Friday, September 12, 2014

Race Swag: Yay or Nay

Over Labor Day weekend, Kim, Tami and I ran a low-key half for fun because that's what you do on a holiday weekend. You run 13.1 miles (actually 13.2 according to the website) for fun.

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As it was a small, local race, I did not have any expectations for "swag" when I picked up my bib. Especially since I wasn't sure where I could actually pick up my bib until the day before. Let's just say promptness is not this race director's strong suit (so sorry, so honest).

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But when we arrived at the city gym in Bluffton, we discovered that we got a spike bag and T-shirt. The tee, of which I do not have a picture, might be one of the ugliest things known to woman. It's unisex, mustard yellow and cotton with a blue design of the hospital. The spike bag, with a similar design of the hospital, is much nicer. Navy blue, with white print. It's durable and lined, and it has a nice zippered pocket.

Before anyone jumps my case about the race shirt, I'm not whining. I get it. The yellow color is cheaper, and sponsors want a shirt so their names/logos can be on the back. Plus, it's been nice to sleep in these past few nights as the temperature drops. It's more that the bag - and the quality - made me think of the better items I've received at races.

SmartWool arm warmers from the Huff 50K relay. I ran this race as a relay in 2011, and the arm warmers were fitting that day. It was blustery, wet and miserable. The arm warmers were my first pair, and I still love them.

Pint glasses. I've gotten these at various races and unlike shirts, these get guaranteed use. Mostly because I don't have a real set of glasses at home.

Honey. The JP Jones 10K, which is a no frills points race here, doesn't have age group awards, medals or T-shirts. But, a honey operation hands out bears filled with honey - which, alone, is worth the $5 entry fee.

Posters. These might be hit or miss for people but I love race posters. The Cincinnati Flying Pig does these especially well, and they are so beautiful you could frame them and hang them as art. I have a Fort4Fitness poster near my cube at work, and I have one from the Martian Invasion races, too. It's a nice way to commemorate a race.

Vera Bradley reusable totes. VB is a local company in Fort Wayne, and they are starting to sponsor some of the bigger races. Twice so far, I have received one of their large market totes and will again at Fort4Fitness. Reusable grocery bags are always useful, and the Vera Bradley ones are especially sturdy and easy to wipe down.

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What sort of race swag do you love? Hate?


  1. It turns out that the mustard race shirt makes a fantastic paint smock for a preschooler ... in case you wanted to know. :) On a positive note, my Warrior Dash medal from last year doubles as a bottle opener. LOVE IT.

  2. I like different sorts of swag! I got a finisher pint glass that was cool. I love my Tiffany's necklaces from NWM. I like races shirts that are tech/womens specific.
    I think arm warmers are a great idea. I have never gotten them before.
    I hate cotton shirts but they are good to clean my bike with! :)

  3. Wow! You've gotten some cool stuff through races. I got a pair of pajama pants at the finish line of Beach2Battleship Half Ironman. I thought that was fun. I got a full-sized towel at another triathlon and a pair of Feetures socks from a ZOOMA race. Congrats on your race! You rock.

  4. I agree, the mustard yellow shirts are ugly but I will wear mine to bed like you. My best race swag was from the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this past May. The long sleeve aqua tech shirt is one of my all time favorites.

  5. I actually work for a company that sells swag (not just for races, but in general) so I have lots of ideas on what would work. As far as what I've actually received, the worst was this hideous vest. Who wants to wear a running vest? I think that cotton race shirts should be ringspun cotton (the softer ones) or I won't wear them.