Born to a farmer, I am down to earth and full of ideas. I have always been passionate about sport, business and entrepreneurship. In 2011, after having obtained my MBA, I decided to move to Cape Town in South Africa to pursue my passion, Kayaking. Over three years, I acquired the culture of excellence and sport at high level by training with the best athletes in the sport. I came up with the idea of the curved treadmill while preparing for Kayak competitions. Why run on a motorised treadmill while the only power generated by your legs is enough?
I came up with the first prototypes of the Sprintbok in the cellar of my building with a frontal lamp as there was no electricity. To cut wood, I had to use an extension cord going from my apartment to the cellar. After a few months, when I was receiving 6-metre-long metallic bars, I realised I should better move out and find a better place to avoid my neighbours turning against me.
Two years of research were necessary to conceive the Sprintbok to the point at which it is today. It was developed with engineers, athletes, as well as sports doctors. Its design was drawn by a young designer whose talents have been rewarded several times: Simon Vasseur.
On the look-out for new techniques, we continue to improve our professional treadmill in order to bring the best to our clients.
The pieces that compose the Sprintbok are lifetime greased. Used in industry at a rate of 1800 revolutions/minute, they are very resistant. The pieces are verified one by one by hand in our workshop before being assembled. We use high tech tools (ex laser cutting) but every stage of the assembly still is manual.
Everything is recyclable on the Sprintbok. It is made 70% out of layer-glued birch and is the first treadmill worldwide build in such material. The remaining parts of the treadmill are made out of steel and rubber.
Sprintbok has evolved within the Hautepierre business incubator in Strasbourg.
We have been settled there since September 2015.
The name of the treadmill is a reference to the South African animal, which is also the South African Rugby Team’s symbol. The Sprintbok can run up to 100km/h and jump as far as 4 metres to run away from predators. It is the second fastest animal in the world after the cheetah.
Today, treadmill workout is the most common and most used form of exercise on machines. Gyms are full of them, and people also have them for domestic use. In France only, thousands of treadmills are sold every year. Having said that, before it became the king of fitness centres and gyms, the treadmill was used in very different ways.
Indeed, at the beginning of the 19th century, treadmills, or conveyor belts, where used in farms and windmills to mix the butter, grind the grain, pump water or to knead dough. To do so, these belts used an inclined tread. Animals would activate the mechanism by walking on the belt.
At the same time, William Cubitt, engineer and son to a miller, suggested British prisons use this system to both cure prisoners from their inactivity and produce useful work at the same time.
At the time of the “Gatsby” style, only wealthy people could afford these treadmills. It has to be said that most of the time they bought the devise for their dogs, but sometimes also used it to walk on, rather than to run on, because the mechanism was very heavy and basic.
Only in the 1930s did sport machines become more comfortable.
In 1952 in the United States, Robert Bruce, a cardiologist, and Wayne Quinton, an engineer, invented the first treadmill for medical use. Equipped with a bunch of tools, it allowed doctors to measure their patients’ cardio-vascular health. In 1968, Doctor Kenneth Cooper highlighted the benefits of outdoor running in a book entitled Aerobics that would become a bestseller. Taking his inspiration from that book, William Staub conceived and invented the first treadmill intended for domestic use. His prototype, the Pace Master 600 would be commercialised a bit later with Doctor Cooper’s help.
Since then, treadmills have become successful for domestic use and fitness centres. There are many types of treadmills, but in our “plastic, made in China” era, treadmills look more like war machines than sport equipment.
Since 2016, the commercialisation of the Sprintbok allows us to rediscover the original treadmill. Manual, natural, purified and elegant, it makes it possible for athletes to rediscover natural indoor running sensations.