Running Lab

1st Place Sports Running Laboratory

The 1st Place Sports Running Laboratory is an exciting collaboration among the Jacksonville University Kinesiology program, 1st Place Sports, and JTC Running.


  • Offer Scientific Analyses: Our goal is to provide inexpensive state-of-the-art biomechanical and VO2/Running Economy analyses for runners.
  • Conduct research: JU has collaborated with a world leader, the University of Calgary Running Injury Clinic , to develop the 1st Place Sports Running Laboratory. Our laboratory is equipped with Vicon motion-analysis and a Parvo metabolic cart.
  • Education: Use the laboratory as a platform to educate, train, and fund students.


The laboratory is located upstairs at the Jacksonville Beach store, 424 S. 3rd Street, Jacksonville Beach.


1. Biomechanical Analysis

– run 3 minutes at slower “training” pace and 3 minutes at a faster pace (“half marathon”)

2. VO2/Running Economy Analysis 

-Complete a “progression run”. Start at an easy pace, increase pace by ½ mph every 4 minutes until “fatigue”. Data is collected during each 4-minute segment.

-Progression run typically takes 20-30 minutes

3. Simultaneous Analysis 

– Complete the “progression run”. Biomechanics and VO2/Running Economy are collected simultaneously.

How long does it take? Data collections take about 1 hour.

Consultation the week after the data collection. The Runner returns to the lab a week later to receive an extensive report and 20-minute consultation. This appointment is scheduled when the runner is at the lab (for the data collection).


The standard cost for an analysis is $100. That includes the data collection and follow-up consultation (and report).

The Simultaneous analysis is $200 ($100 for biomechanics + $100 for running economy).


JTC Running is a primary sponsor of the Running Laboratory. Because of our relationship, JTC Running members receive ½ price assessments in the Running Laboratory.

To take advantage of this discount price, you can sign up for a JTC Running (annual membership) online for $20:

NOTE: To receive this discount, JTC Running members must show proof of current membership (by logging into their account at the Running Laboratory).


We complete running analyses on Friday, Sunday, and Monday. Sign up by visiting our registration page:


Runners are not allowed to cancel an appointment within 48 hours of an appointment. Prior to the 48 hour deadline, runners are able to cancel an appointment for a $5 fee. This process is completed by the runner on the registration website.


  • Visit lab for data collection (about 1 hour)
  • Return to the lab one week later (receive extensive biomechanical report and 20-minute consultation)


  1. Avoid wearing reflective clothes and reflective shoes (if possible)
  2. Wear spandex shorts if possible


  1. Apply 30 reflective markers.
  2. Complete a brief warm-up on the treadmill.
  3. Run 3 minutes at preferred pace.
  4. Run 3 minutes at training pace.
  5. Collect data at 200 frames per second using state-of-the-art motion-analysis cameras.


The runner’s biomechanics are compared to a database of 5000 runners using software developed by the University of Calgary. For the report, we focus on four areas:

1. Average data report.

2. Figures for 20-30 strides (compared to database of runners).

3. Consistency of running mechanics. Developed by JU Running Biomechanics Laboratory. We determine how consistent your running mechanics are from stride-to-stride.

4. Slow-motion videos. Developed by JU Running Biomechanics Laboratory. We collect slow-motion videos at the runner’s “preferred” and “training” paces. All trials are synced and displayed together.



  • State-of-the-art Parvo Metabolic Cart


  1. Complete a “progression run”
  2. Start at an easy pace
  3. Pace increases by ½ mph every 4 minutes (until runner “fatigues”)
  4. Run typically lasts 20-30 minutes


For each speed, a full metabolic assessment is completed. At the consultation, the runner is educated about the details.

  1. Fuel Utilization (RER, % Fat, % Carbohydrate)
  2. Economy (Energy Expenditure kcal·min-1)
  3. Intensity (HR, RPE)
  4. Maximal data (VO2, HR)
  5. Training Zones



Jeff Wight, PhD, Assistant Professor

PhD in Health and Human Performance – Biomechanics (University of Florida)
MS in Biomechanics (University of Delaware)
BS in Zoology (University of Wisconsin)

Dr. Jeff Wight is the director of the 1st Place Sports Running Laboratory. Dr. Wight a sport biomechanist with over 10 years coaching experience and a member of the 1st Place Sports Racing Team. His research interests include running biomechanics and baseball pitching biomechanics. Dr. Wight oversees all biomechanical analyses at the 1st Place Sports Laboratory.


David Hooper, PhD, CSCS, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Kinesiology, The Ohio State University
M.A.. Kinesiology, University of Connecticut
BSc (Hons), Sports Conditioning and Coaching, University of the West of England

Dr. Hooper joined Jacksonville University as an assistant professor in 2017 following 2 years at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. Dr. Hooper is the director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at JU and the director of metabolic testing for the JU Running Laboratories. Dr. Hooper has diverse interests and expertise including exercise recovery biomarkers, sport science support to athletes, sport nutrition, and strength and conditioning.

Graduate Students

1st Place Sports Graduate Assistant: Jordon Garman

Jordon’s position is funded by 1st Place Sports. Jordon is a second year graduate student at JU. Last year, Jordon helped develop the biomechanical analyses for the 1st Place Sports Running Laboratory. He also presented running research at the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine. Jordon is now very experienced conducting biomechanical and metabolic assessments at the Running Laboratory. Jordon is an excellent runner who is a member of the JU cross-country team. Jordon is a very well-rounded kinesiologist—his undergraduate work was in Nutrition at UNF.


JTC Running Graduate Assistant: Ryan Sloan

Ryan is a first year graduate student funded by the Jacksonville Track Club. With this new JTC laboratory assistantship, we have been able to incorporate Parvo metabolic testing in the Running Laboratory. Ryan is now fully trained to conduct biomechanical and metabolic testing. Ryan is a dedicated and fast runner. He is a sub-16 5K runner and this September he ran a blazing 2:32:45 marathon at Erie, PA to qualify for Boston. Ryan also has excellent coaching experience and a strong academic background in biology.