5 Ways to Make Newbie Runners (Veterans Too!) Happy at Your Race

Marathon Finish Line

Since starting to run a few years ago I have been a part of a bunch of 5ks, 10ks, a few half-marathons and even one marathon. There were some great races and then there were some not so great races for me personally as a runner and for the organiztaion of the race itself. My personal philosophy is that the races should serve the newbie runners more than the veteran runners. Before you stop reading, please let me give you my 5 reasons why and then you can feel free to comment below tell me why you agree or disagree. Here is what every race should have:

1. A unique t-shirt

  • This shirt should be an optional add-on so people who have become inundated with t-shirts from their plethora of runs don’t have to get one.
  • The shirt should be something  people would actually want to wear (crazy thought I know) which means nothing innapropriate and with a cool design and offered in sizes that the runners wear (I’m a XXL and don’t always get a shirt that fits).

2. Coupons

  • Most local businneses would have no issue giving people a discount so ask them and you shall receive – especially if it is fitness related because that stuff ain’t cheap! New runners won’t have a lot of stuff but would be discounted items for dure!

3. Raffles

  • Again most local busineses will be willing to give a gift card or item from their store for your race. What’s better than running a race, finishing dead last (even if it is your personal best) and then winning a prize just for coming out and participating. What a way to encourage a new or old runner to keep going.

4. Race bib/medals

  • People collect stuff and want to show off their accomplishments. For shorter runs bibs are great for people to keep and for longer runs (over 5 miles) a medal is a great addition and could be offered as an additional purchase if need be.

5. Party at the end

  • Let’s celebrate! I mean, who doesn’t like a party? Why not let everyone bask in their accomplishment by allowing themselves to have some fun right after they worked their butt off. Throw some food into the equation and just about everyone will be happy!

Here is my experience with some of the above. I love to show off my running experience by wearing the race t-shirts, but due to my size or the fact that the shirt is ugly I don’t wear half of my shirts. Some of the best I have received was the Cherry blossom 10-miler and the  12/12/12k that I ran just this past Wednesday at the wee hours of the morning (12:12 to be exact). I also love getting the medals because that is something that I can keep and show to my theoretical kids someday in the future.

The real reason I wrote this blog today was I was a little frustrated with the run I did this past Wednesday. I just mentioned that I loved the t-shirt, but now I am going to talk about their inability to allow people the true experience of celebrating their accomplishment. At the end of the 12k (7.4ish miles) we ran under an inflatable archway (which was nice), then were handed a popsicle stick with a number on and were told to turn it in. Once we did that, there was nothing else going on. It was time to go home. For me, it was slightly disappointing, mostly because I have ran long races before, but I ran with a girl who had never done a long race before. If I was her, I would have been pretty disappointed that that was all their was to my “celebration.” My favorite celebration is done every year for the Ohio Michigan 8k and involves a concert, food and beer. It’s pretty nice and everyone seems to enjoy themselves. That is a way to end a race! It doesn’t have to be that extravagant though, but there should be something.

Charity Miles, a way to exercise and help others

Tomorrow I plan on discussing being thankful like every other person in the blogging world, but today I wanted to highlight something that I found today that is pretty awesome!

Through Twitter I heard about an app called Charity Miles. It is very simple to use and it helps you and others at the same time. Here is the premise behind the app. You pick a charity, you run, walk or bike and depending on your distance you get sponsored for an a certain amount of items. There are several charities you can choose from and you earn different things for each charity. For example I ran for Habitat today and earned 2.5 pieces of lumber for one mile of running. It’s not a lot, but it’s something! What’s cool beyond that is that as soon as I submitted my run, I got an e-mail with a map of where I ran. That was unexpected and pretty nice!

I have only done one run with them so I don’t know the items you earn, but I wanted to give you a list of the charities and if one excites you, download the app and start helping other get what most of us never have to worry about. In fact even if one doesn’t excite you, download the app and run for one anyway!

Here are the charities:

Stand up to Cancer
Feeding America
Every Mother Counts
Autism Speaks
The Michael J. Fox Foundation
World Food Programme
Wounded Warrior Project
ASPCA
The Nature Conservancy
Habitat For Humanity
Pencils of Promise
Achilles International
The Global Fund

New Challenges

So, I’ve written on here a few times about my need to live healthier. I have found out that I need challenges to provide some encouragement for me to lose some weight and just live healthier  in general. I have been on the lookout for some new challenges and I found too that will provide me with daily goals to achieve. I like that and I thought I would share some info

A while back I stumbled on the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak and immediately wanted to sign up for that. The premise is simple, run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Years. 1 mile shouldn’t be too hard to squeeze in most days, so I am excited to start doing that. It also won’t interfere with the running I do with my mom, so it works perfectly for me. It starts in two days and I would love to hear if anyone else is going to try this too!

The second challenge is a little different. It’s called Elf for Health and is based on daily challenges and accountability between perfect strangers. The smart thing about it is they are encouraging the accountability by offering gifts by being the best elf and they are alternating elves so you get three different partners throughout the six weeks. That’s so smart, that way no one gets stuck with a mediocre elf and every elf has a reason to strive to help out their fellow challenger. Every day there is a new challenge, some being harder than others and some being extremely easy (especially for me since there is a no make-up day and I haven’t worn make-up in a while! 😛 ). I am excited for it to start next Monday and I hope some of you will join in too, especially if you are a male, because I am the only man in this that I know of at least.

If we work together we can all become healthier. Join me in one or both of these challenges and lets help honor God by taking care of His temple!