I (this is Kevin) began running earnestly shortly after the 2011 Tsunami and Earthquake in East Japan. At that same time, we had just bought an apartment and moved along a beautiful riverside path that extends for many, many miles. A few months later, our first son, Ken Ernest, was born and brought immense joy to our lives. I was running almost five times a week at this point and was enjoying morning runs along the river.
But a few months later, my wife went back to work and our son began going to daycare. I take my son to daycare every morning, which is the highlight of my day. However, my morning runs had to become very early runs or had to be abandoned. Instead, I started running home from work at night. Our apartment is only 6 miles away, which is a great distance. By taking different routes, 6 miles can increase to 9 miles or even more if I am ambitious.
The river runs were great and peaceful. Running through the city of Tokyo was a bit more difficult. Aside from having to wait for stop lights, the number of pedestrians and bikers sharing the sidewalk was tough to manage. Around this same time, my friend shared a very hilarious video. See below.
This video gave me inspiration for Runbell. I started running with a cheap bicycle bell that I picked up at our neighborhood store. The bell worked, but was not so easy to carry in your hands. Slowly but surely the concept of Runbell formed in my head during each run home. We modelled and printed our first prototype in August of 2013.
We met our production partner shortly thereafter and introduced our idea to him. He was skeptical about who we were and why we wanted to work with him. However, after seeing the improvements in the design, Mr. Shimizu has become one of our biggest supporters. His headquarters is literally a five minute bike ride away (or a five minute run). We have met with him multiple times and have received great advice each time. We are now partners working not just on Runbell, but on creating other prototypes for some of his other projects.
The growth of Runbell has been fantastic and we can't wait to share our product with all of you. Our Kickstarter campaign is launching on May 5th. Subscribed now to be the first to hear of our launch!
Kevin of the Runbell Team
We surveyed the web and scoured the recent The Running Event for the most unique and practical gifts for the runner in your life. Yes, shoes, shirts, and shorts are all great gifts for runners, but use this list to find unique running gadgets!