OpEd: Are Finisher Shirts Finished?

Author: Aaron Singleton
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For those of you who are entering the sport of OCR, welcome! You are about to be flooded with a lifetime of friends, memories, and finisher t-shirts. From Spartan and Tough Mudder to your local obstacle race, the memento of choice for most companies is the finisher shirt. Eventually, there will come a time when you have completed enough races that you will have a drawer dedicated to these commemorative articles of clothing. While obstacles and races have changed over the years, we have not seen very much variety in what you receive when you cross the finish line. So what now?

Free Advice for Finishing Rewards

If you are a racer reading this article, there is a good chance you have said, “I wish races handed out ______!”  If you are a race organizer reading this, you likely have received some feedback at some point about ways to diversify what you give your competitors. One thing that helps to bring back clients and attract new ones is changing the way you do things, and ditching shirts for another prize can be a very simple and cost effective way of doing just that.

Branded Race Shorts

If you are looking to give your racers something functional they can use to train in while still showcasing your brand, this can be an easy way of changing the norm. Even a cheap pair of shorts is enough for most runners to make use of on the trails or in the gym. The thing with fitness people is they are constantly working out. So shorts are a logical way of increasing your brand awareness while giving racers something they can use on a daily basis.

Any Other Race Clothing

Shirts and shorts are a must on race day, but what about the other niche items that racers use on course? It’s very common to see competitors wearing buffs on course. As well, any compression gear like arm/calf sleeves or compression socks would very likely get used by even the most novice of racer. When in doubt, anything a racer can use on course is a great way to go. T-shirts are great, but it is time we get a little more creative.


Obstacle course racing is a unique sport where eyewear would be very beneficial at most events, but the cost/benefit analysis of potentially losing a $100.00 pair of polarized glasses can be enough to make using them not worthwhile. Giving racers a cheaper alternative would be something many would appreciate, especially when facing down a spear throw with the sun roasting your corneas. Many novelty sunglass companies also offer custom branding as well.

Credit to Swag Shop

This is a little more obscure, but hear me out. Racers love to rep race wear on a daily basis but don’t always want to wear a race shirt when they are out in public. Many companies out there bring along merchandise tents to sell a lot of really great products, but by the time a racer pays registration, admin fees, parking fees, bag drop and grabs a beer, they do not want to spend much more than they already have. Instead of putting the money towards shirts, why not reward racers with a credit to the store that you would have spent making those shirts and give racers a chance to buy something they actually want. While it may not cover the entire cost, it makes other gear much more accessible to racers on a budget.


What do I do with all of my Finisher Shirts?

While new ideas are nice, they don’t help with the overwhelming number of t-shirts laying around your home. Luckily, there are a few things you can do with finisher shirts that go beyond hiding them in a dresser. Some have been known to turn their shirts into a blanket or quilt to relax in at home on a cool day. Others have shown their design skills by turning their shirts into finisher hoodies (or bunny hugs for our Saskatchewan readers). Perhaps the noblest suggestion I can make is to donate your unused shirts to a homeless shelter or a similar charity. The need for clothing never goes away and there is always someone out there who could use a brand new shirt.

Ultimately, we are very lucky to be able to participate in this sport. It is easy to take finisher gear for granted and forget that companies do not need to give out anything. These are merely suggestions for new ways to reward racers. What would you like to see given out on race day?

The post OpEd: Are Finisher Shirts Finished? appeared first on Mud Run, OCR, Obstacle Course Race & Ninja Warrior Guide.

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OpEd: Are Finisher Shirts Finished?

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