The Log Runner first appeared in the San Pedro (Military) qualifiers of American Ninja Warrior 7. It consisted of four free-spinning equidistant logs which competitors must run across, each four feet distant from each other. The obstacle, along with the I-Beam Cross, proved to be the most challenging qualifying obstacles in San Pedro, as several competitors either failed to land their feet at the very middle of the log and slipped off, or touched a log with their hands, resulting in a disqualification.
The Log Runner returned on American Ninja Warrior 8 in Oklahoma City. This time:
- There were 5 logs instead of 4.
- In addition, the first three logs each gradually rise 6 inches, only until the fourth log.
- Competitors will not be disqualified for touching a log with their hands.
- The twist with the fourth log being level, ended up being the reason why the disqualification was lifted.
The twist was described to be like an "off-speed pitch in baseball" by Alex Weber, as most competitors usually fell there not knowing the gradual rise stopped at the fourth log. The modified Log Runner was proven to be surprisingly brutal, as it was responsible for eliminating many top competitors, including Kevin Klein, Lance Pekus, and Kacy Catanzaro. This was also the obstacle no women in Oklahoma City qualifiers could get past. The Log Runner was revealed to have taken out 36 competitors in qualifiers.
It proved just as deadly in the finals, as seven competitors fell here, once again usually around the fourth log.
This obstacle had a unique completion during American Ninja Warrior 8's Oklahoma City qualifiers, when Artis Thompson III attempted it with his prosthetic leg. His feet slipped at the second log, but he was able to save himself by grabbing the third log with his hand. Then, he slowly acrossed the obstacle, log by log, and finally to the landing platform. Though he ultimately gassed out at the end of the next obstacle, the Tire Swing, his performance at that night was awarded the 'POM Run of the Night'. This was the first occurrence, where the 'POM Run of the Night' was not awarded from a completion on a course.