Race Swag

I have to admit that one of the first items I look at when I’m interested in a race is the free swag that comes with it. Most races will give an article of clothing just for signing up. This usually is a cotton T-shirt that most runners wouldn’t wear to run and thus sits in a drawer waiting to be: A. donated to the Salvation Army, B. made into a “T-shirt quilt” that they’re always advertising in the back of Runner’s World magazine, or C. “I’ll wear it at some point!” While these shirts are cute with the logo and the race sponsors splattered all over it, if it does happen to fit me, which doesn’t happen very often, I’d be more apt to wear it as a bedtime T-shirt.

Other items that can be attained merely by signing up are: nifty pens with sponsor logos, coupons from sponsors, a keychain complete with sponsor logo, or any number of unusable “sponsor” junk that I feel bad for throwing away due to my environmental conscientiousness yet foresee no use for ever and thus it sits until I toss it in a bag for the Salvation Army certain that someone somewhere has a use for a can opening, staple removing, letter opening, rope cutting keychain. And, yes, that was in my last not-so-goody bag from my last 5k race .

Occasionally the shirt given will be a technical shirt. These are great if they fit. A technical running shirt is one that is made specifically with a runner’s needs in mind and is often made of wicking material that takes sweat away from your body without over-saturating your shirt (like a cotton one would). I have only received one of these in all the races I have run and although I received a small it must have been geared toward a man because it was way too big.

My favorite race swag has to be the pint glass and the finisher’s medal.

I collect pint glasses and use them at home all the time. My cupboards are mostly filled with ones I’ve procured from pubs and breweries, but I do have two race glasses as well. They are both labeled with the race logo and the date and are extremely cool. I use these more than any other glasses I own as it’s like a pat on the back every time I’m reminded of these races I have accomplished.

A lot of races, but not all unfortunately, will give some sort of finisher’s medal once a runner has crossed the finishing line. At my last race it was simply one of those ribbons that one might get for winning an elementary school contest. My favorite ones however (and are usually given at larger, longer races) are the clunky ones that have a brightly colored ribbon tied to the top and the race stamped into it. I’ve seen very elaborate ones that are even painted and look even more impressive.

And of course I can’t forget the spread provided for runner’s after the race. Usually the longer the race the better the grub after with the usual fare being an assortment of bagels, bananas, apples, oranges, and water.

Some races will even advertise according to the swag that they offer!

Mississippi Blues Marathon – engraved harmonica and a CD featuring local blues artists

Midwinter Cruise 5K – Pancake breakfast afterwards

Texas Half & 5K – Breakfast burritos and beer  afterwards

Missoula Marathon – Cloth goody bags, shirts made from bamboo and recycled polyester

Whether you choose a race by the swag it offers or just for the race experience itself, there is a wonderful uniqueness about each race that will certainly leave you will a lifetime of memories.

    • alissagrosso
    • January 18th, 2010

    Those breakfast burritos and beer, are exactly what I’d expect from a Texas race, though my favorite is the Missoula Marathon offering shirts made from bamboo and recycled polyester. Recycled polyester? That sounds a little bit scary.

    • It does! Makes me wonder what the shirt looks like..might have to run the race to find out. 🙂

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