There are blogs about it. Mile-long comment threads on Facebook. And even press releases dedicated to announcing it. We’re talking about the swag. It won’t be the sole thing you’re focused on as you plan a race, but it certainly contributes to a lot of athlete buzz. If you’re racking your brain to think of some creative ideas for race swag, get inspiration from these 10 events:

1. Nike Women’s Half Marathon

When you put firefighters in tuxedos and give them Tiffany & Co. necklaces to bestow upon finishers, you’re going to make waves among participants. Yes, the bar is high, but no reason you can’t take this idea and simplify it (the Mermaid Series usually has a pretty sweet necklace in their swag bag).

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2. Sinister 7 Ultra

After making it 100 miles, runners are rewarded with a drink—from a customized cab-merlot wine bottle that includes the finisher’s name, bib number, and finishing time. The labels are made right at the finish line so the athletes can take them home.


3. Flying Pig Marathon

This hilly event is known for having cool medals that are two-sided, three-dimensional, and feature quirky images of the eponymous pig. Who doesn’t love a unique medal? They never get old.


4. Hot Chocolate 15K

Billed as “luxurious,” the full-zip hoodie in the 2015 goodie bag is bound to be a popular item. But even it can’t outshine the finisher’s mug filled with chocolate fondue and dippable snacks.

race_swag_bag_ideas_Hot _Chocolate_15K

5. 3M Half Marathon

Held in Austin, this event’s goodie bags are known for being plentiful, practical, and wacky. Previous years have included items like Scotch tape, Post-it notes, Scotch-Brite cleaning cloths, super glue, bandaids…you name it. Just proves it doesn’t have to always be a Tiffany’s necklace to make people happy.


6. Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

These musical races have been credited with starting the series medal phenomena and have become obsessive targets of “collector” participants. For example, Rock ‘n’ Roll offers the Heavy Medal Series (awarded for completing multiple events in the series), Limited Edition Medals (completing a specific combination of events), and Remix Challenge Medals (completing two Rock ‘n’ Roll events on one weekend).

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7. Ragnar Trail

Self-proclaimed as “the best da*n swag in the world,” the 2015 race will include an ultra-soft t-shirt and a finisher’s medal unlike any other. This rugged Multi-Tool Medal can open a bottle or can, saw wood, unscrew a lug nut, and more. Sounds more like a Swiss Army Knife.


8. Run!Geek!Run! 5K

Technical t-shirts and souvenir geek glasses are given to all athletes. But the real prizes are the signature bobbleheads awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers. Just awesome.

race_swag_bag_ideas_Run!Geek!Run! 5K

9. Hamptons Marathon and Half Marathon

True to its sun-and-sand vibe, this event’s swag has included a beach towel and flip-flops at previous events, to rave reviews from participants.

race_swag_bag_ideas_Hamptons_Marathon and_Half_Marathon

10. Chocolate Turkey 3 Mile

Fun and light-hearted, participants receive an official race apron or cape, and a chocolate turkey at this event organized by ShaZam Racing.

race_swag_bag_ideas_Chocolate_Turkey_ 3_Mile

Creative? Yes. Popular? Definitely. But instead of staring at your race checklist and stressing about coming up with your own brilliant idea for race swag, start by trying to get inside the heads of your participants. What would they think is cool and special? How can you provide that to them? And we’ll leave you with one final note: Stop filling your race swag bags with nothing but crap in them. Put all coupons and paper on your website and put something in that bag that really represents your event!

Download our eGuide on how to make race day a success for more tips.

Need more ideas on how to make your event stand out in the race planning process? Click here to contact us. We’d love to help!