for your keys, phone, and other essentials, and a removable armrest bar with a cup holder for the kiddo, which is something that my other stroller is lacking and I always wished it had.

If you plan to use it for a wee baby it is compatible with any Graco Click Connect infant seat. Those are sold separately, but I think it would make one heck of a travel system! Unlike so many other strollers out there, no adapters are required.

Some Additional Specs:

The Relay™ Click Connect™ Performance Jogging Stroller has:

  • A locking front-swivel wheel with tracking. Naturally you can lock the back wheels too.
  • Air-filled, pneumatic tires. Pneumatic is an adjective meaning containing or operated by air under pressure. Sort of like my head. I had no idea what pneumatic meant until I Googled.
  • Breathable, comfortable fabric, and a nicely cushioned seat that features reflective piping for added visibility in low light. Maybe running her around the neighborhood in the evening will help her to fall asleep? I am willing to try ANYTHING at this point.
  • A total weight capacity of 70lbs. That includes your kid and all your stuff and if you are jogging pushing a 28 pound stroller plus 70 additional pounds? Beastmode. Hats off to you.
  • An adjustable, multi-position reclining seat with a convertible three- and five-point harness.
  • A safety tether that attaches to your wrist for added peace of mind.

And perhaps my two FAVORITE things about it:

  • A premium suspension system on a lightweight frame that offers a smooth ride on any terrain. Like this thing could seriously go off-roading. I’m thinking we’ll be taking it to the Ren Fest with us this year.
  • One-second, one-hand fold function. I was skeptical about this because our other stroller advertised the same thing, but then you have to snap a bunch of other stuff in place. Graco isn’t kidding. There is a pull strap located underneath the seat and folding and unfolding the Relay is as easy as pulling up on it. No additional things to snap or secure.

Despite the fact that it looked somewhat enormous when I put it together in my living room, it is remarkably compact when folded. I doubt it will fit in the Fiat because the Fiat is not much bigger than a stroller, but it will definitely fit nicely into our Mazda 3.

I couldn’t wait to take it out for a run. I contemplated doing it on Saturday even after running 12 solo miles in the morning, but then it poured down rain for the rest of the day. However, Sunday was sunny and gorgeous – and more than a little warm – and what better time to take my sweet girl on her inaugural stroller run than Mother’s Day? We had a little bit of time to kill between the baseball game and dinner so I decided to take her to the playground.

strollercheeseface

“CHEEEEESE!”

Betty is big for 2. She’s nearly 3 feet tall and as you can see she still has room to grow into the Relay. Her favorite feature is the fact that she can put fruit snacks in the cup holder.

The playground is a little more than a mile and a half from our house. Usually we drive there. Having never been running with me before, she was hilariously confused as to what was happening and kept asking “Mommy? Where are we going?” over and over (and over) again. I was hilariously sweating like a pig and hyperventilating as I tried to explain that we were going to the playground. Talking was hard. I should mention that the first 3/4 of a mile of our trek is entirely uphill.

Once that was behind us though, we had some smooth sailing. The logistics of running with a stroller will definitely take some getting used to on my part, but although I have nothing else to compare it to I think the Relay handled impeccably. I can’t imagine anything I’d change about it. It was comfortable to push, very responsive, handled well in corners, a smooth ride for B, and just as the PANTHER namesake would suggest, it is definitely fast. As we approached the playground there is a nice little downhill where I picked up some serious speed. Thank goodness for that wrist tether.

saltystroller

As difficult as it was, I felt pretty badass. Later on in the evening we went out for fro yo and the guy at the counter who knows us – because we are a family of fro yo addicts – told me that he had seen us out running earlier. I asked him if I looked like I was about to die and he said no, so not only am I badass, but I’m also a very good actress.

I wore my Garmin and considering that I was a first-timer, NOT TOO SHABBY!

times

And the next day? SO SORE. The wet noodle feeling in my arms didn’t totally go away until yesterday…just in time to do a billion chaturangas at yoga class!. Running with a stroller is like running and strength training all at the same time. I’m looking forward to doing more of it because I suspect that it’s only going to make me a stronger runner when I go out solo.

