My Runner Swag Survey Answers

Last week I shared the results of my Runner Swag survey.  You can see what other people think here.

Here are my answers with a little elaboration ;).

Question 1/2: Where are you from? and if US, what city, state do you live in?
US, I was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Indiana when I was 11, went to IU Bloomington for college, studied at Universita di Bologna in Bologna, Italy my senior year at IU, moved to Florida after college, Phoenix, AZ in 2011 and then San Diego, CA in 2015.

Question 3: How long have you been running?
This question is a bit complicated. I remember running my first race, the 100 yard dash on a cinder track at a school event when I was maybe in first grade when I lived in Harrisburg, PA. I ran track from grades 6 – 12. Didn’t really run in college and then started running consistently again in 2009. I tore my hamstring doing something not run related, I slipped on wet rose petals at a wedding I was working, it took 7 months to heal and I started running with the Orlando Track Shack Galloway group in fall 2010. I ran my first half in Feb 2011, the Disney Princess Half at Walt Disney World.

Question 4: What is the longest distance you have run?
100k or 63 miles (trail miles are +/- the actual distance LOL) I’ve finished 2 100ks. Cuyamaca 100k in 2017 & Javelina 100k in 2019.

Question 5: How many races do you do in a normal (non Covid) year?
Typically at least 20 – 30

Question 6: How many races have you done in your lifetime?
Over a 100
63 Half Marathons
32 Marathons
21 Ultras
And a bunch of other races of various distances

Question 7: Do you run more road or trail?
Half & Half – I love trail but I have road goals too

Question 8: Do you like receiving finisher medals?
Yes, I like medals, it’s a small way for me to remember what races I’ve run.

Question 9: Do you want to receive a finishers medal?
Yes but see next question

Question 10: If you like medals what distances should get them?
For me, I want a medal for Half Marathon and up. I don’t need them for under the half marathon distance, but that being said, I know that for some people running a distance under a half is a huge accomplishment and that might be as long as they go so I’m say, if getting a medal motivates people to get out and run, then bring it on!

Question 11: For my ultra runners, what distances should get a buckle?
Personally, I’m good with a medal or some sort of souvenir (not a glass because I just don’t have room for them) for under 100 miles. I’m good with only getting a buckle for 100 miles or over.

Question 12/13: Do you like finisher/participant shirts? If no, why not?
For me personally, I don’t like most of them, they rarely fit properly, either too high of a neck which is an issue for me, weird tech fabric, sizing is weird or just plain uncomfortable. I only ever wear them for a post race photos and then I end up donating them. But if it is a shirt made from a company like rabbit, a really nice cotton shirt or from a big race I’m good with it.

Question 14: if a race gave you option to add on a shirt for an additional fee would that be appealing?
For me, yes. I would rather not get a shirt the majority of time. I would pay for an upgrade if it was a rabbit, lululemon or a shirt that I knew I would wear.

Question 15: If a race gave you the opportunity to choose your own swag from a list of a few items, what would you want?
I like Hats, goodr sunglasses like Revel did a few years back, running socks, maybe a tote or backpack if it was nice but just getting free photos would be cool. I run a lot of races & just don’t have a need or room for so much stuff.

Question 16: Should races offer free photos?
I would love to get free photos for all races but I know not all races can afford to pay the photographer who relies on participants purchasing to make a living.

Question 17/18: Do you purchase photos from races that offer them for a fee?
Yes, I do, if they are good high quality photos, mostly to remember a race &/or post on social media

Question 19: What is the most you will pay for a photo?
I prefer the photos that are free or cost $5 – 10 but I have purchased the pre-race specials for some bigger races.

Question 20/21: Does your opinion of swag change if you are running a road race vs a trail race?
In my experience, trail races have really nice swag – while I haven’t run a 100 + mile race, I’ve seen some of the cool stuff Sean has gotten and it’s way better than most road race swag. They also tend to have some more sustainable swag too, we’ve gotten bamboo silverware, nice winter hats, arm warmers, jackets, & bags.

Question 22: How do you pick races you participate in?
We look for races that are in cool destinations, that have good courses and are in places we want to visit.

Question 23: Do you pick races based off the swag?
Honestly, sometimes yes. Because I’ve run so many races, if I see a cool medal, I might choose that race. But normally no.

Question 24: Do you think swag is important to runners?
Yes & no – I think most runners want something but I think they want something they can actually use.

Question 25: Why do you run races? Question 26: What motivates you to run a race vs just running the distance by yourself/with friends?
I love the community, being able to run long with out having to support myself, for that feeling of crossing the finish line, seeing new places.

Overall, swag isn’t the reason I run races but it can be a nice plus and a way to remember different places we’ve been.

What are your thoughts on race swag?

2021 Runner Swag Survey Results

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from an elite runner that said something to the effect that medals and race shirts should be eliminated so I  thought it would be cool to do my own survey and see what my followers thought.

Huge thank you to the 83 people who answered my 27 question survey!  I know it was long, I just kept thinking of more and more questions LOL. In this post, I’m going to share the answers from those who answered the survey & then I’ll do a 2nd post next week to share my personal thoughts.

