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.

Checking my motives at the door

I’m reading this book called Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey and while I am not done with it yet, I can highly recommend it. When I am done with the book I will discuss it a little bit more, but today I wanted to share with you about motives. Dave Harvey talks about ambition as being a good and Godly thing if the motives are right. This thought has been hitting me a lot recently.

Why do I write this blog? Why do I want to get in better shape? Why am I going to Germany as a missionary with Greater Europe Mission? Why do I do anything that I am doing? If my answer ever starts with the word I, I’m doing something wrong.

In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” If I am supposed to be eating and drinking for the glory of God, then how much more should I be blogging, exercising, and living all aspects of my life for the glory of God?

I’m going to be honest though, a good chunk of the time, my motives aren’t the right ones, I’m not ambitious for God’s glory, I am ambitious for my glory.

Why did I start this blog? The biggest reason was to share with people about my call to ministry, but I check the stats to see how many visitors I am getting and I try to increase those numbers. Pretty sure that has nothing to do with God’s glory.

Why do I want to get in better shape? That one is mostly for selfish reasons too. I was actually struggling to figure out Godly motives in this specific case until yesterday. My mom and I are in a personal record 5k running group with Dave’s Running shop and yesterday was speed training. After we were done we had the privilege of listening to Brandon Bethke, an Olympian hopeful who is also a follower of Christ. He talked about how he gets through the tough training times because he remembers that this gift he has (running ridiculously fast) is from God and Brandon wants to use it for His glory, not his glory.

His short talk reminded me that my motives are sometimes off and if I want anything to be successful then I need to check my motives at the door and start living all aspects of my life for Christ and through the Holy Spirit have my motives become His motives for His glory.