You moms and dads that do this regularly though? HIGH FIVES for being amazing!

He's high giving a jungle cat. See what I did there?

He’s high giving a jungle cat. See what I did there?

Have you ever run with a stroller? If so do you think it has made you a better solo runner? Do you have any tips to share? Do you love the Renaissance Festival as much as I do?

xo,

Salt

I would like to send an enormous hug of gratitude to Graco for contacting me to do this review. I was provided with a Relay Click Connect Jogger and all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and are very honest. As anticipated, my experience was nothing but awesome and I’m looking forward to many more runs with my girl!

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47 thoughts on “Running with a stroller. {The Graco Relay Jogger}

  1. emmelineruns says:

    Love this even though I’m not in the market for one. I’m amazed by all the parents I see running with them when I’m out, it looks seriously hard! And I’ve kept in mind which brands I might want to look at when the time comes and the fitting a tall kid is definitely important, both Joe and I were over 3ft by age 2 so we will probably have height issues with future children.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I definitely gained a new appreciation for how hardcore those people are!
      I was a giant as a baby too. It is definitely hereditary. I’m pleased that we are going to get a lot of years of use out of this thing! (Her feet already hang over the bottom of her other stroller so we haven’t really used it in awhile.)

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thanks, friend! Yeah that was definitely a big interest point for me too. Our other stroller is nice, but it came with nothing. If we had wanted to use it when she was really small we would have had to buy an expensive adapter for it.

  2. Sara says:

    OMG Sweet score from Graco! I love Graco products. I’m not really in the market for a jogger, but you might have sold me. 😉

    • runsaltrun says:

      I think you should! Honestly I wish I had started running with her when she was smaller. I’d probably be more used to it now. Instead I need to learn how to do this while pushing a giant. 🙂

  3. Julia says:

    I’ve been on a million runs with my girls in the double jogger and even though it’s way harder running pushing 60 lbs (plus the weight of the stroller), the hardest part is that they want to talk to me the entire freaking time and I just want to say, “Be quiet, I’m trying to run here!” Hahahahaha.

  4. piratebobcat says:

    Way to go! We have a cheapo jogging stroller, but so far it’s only been used for hundreds of walks, but only one race. I’d really have to adjust my running because I randomly cross fields, jump over curbs, etc. Can’t do that with a stroller. I have a really fast friend that runs with a double stroller for his two kids. He even beat me in a race pushing that thing (told ya he’s fast). You’re right tho, it probably makes you a stronger runner.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I betting this stroller could jump a curb and cross a field. I think the shocks are better than most cars. You are welcome to borrow it at any time.

      I can’t imagine beating anyone in a race pushing it though. Much less with an extra child in it. Your friend is insane.

  5. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    I can only imagine how hard this must be – and even though I haven’t had a baby yet, or planned one yet, I thought about getting one of these for myself as motivation AFTER baby to get out there and walk/run/jog SOMETHING!

    My SIL has one of these and they used to trek it to the beach – seems like a pain but it worked for them, however AP (daughter) is much younger than Betty and wouldn’t want to ride, but instead walk on the beach. So there’s that. This will be great for the Renn Faire, might I suggest you trick out Betty as a knight on a horse in it, or a princess in her carriage? 😉 just a thought!

    • runsaltrun says:

      OMG I LOVE THAT IDEA. She likes to dress as a fairy. Maybe I can go off that.
      Looking back on it, even if I wasn’t going to run I kind of wish I had gone with a jogger from the get-go for the tires alone. The wheels on our other stroller catch in like every sidewalk crack. It’s really annoying.

