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Running is a complex dynamic task that places strict requirements on both the physical components and software-control systems of a robot. This paper explores some of those requirements and, in particular, explores how a variable-compliance actuation system can satisfy many of them. We present the mechanical design and software-control system for such an actuator system. We analyze its performance through simulation and bench-top experimental validation of a prototype version. In conclusion, we demonstrate, through simulation, the application of our proof-of-concept actuator to the problem of biped running.