Best swag and awards you've gotten?

I’m putting together a proposal for a big project for local runners next year (stay tuned!), and I want it to have fabulous participation swag and completion awards. I have some ideas, but please share—what swag and awards have you most liked?

Bonus points for pictures! (Just drag them into your reply here, or attach them to your email reply.)

To kick things off, here’s the swag that I’ve gotten the most compliments on—the retro-themed sweatshirt for the 2020 Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile (designed by Rob Kurcoba and modeled here by my late friend Oliver).

In 2019, I did socks and playing cards (it was the 52nd anniversary of the race), but they weren’t as popular as 2020’s sweatshirt.

So what are your favorite pieces of swag, snazziest medals, and most notable awards?

I’d like to know what the “event” is before mentioning swag as the swag sometimes relates to the event. Look forward to hear what you have in mind. Some of the swag that was well received at the FL50s were the camp chairs with the logo on the back of the back rest, backpack with the logo embroidered on the front, the quarter zip fleece

, and the glow in the dark logoed hoodie sweatshirt (these are really comfy!)

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Ooo, yeah, those FL50s hooded sweatshirts are great! I alternate between that one and my Hartshorne sweatshirt a lot of the winter. I haven’t seen the quarter-zip fleeces, but they look nice too.

For now, suffice it to say that the proposal will be for a virtual event that will involve a lot of running over the entire year, in a way that lets everyone compete for awards, regardless of speed or ultra-running capabilities.

Best swag I’ve received was handmade pottery (mug and bowl) from local artist stamped with race logo.

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Best mugs I’ve received are from Bull Run Run for winning masters and various age group mugs from Twilight; best medal was from Wineglass; best bags have been daypacks from FL50s, Bull Run Run, and a high-quality Mizuno sling bag from some trail HM at Bristol Hills (no race logo) that I use as a computer bag when traveling; of course my favorite trophies make up my three-cow herd from the FL50s; I also have some truly useful finishers jackets from ultras, two of which are go-to winter jackets. Still, I love my 50s camp chair—and that is the item that I would recommend as swag for the 2021 series. No photos right now, but maybe I’ll add some later.

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I like draw string bags with the race design on it. They always get a lot of use in my household.

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Those PGXC beanies from 2018 are pretty great.

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Tough Mudder one year handed out hand towels, a bit bigger than a washcloth. I like the idea of a towel, whether kitchen-towel sized or beach-towel sized. A race I did over the summer offered arm sleeves, which seemed to big a huge hit with a lot of people.


I have too many shirts and not enough places to wear them (especially now!), so alternative types of swag are appreciated!

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I second the arm sleeves…I got some at the Fly By Night Duathlon a number of years back, and still have them (and use them).

In terms of gear, I frequently appreciate swag that I may want but would never buy. Like arm sleeves or socks (I buy socks, but I always wish I didn’t have to, haha). A RoadID is also something I would love to have received as a prize.

My favorite prizes have always been beer (or food!).

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I agree with Steve. The camp chairs were an excellent idea and something you don’t see often.

I do like wearable swag, although I also have many, many t-shirts and I don’t like “tech” fabrics, so I’ve opted out t-shirts for my more recent races. I’ve gotten some hats (both baseball style and winter beanie style) that have become well-worn favorites. I’ve never gotten a hoodie, and I think the one posted above is cool – so I’ll upvote that one.

As for other things I’ve gotten from races, many local organizers have done a good job of connecting with other folks in the area, and I really appreciate that: mugs made by local artists, local goat soap with the race logo stamped on it, and ready-to-be-framed prints of the logo/course map.

Finally, one was more experiential: at a small race in Ohio, the director was also a prof in the studio arts dept. at the local college, and after the race we had a short printmaking demo where we could make our own shirt/bandana/etc. (Of course, I recognize the issues around access to those resources and it happening in pre-COVID times, but it was cool).

I’m leaning toward some sort of a hoodie/sweatshirt/quarter-zip jacket for the main swag, with an eye toward making it something that people would want to wear. Too many t-shirts are festooned with so many sponsor logos and the like that it’s almost a little embarrassing to go out in them. And as you say, everyone has too many shirts (I have boxes in the attic that I rotate through).

I’d love to do something with a local artist, but the volume might be too high. The goat soap idea is a neat one, since you can appreciate it for a while and then not having it cluttering up your life.