  6. txa1265 says:

    I never ran with my boys when they were little, but I definitely think it is badass – good for you, and I am glad that Graco stuff still rocks! We had loads of it way back when …

    And I had to laugh at the Cougar thing – my wife is 6 months older than me, so I have half a year to give her crap before we’re the same age again 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      She’s so lucky that she only has to hear it for 6 months! I have to hear it ALL THE TIME. He thinks he’s so funny. (And he is, but COME ON it’s just a year and a half!)

  7. themilereport says:

    baha cougar! Me too though– my bf is a year younger than me. Good recap. I’ve never tried it, but stroller running must be HARD if even you and the PANTH struggled with it!

  8. northernambitions says:

    Good job! I’m so impressed with your badassness. Once I took my niece for a run in her mountain buggy and I wanted to die. They are so heavy to push and the hills start to feel like mountains!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you so much! I feel the exact same way when I see moms running with their kiddos. It is NOT easy and I know I have a lot of work to do. But it’s also really cool because it’s something else we can do together. She seemed to really like being along for the ride. 🙂

  9. Pandora Viltis says:

    Would that work for a 19 year old? That’s probably the only way I’ll get my kiddo running.

    I tried a jogging stroller back when he was a tyke, but after having taken almost a year off from my whole one year of running, I just couldn’t get into it. Hence a 20 year break from running. I’m impressed with your speed!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Well as you can see, my giant 2 year old has room still so…maybe. 🙂 You are welcome to bring him by and take him for a run!

      Thank you, friend! If not for the downhill my times would not have been nearly as good. That initial hill nearly killed me.

  10. Change of Pace says:

    That’s so awesome you were giving a running stroller, and even better that you really liked it!
    I LOVE when I see moms pushing strollers when they’re running- so strong and such a great message to send to their kids! (But, I think using running as ‘me time’ is brilliant, too!)
    And those are awesome paces pushing a child in a stroller, especially for your first time!
    True (and embarrassing) story- we have a running stroller for Harold! On some trips we want to do too much and he can’t do it all- run with us in the morning and then hike or explore all day and evening. It’s hilarious when we use it and people double take!

  11. sarahtgriffin2013 says:

    What a great review! I have the Graco FastAction Fold Click Connect LX Stroller and it’s been pretty good to us. One of the wheels did get bent though. This post reminds me that I’ve been wanting to blog my experiences running with the jogger. I am a slow mo mother runner after all!

  12. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    Seriously, you are such a bad ass. Ummm, amazing pace pushing a stroller. And let me tell you , I payed for my 8 mile run with the stroller by waking up the next day not able to turn my head from a shoulder strain. It definitely takes a toll on you and I have vowed to NEVER run with it again, which really sucks because that means I’ll be stuck on the treadmill during the week 😦

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I started running with a stroller(hence my blog name 🙂 ) but because I started when my daughter was one she hated sitting in it for more than a 10k. I cheered on hubby when he ran a local half and was amazed at parents finishing at 1:30 pushing a stroller! Very badass in deed!

  14. fitnessmeetsfrosting says:

    OMG you’re so freaking fast even with a toddler+toddler-carrying-apparatus! I don’t have kids yet so I am a running-with-stroller-virgin. I kind of want to run with one with a few bags of flour inside just to get the whole body workout you were talking about 😉 Not weird at all…

  15. Momma C says:

    I just tested this on Friday… In the store. Trying to validate the price. I am just starting to run, so buying it would be like… I MUST RUN. Thank you for the honest review. Still making up my mind… 😀

  16. Ali says:

    Thanks for your post. For someone in the stroller market, it was very helpful. One question… did it fit in the trunk of your car? I want to buy it, but the folded dimensions listed on the Graco website seem really big (31″ height x 25.5″ width) compared to the BOB which is only 16″ in height. Do you think those dimensions are accurate? If it weren’t for the dimensions, I’d be buying it… Thanks for your help!

