Running USA Member Profile: Kudos
Saving those special race medals and celebrating your hard-earned running accomplishments is at the heart of the new company’s mission
CHICAGO - Ryan DeBoer came up with the concept of his Kudos coaster the day he completed the Big Sur International Marathon in 2012. As anyone who has run Big Sur knows, it was a very tough race, which made the handmade ceramic medal on a leather lanyard all the more special – and worth hanging onto for years to come to remember all the feelings of accomplishment that came with it.
Like many (most?) runners, Ryan (pictured at right) had struggled with the best way to preserve and protect his hard-earned medals. But as he perched his post-race beer on the Big Sur medal around a chilly Monterey Peninsula campfire, the answer was immediately apparent: and it was a coaster.
Flash forward six and a half years, and the Kudos team just attended their first Running USA conference in Puerto Rico, where they were overwhelmed by the good vibes and positive support they received from the running industry.
“We’re super excited to share our product with runners and the running industry, and we love the response we’ve been getting,” DeBoer said.
“We’ve been finding that runners have a similar mentality – they’re so happy with these race accomplishments, but then eventually the medals find their way into a shoebox.”
Kudos in the news
Since launching their product in November 2018 and joining Running USA that same month, Kudos has been making waves. A few examples:
-On just its second day being available for purchase, the coasters were featured in Runner’s World.
-Not long after, triathlete.com listed the coaster as one of its 20 Tri Gifts and Stocking Stuffers Under $30.
-Canada’s Running Magazine also picked them up as a great holiday gift idea – perfect for showcasing medals, or pictures of dogs.
-In early January, the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA), a Running USA member and one of the largest running clubs in the U.S., announced it would award the coasters to runners at some of its events.
-Later that month, Kudos announced its first race partnership – the F^3 Lake Half Marathon and 5K – organized by Chicago’s F3 Events. In February, Kudos also partnered with the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Arizona.
“Races may want to incentivize their runners to keep that medal out in the open,” DeBoer noted. “It’s a great way to keep marketing for the event going all year long.” Race partners are able to purchase Kudos coasters at wholesale prices and resell them to their athletes during the registration process, a merchandising practice that is gaining popularity in the industry. (For more information, contact DeBoer at email@example.com)
“This is our form of giving kudos to people,” said DeBoer. “At the end of the race, you deserve those kudos for training, for starting and for finishing that event. Kudos to you for doing a great job.”
“We want to partner with as many races as possible and continue spreading our mission of celebration and accomplishing tough goals,” said DeBoer.
How the product developed
We got the inside scoop from DeBoer on his patent-pending product and what’s next for the Kudos brand.
After having the idea around the campfire in 2012, he experimented with a variety of ways to create the product he had in mind.
“I got some coaster molds and some resin, went down into my basement and started to make these customized coasters by pouring resin into molds and permanently encapsulating the medal. They came out pretty nice, but I realized it wasn’t going to be possible for me to take everybody’s race medal and turn it into a coaster.”
The solution was in the “do it yourself” realm.
“Once I came up with the kit idea and knew that was the way to go, we worked for about two years to perfect the product,” said DeBoer. “We paid close attention to the design, components and materials and went through several iterations to arrive at the final product we see today.”
Kudos coaster kits include a variety of colored backgrounds to best highlight the medal displayed. They are also great for displaying artwork, seashells or other small trinkets. The coasters retail for $20 – a healthy discount is available for a purchase of 12 or more - and are available online at kudos2u.com
“Coming up with the kit enabled people to do this on their own,” said DeBoer. “Runners are finishing these races and feeling that exhilaration and strong sense of accomplishment, and we want to help them hang onto that.”
And the coaster kit isn’t all Kudos has in store for the running world. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements from the company in the year to come.