When COVID-19 forced race organizers to change guidelines due to social distancing, athletes still found a way to cross the finish line. The camaraderie of staying active – especially for a cause – remained strong as the development of virtual races emerged. Whether on a treadmill or trail, jogging through neighborhoods, or walking around the block, here are some ideas to help could send to encourage spirit during your next virtual race.
The goal of a race is to get everyone up and moving, while hopefully having fun. However, during such unique times, it is important to think of those who are unable to compete. Allow participants the option to donate their registration fees to a charity of choice or encourage them to raise funds on their own for a charity associated with the run or a charity of their choice.
Snacks, Treats and Hydration
Another way to bring race-festivities to each individual runner is to send them a small care package of high protein snacks. These treats can help fuel their pre and post-run success. We offer a few good options here on swag.com:
- Clif Builder’s Bar is a good option to include in a rack snack pack.
- Healthy snack kits can include trail mix, almonds or cashews.
Chalk or other Route Markers
The roar of a crowd is a staple part of any race, and also what helps push participants along. While social distancing will prohibit crowds, a creative way to curate an atmosphere of spectators is to write words of encouragement in chalk along a runner’s route. Before the event, send the runner supplies, and they, along with friends and family, can write messages to read as they pound the pavement.
Running Gear and Accessories
Since runners will be running alone and keeping their own times it can be a good opportunity to send them something to help them along.
- This adjustable elastic jog strap can fit their iPhone/droid devices and will allow them to track their miles for the cause. Also, the strap is a hassle-free way to listen to music while on the move.
- This silicone phone wallet is also another good option to help runners keep their essentials on them while out training.
- Or if looking for a higher-value gift or prize, this fitness tracker watch is a great gift that will help your runners stay on track
Fun Promotional Giveaways
Your in-person 5K probably had some fun giveaways to the runners. Here are a few cost-effective options that you can send out as a thank-you for participating.
- Socks are in! A commemorative way to remember the event is with custom athletic socks. Print your 5K’s logo on the socks so runners can vividly wear the event’s name with pride as they are running.
- Another popular giveaway at racing events are custom popsockets. They can advertise your event and make your participants remember the positive experience they had finishing your race.
Safety and Wellness Giveaways
Even while running, everyone should be wearing a face mask to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. The best masks for running are super breathable, lightweight, and can cover your nose and mouth. These 100% cotton masks are just that! They are also super comfy, easily washable while featuring anti-allergy and anti-dust properties. They are available in branded or unbranded options as well.
Who doesn’t love the good freebie of a shirt or baseball cap? Apparel is also a flexible way to incorporate sponsors
- The Gildan Cotton T-Shirt is a popular option for as a giveaway t-shirt. It comes in sizes ranging from small to 5XL and is 100% preshrunk cotton and is available in a lot of great color options.
- If you are looking for a hat giveaway, the Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh is a great option for runners. It has great breathability with Nike”s Dri-FIT moisture management technology and perforated mid and back panels. A contrast under bill reduces sun glare.
Regardless of the participation swag that you select to send as support during your next virtual race, encourage runners to upload photos using a specific hashtag. The social media presence will build a sense of community around the event despite participants being physically separated. So while graces going virtual have brought on so many options – your own speed, your own location, your own swag.