    • runsaltrun says:

      To be honest, no it won’t fit in my trunk. BUT I have an exceedingly small car with like no trunk. (A Fiat.) I can do a test to see if it will fit in the back of our Mazda 3 if you want, but I’m pretty sure it will. We also have a City Mini (non jogger) and folded up next to that it is a little bigger, but not by too much. The folded dimension for the Relay seems accurate (with the wheels and the canopy, etc it creates height), but I’m kind of wondering about the accuracy of the BOB measurement. That seems really small. If you want me to measure anything or have any other questions, feel free to ask!

      • Ali says:

        Thank you SO much for your very helpful reply!!! I think I’ll make the trek over to the Babies r Us (for second time) and ask them if I can test it out.

  17. RT65 says:

    Great review!

    I’m a dad and I picked this up. It’s too bad that Graco picked to only sell these at Toys R Us/Babies R Us because it’s such a great jogger.

    If they sold this at other retailers, it would definitely took a lot of BOB clientele.

    I encourage others to purchase this if they were looking for a true jogger, but don’t want to pay premium BOB prices.

    Well, this actually ALSO has a premium price, but you get a lot more. Esp for new parents who will need to get an infant car seat.

    The GRACO click connect 35 infant car seat just clicks right in. That is what I have. I got the all black colorway. What people should know is this stroller also has a high COOL FACTOR! It looks darn sporty and cool.

    This was at Toys R Us for $289 from the $329+ price. No need for adapters to click Graco click connect infant seats. Has a parent tray (or pockets) and has a child bar/cup holder. I would have to spend an extra $100-150 with BOB in accessories to do that.

    BOB had it’s time, but now they are getting exposed on being overpriced. Yea its great product, but to pay all that extra.

    What is nice about BOB and Chicco Activ3/Tre joggers are the 2 setting shocks. One stiff and one soft setting. The stiff setting, at least in the Chicco is pretty much like having no shocks, it did have some bounce but very little and required a lot of force. The all terrain setting is on par with and all comparable among the 3. Good travel and bounce when needed. The dual setting is nice, but not necessarily required, but almost asked to be included since those aforementioned cost significantly more.

    The Graco does not have adjustable handlebars, but unless you have the BOB Flex, most bobs or highly touted joggers don’t either. Personally, I think someone complaining about the handlebar height is a minority–or just insanely anal and picky.

    The canopy coverage on the Relay is superior to Bob’s. But the Chicco line of Joggers Active3/Tre can’t be beat in there. Their canopy almost makes the stroller a moving caccoon. But the Graco has a pretty good amount of coverage.

    The parent tray on the Relay is not the best, but its way better than Bob’s—– which is NONEXISTENT! Unless you pay extra lol. It’s not really a tray, more so a pockets. It is usuable and can accomodate most current smartphone sizes–even your ridiculously big iphone6 that although is bigger in physical dimensions has a smaller and inferior screens compared to better Android devices. There is one “BOTTLE” holder. I don’t think its meant to carry open cups/drinks/beverages the way it just hangs.

    I can’t wait to run in this but to the author, your pace time per amount of miles WITH A STROLLER is absurd! Most people can’t do that running without a stroller. STOP SHOWING OFF! =P

  18. Karen says:

    I am reading your review post-purchase through Amazon.com (Psst! The blue and black model is only $210! Loved the look of the green but…. $80 price difference talks :-). I feel great about the purchase after reading your review! We have and are in line to adopt a special needs 5 year old little boy who is small stature and not yet independently ambulatory but very smart and very active and I expect to need a stroller for a long time to come. I am glad to read that your daughter, who seems to be a similar size to him, still has room to grow! We’ve been using a Graco (don’t even know the model but standard rubber-tired stroller) we got brand-new through Craigslist for $45. It’s really a very sturdy and roomy stroller and maneuvers very well but those wide front wheels get caught on everything. I get out and about outside a lot and this upcoming Spring and Summer being my first with him, I am anticipating getting out onto trails with him in addition to the tackling of our local hills. We’ve already taken some flat local trails walking but lifting him and our gear and our bulky 8-tired stroller over fallen trees and roots and run-offs ditches has been challenging 🙂

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