Here we go:

Question 1: Where are you from?
US – 78
Canada – 3
UK – 1
The Netherlands – 1

Question 2: If US, what City & State do you live in?
California: Sacramento – 3, San Diego – 3, Santa Cruz – 3, San Francisco – 3, Los Angeles – 2  Other CA cities: Vacaville, Elk Grove, Aromas, Rohnert Park, Carmichael, San Jose, Citrus Heights, Palo Alto, Los Alamitos, Carpinteria, Orangevale, Stockton, Alameda, Livermore, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa & 4 who didn’t list a city
Philadelphia, PA – 3
Gilbert, AZ – 2
New York City, NY – 2
Arlington & Charlottesville, VA, Fargo, ND, Miami, FL, Georgetown & Houston, TX, Takoma Park, MD, Mabelton, GA, Dayton & Cincinnati, OH, North Carolina, St. Louis, MO, St. Paul, NM, Rochester Hills, MI, Bend, OR, Wahiawa, HI, Pittsburgh, PA, New Boston, NH, Colorado Springs, CO, Rogers, AR and Kodiak, Fairbanks & Anchorage, Alaska, Utah

Question 3:

 

Question 4:

Other answers: 5k, 10k, 10, 17, 18, 20 miles

Question 5: How many races do you do in a normal (non Covid) year?
None – 2 ppl
1 – 5 races – 46 ppl
5 – 10 races – 17 ppl
10 + races – 12 ppl
20 + races – 4 ppl
30 + races – 1

Question 6: How many races have you done in your lifetime?
0 – 10 races – 4ppl
10 – 20 races – 7 ppl
20 – 30 races – 7 ppl
30 – 40 races – 3 ppl
40 – 50 races – 3 ppl
50+ races – 13 ppl
75+ races – 1 person
100+ races – 5 ppl
Not sure – 7 ppl
Too many to count – 12 ppl

Question 7:

Question 8:

Other responses: 5 ppl Indifferent, 2 ppl if they are high quality & nice design, depends on distance, for major or special races, for goal races, depends, I like them but can live without, Doesn’t have to be a medal but I like a souvenir form the race.

Question 9:

Question 10:

Other answers: Any but have as upgrade, All distances

Question 11:

Other answers: Any distance but as upgrade, not sure, respect the buckle 🙂

Question 12:

Question 13: If no, Why not?
The majority of responses were because:
They don’t fit well
Cheaply made
I never wear them because I wear other clothes
Don’t come in my size
Some people prefer cotton over tech and then others prefer tech over cotton

Question 13:
Yes – 21 ppl
No – 13 ppl
Maybe – would depend on shirt/race – 42 ppl
No I want it to be included in race fee
No, shirts are implied
I love when races have you opt in for shirts
Only if it was cotton
I like when you can save some money by not taking the shirt
If shirts weren’t included I would buy one I like them more than medals
if it’s a technical shirt – not basic cotton

Question 14: If a race gave you the opportunity to choose your own swag from a list of a few items, what would you want?
Answers included:
Mugs, Pint Glasses, Wine Glasses, Water bottles
Hat, Visor, headbands
Buffs
Running socks
Different types of clothing like tank tops, long sleeves, half zips, jackets
sunglasses
Reusable Tote Bags or backpacks
Blankets
Bottle Openers
Jewelry
Finisher souvenir
Beach Towel
Free Photos
Food
Stickers
Money, Free Future Race Entries

Question 15:

Question 16:

Question 17:

Other answers: Rarely, only if it’s epic, only at Boston

Question 18: If yes, why do you purchase photos?
Answers included:
If they are good
Memories withou a watermark
I don’t always have a crew
Special races
For Instagram
Commemorate big adventues
If it was a big PR
To post ressponsibly
Some are really good & photographer needs to eat as well
To support race or company
Photo Quality

Question 19:

39% $5- 10
28% Nothing – I only want free photos
20.7% $10 – 20
4.9% over $20
Other single answers – someone has to pay photograher, $5 each or $25 for bunch, I’ve never liked mine, $5 – 10 but like to buy the whole series, depends on race, $20 – 30 for digital download

Question 20:

Question 21: Why?
Trail races are more special so I value swag differently
Trail races provide different challenge
Swag from Trail races is different
More burly
If it’s my first I want awesome swag, but I also want a nice jacket from a well know road race
Trail races are more thoughtful & considerate with sustainable swag
Trail swag is better
Trail races are typically more low key
Run by individuals/small companies with smaller budgets
They can do wonky things – including giving winners rubber chickens

Question 22:

Question 23:

Question 24:

Question 25: Why do you run races? Answers included the following:
Accomplishment
Fun
Self Competition
Achieve Goals
See new places
The community
Water Stations – not have to run long self supported
Memories
Runners High
Motivation
Bragging Rights
Medals
Seeing what I can do
Health & fitness

Question 26: What motivates you to run a race vs just running the distance by yourself/with friends? Answers included:
Competition
Goal
Paying money makes me more motivated to train
Fun & safe environment
Fans
Destinations, seeing new places
Excitement of racing
Running somewhere different
Crossing the finish line feels different; Runners High
Chasing a PR
Runing with friends at a race
Official times
Community feel

Question 27: Anything swag/race related you would like to add?
Have race swag be an add on
No more leaflets in goody bags
Offer tanks tops for ladies
better graphics/designs
Option to upgrade shirts
Something unique & specific to races
Consumable goodies, ie. Soap, candy, candles
Shirts optional
Swag other than shifts
Options to donate swag to others less fortunate
Swag as an extra to have lower priced events
No swag vs cheap wasteful products
Better post run food vs swag
Discount to a future race vs swag
It’s mostly junk

A few of my personal thoughts about these responses:

  1. Interestingly the majority of the people who responded have been running for at least 5 years so I have to wonder if that influenced their answers because they have received more swag/medals over the years.
  2. It appeared that people like shirts over medals which really surprised me.
  3. Swag doesn’t really influence the majority of people who responsed
  4. More of the respondents are road runners vs trail runners

And that’s a wrap!  Thank you again to all those who participated & feel free to comment and tell me about your opinions on runner swag!