"Necessity is the mother of invention." PLATO
Ignite BLOX was invented in the true spirit of PLATO's famous quote. That, in addition to the most powerful force in nature, which is a mother's drive to help her child.
When her son, Tanner, joined the local youth track club, Jodi Goldbeck watched from the stands as the kids ran, jumped and threw at practice each day. The only problem was that the local high school where the club practiced did not allow the club to use the school's starting blocks. Starting blocks are large and heavy...and expensive, so no school can be blamed for not wanting to leave this equipment out for inexperienced kids to use and potentially damage or hurt themselves. Also, it takes much skill and strength to use traditional starting blocks, neither of which kids have when they are just starting out. So, most youth track clubs function without the use of one of the most important pieces of equipment. Meets are no different. Sometimes a school will have blocks to use for a meet, but even if they do, most kids do not use them, because they have never practiced with them or been taught the proper way to use them.
Enter a mother's super power for helping her child, and other children in need. Jodi did an online search for portable track starting blocks to see if she could purchase something for Tanner that he could use for practice and meets. Planning to purchase multiple pairs to donate to the club for everyone to use, to her surprise, she found nothing, literally. There was no such product to fill this giant hole in the market. How could millions of kids be involved in track and field over the years and nobody else see the need for a cost-effective portable set of track starting blocks? It seemed impossible, but that was the case.
The First Prototype
So, Jodi got to work. Within a matter of hours, she had a prototype made of composite decking with a piece of rubber on the top for the foot to grip. In order to hold the piece of rubber on the wedge shaped chunk of decking, she inadvertently created the most unique feature of what would become BLOX, the spikes sticking out the bottom to grab the track. Screws were used to secure the piece of rubber on top, and the screws stuck out the bottom a short distance. Because the screws were parallel to the top surface, and the block was in the shape of a wedge, when the screws stuck out the bottom, they were angled back when placed on the ground. Due to the backward facing screws, whenever weight was placed on them (a runner standing on the BLOX and pushing off), the screws dug into the track, creating the perfect push-off for a start.
What is "nesting"?
The next evolution of BLOX came quickly when it was time to transport them to practice. The screws sticking out of the bottom were great for gripping the track, but they caused damage to any bag that the BLOX were placed in. The screws would catch and rip the bag, as well as any clothes or other gear in the bag. At first, a separate bag was used to hold just the BLOX, but that bag got damaged as well. A more permanent solution needed to be developed. A rubber band was used to hold them bottom to bottom for transport, but the screws made it awkward, and the rubber band needed to be replaced often. Corresponding holes were made in the bottoms of each block so the screws of one would "nest" into the holes of the opposite block. Problem solved. Now, the BLOX could be held together without the screws damaging anything else in the bag, and in the process, one of the most unique (and patentable) features of BLOX was born, the ability of the BLOX to be "nested" together.
Magnets: A "rare" find.
The last problem that needed to be solved was how to secure the two blocks together. A rubber band was not permanent enough. All manner of securing devices were thought of, which included clasps, hooks, velcro and many other hardware and craft ideas. Magnets of every size and style were also obtained for testing, and they worked the best. With a magnet, you received the benefit of gripping power to hold the BLOX together, but they could be pulled apart for use using a small amount of force. With the right magnet, it would be strong enough to hold the BLOX securely in any gym bag, while still being able to be pulled apart quickly and easily by any size athlete. In the end, a neodymium rare earth ring magnet was chosen. It could be secured in place with a small screw and did not hinder any functionality of the BLOX. Placing it centrally on the bottom of each block allowed the magnets to perfectly hold the BLOX together, as the screws "nested" in their respective holes, creating a snug fit to the entire set.
Spikes are on point.
The last, and most natural evolution of the BLOX design was to use actual track spikes, instead of screws. With injection molding capabilities, the top surface could have the grip pattern molded directly into the part. Custom brass inserts could also be molded directly into each part at the time of production, so the magnet could be held in place by a small screw. The track spikes also each have their own custom brass insert, so you are able to use any size track spike you choose.
Learn to run fast. Have fun.
And so, due to a mother's creative power to help solve a problem for her child, a problem that went undiagnosed and unaddressed for many years was identified, and BLOX was born. Enjoy life in the fast lane!