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Race Day SWAG

What’s the deal with horrible SWAG at races? There’s nothing like training for months and running your heart out, only to receive an over-ripe banana and a cotton t-shirt I’d be too embarrassed to mow my lawn in. Anyone else experiencing this?

Well, I just found out that we’re getting some pretty sweet SWAG for running the Atlanta Marathon – namely, a long-sleeve Nike performance shirt and a pint glass featuring sites along the course. I gotta be honest…I’m way more excited about it than I should be.

So, my question for you…

What’s the best and/or worst SWAG you’ve ever received from a race?

And…if you’re interested in running the Atlanta Marathon (or teaming up with some friends for the relay), it’s not too late to sign up! Click here to register – and make sure to tell them you heard about it from

21 Responses to “Race Day SWAG”

  1. Dusty
    September 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Best SWAG: Technical T-shirt at a half marathon.

    Worst SWAG: A hat at the Little Rock Half Marathon. Seriously… a hat? I just ran a half marathon and I get an ugly hat that I would never wear. This sucks.

  2. Chrystal
    September 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I’ve gotten more bad swag than good. I think the worst was a giant rubber band with the race sponsor’s name/logo printed on it. It was probably 1.5 inches thick and if it were cut and laid out maybe 20 inches long. It was ridiculous. We couldn’t figure out if it was supposed to serve a purpose or if they really just wasted their money by printing a bunch of giant rubber bands.

    The best – I ran a marathon last year. For all the first-timers they gave us a framed copy of our race bib. Which was really cool because after running 26 miles that race bib pinned to your clothes is disgustingly soaked with sweat. It was a great keepsake from my first (and only) marathon.

  3. Ashlee
    September 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Interesting! We discussed this very subject at our first race planning meeting for Morningside Mile. It seems people are tired of T-shirts & water bottles. We’re opting for technical race hats & free beer in commemorative pint glass this year, along with other goodies. Fingers crossed that we made a good choice…

    • realrkennedy
      September 13, 2011 at 8:17 am #


      For those of us racers who are gluten free, please keep us in mind with race swag as well. Thanks! =)

  4. Harvo
    September 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    I happen to be a race-shirt addict, so I’m always happy for the tee (techical or not).

  5. td
    September 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Just ran in my first 5k this past weekend. Opened up the bag of swag and I there was a Clif Z Bar, which, if you don’t know, is Clif’s bars for kids. I’d rather had a Twinkie.

  6. Mike
    September 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    One of the best ones that I received was from the Big Sur International Marathon. In addition to getting a really unique hand-made, hand-painted clay finisher’s medal – the race staff also mails a hard copy of the local newspaper which lists all finshers’ times. It’s always cool to see your name in-print.

    The worst was a necklace. I ran the local Zooma Half Marathon, which, yes, is advertised as a women’s race, but they give all finishers necklaces. Isn’t this rather presumptuous? Wouldn’t women marathoners still rather get a medal? I also felt that, for the sizeable portion of men that still ran it, they were basically giving us the proverbial middle finger.

  7. Alesa
    September 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Best swag- carpet cleaner. I know that is crazy, but it is good stuff and now I don’t have to buy it. I got that at the Pink Series 10k in UT. Worst, flyers. Seriously why do I need more flyers?

  8. Alesa
    September 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Oops I forgot I also got a charm for a necklace (it was a female only race) at the pink series. I love it.

  9. Jenn
    September 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Philadelphia Marathon so far has been the best for swag – good long sleeve technical shirt that I like wearing and a light gym bag for your race day gear drop off – there was other stuff in there but the most practice and stylish.

    Houston Marathon was the worst – the technical shirt was flimsy and cheap and you only get it if you finish. They also gave out a beer mug – which is a pain to pack in your suitcase and more or less useless for me as a Celiac unless I want to put water in it. In reality it’s stashed away in some corner of a closest. Now I know it sounds whiny but I paid almost double for Houston then Philadelphia.

  10. Brian
    September 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    The worst has to be flyers from the race sponsors. I haven’t really been to enough races to have a standout best. I imagine the Atlanta Marathon might have the best, judging by what they’re giving (Nike shirt and pint glass wootwoot!)

  11. Kristie
    September 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Worst – got alot of great coupons to local stores and free food coupons…but they were ALL EXPIRED!!

  12. Valerie
    September 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Best swag is the long sleeve technical shirt from the Disney 1/2 marathon, of course you pay a lot for that race. I also got a pair of hot pink Crocs from the Women’s Running Magazine first 1/2 marathon. They are ugly as heck, and I don’t wear them in public, but they are great for working around the house and for wearing after races when my feet are swollen.

  13. Lindsay
    September 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    I ran a 9/11 memorial 5K in Baltimore a few weeks ago. They gave out Under Armour technical tees, and at the finish line they had tons of bananas, Panera bagels, chips, pretzels, Nutra-Grain bars, water, and 14 kegs!

    • Brian Waters
      September 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

      Holy crap! You had me at 14 kegs!

      Seriously…that’s super generous for a 5K.

  14. gabriellaheidi
    September 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I LOVE SWAG. I have gotten so much stuff at the expo for my half last year. I asked if I could have more samples of the small bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. They agreed so I took handfuls. It has been a year and they still are around. SO good.

  15. nan
    September 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    long sleeve tech shirts, pair of socks, full size energy bars or gels are always good. the worst? a bag full of flyers from dentists and chiropractors.

  16. Emily
    October 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Its not a straight running marathon, but the Warrior Dash gives you a plush viking helmet and everyone gets a medal and t-shirt (and water/banana). Also, its a super fun race.

    • Tyler
      October 17, 2011 at 10:51 am #

      That’s awesome. I NEED a plush viking helmet. Maybe that’s my next race.

    • Tim Rhodes
      October 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      And don’t forget the free beer! :-D

  17. Julie
    December 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Just got my packet for the Dallas White Rock half (ad full, but who does those???). In my bag was a bunch of ads, and a full sized box of 10 Clif Crunch bars! (My boys will be thrilled!) We also got a long sleeved cotton t, then we get a tech finisher’s shirt, and a finisher’s medal. (I’m in it for the medal.)

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