Did you know there were over 17 million US running event finishers in 2015? That’s 300% growth since 1990!1 With so many new race events popping up to accommodate this demand, it can be a challenge for organizers to make sure their race stands out.
There are many factors that draw participants to a particular race – distance, course layout, the likelihood for a new personal best, if their friends are participating, and of course… the swag and finisher awards! Participants are tired of the usual cheap t-shirts and the goodie bags “stuffed” with promotional offers. Races aren’t cheap, as marathons can cost participants up to $180 a piece!2 It’s time to give participants some cool swag in return for their investment – some new and unique items that they can use frequently in their everyday lives and in training.
For starters, almost all runners want bragging rights that they are a race finisher, even if they weren’t shooting for a PR. In fact, it’s pretty much expected that all participants receive some kind of race-branded product as a part of their registration fee. Just because the budget isn’t big for this kind of handout doesn’t mean it can’t be an item that people are proud to wear and use. Here’s a few affordable options that showcase your race’s brand in a positive light with its participants:
Under Armour Corporate Short Sleeve Locker Tee (Men’s and Women’s): Or for variety, offer the women runners the choice between the tee and the UA Tech Victory Tank. Either way, it’s less than $20 to outfit your runners in Under Armour.
Nike Cinch Sack: This on-the-go, unisex bag functions equally well as a gym bag or a backpack. Plus, the Nike swoosh shows they “just did it!”
New Balance Running Armlight: Safety first! This lightweight armlight keeps your runners visible at all hours, for less than $10 a pop… a true runner’s essential.
Koozie Cooler: Once the race is over, participants will want to enjoy a cold beverage as their heartrate returns to normal. Help them keep their drinks cold with a cooled logoed Koozie like this one.
Now that you have the general giveaways covered, it’s time to elevate your game for the trailblazers. Top finishers deserve something distinctive, something to recognize their accomplishment. Awards are generally given to the overall male and female winner, and age group awards are also very common – top three in each age group is routine.2 Giving items that work for their lifestyle ensures that they can keep training and coming back to race year after year.
New Balance Wireless Earbuds: A useful and stylish training aid for your top finishers, and a unique way to showcase your race’s logo too!
Under Armour Hustle II Backpack: Great for hauling training gear to the gym or track, but versatile enough to carry a laptop too.
Brookstone Big Blue Live Wireless Bluetooth Speaker: This customizable speaker can be a great asset to help them relax and recover post-race. Great for indoor or outdoor use.
Don’t forget your volunteers. They are one of the most important aspects of putting on a race and without them, it simply wouldn’t be possible. Thank your volunteers with an extra special gift, something unique to show them how much you appreciate the time they are taking out of their busy lives. A perfect idea for them could include a custom fleece blanket branded with your race logo. It’s something they can use at the campfire all season long and when curled up on the couch during the cooler months. Check out this Port Authority Fleece Blanket, starting at only $11.99.
You work hard to put on a first-class event; be sure that what you give your participants and volunteers reflects that.
Merchology has also made it easy for organizers by pulling together a Race Collection you can co-brand with for your next event. Did you know that Halloween is the second most popular race date in the US, after the fourth of July? More than 700,000 runners participated in 1,800 events in 2014.3 So start your swag planning now, and let Merchology know how they can help!
From Briana Johnson from Focus Missions:
We work with many student athletes on our college campuses and the branded products bring a more elite status to our gear selection that we offer. It’s really taken our product selection up a notch! Merchology goes above and beyond in customer service. The account managers make each interaction personal and professional, and they do a great job making their clients feel cared for. Merchology takes away the stress of bulk ordering and adds a personal touch to every interaction.
1Running USA http://www.runningusa.org/statistics
2Running in the USA http://www.runningintheusa.com/Resource/RaceFAQ.aspx
3Running USA http://www.runningusa.org/halloween