Did you know that there are over 30,000 races held across the United States every year?
What’s even more exciting is race participation is on the rise. In 2022, race participation grew by 16%.
This increased interest in participating in races offers an incredible opportunity for race organizers to grow their events. One way is with finisher awards.
Finisher awards are an effective way you can attract and retain race participants.
How Do Finisher Awards Help Grow Your Race Participants?
Finisher awards play a pivotal role in attracting participants to races and keeping them coming back year after year. Here’s how:
Motivate Race Participation
Finisher awards serve as powerful motivators. Knowing that a reward awaits at the finish line encourages individuals to train, set goals, and push their limits. Upon completing a race and receiving an award, the sense of accomplishment can be a compelling reason for participants to return and tackle new challenges in subsequent events.
Create A Race Memorable Experience
Finisher awards create lasting memories. They are physical reminders of a participant’s dedication and hard work, serving as a personal connection to the race experience.
These mementos become cherished keepsakes, often displayed in homes or worn proudly, sparking conversations and nostalgia that can influence a participant’s decision to return.
Leverage Social Media Marketing
Participants receiving unique or visually appealing finisher awards will likely share their race experience on social media. The captivating images of awards can attract friends and family to join future races.
It’s not uncommon for individuals to sign up for events simply because they’ve seen someone they know earn an impressive finisher award.
Build Brand Loyalty
Race organizers who consistently provide high-quality and attractive finisher awards establish a sense of trust and loyalty with participants. This reputation can lead to a dedicated following, with racers choosing specific events based on their history of rewarding participants with meaningful and well-crafted awards.
Gain A Competitive Edge
In the competitive landscape of race events, offering unique or collectible finisher awards sets a race apart. Participants seek out events that challenge them physically and provide a sense of exclusivity through distinctive awards. This differentiation can draw participants away from other races and towards yours.
Promote Future Races
Finisher awards can be promotional tools for future events. When participants proudly wear or display their awards, it sparks curiosity in others, leading them to inquire about their race and consider signing up. Additionally, organizers can strategically design awards to include information about upcoming races, enticing participants to stay engaged.
Finisher awards are a great way to reward participants for their hard work and dedication. They also are a great marketing tool.
When Should You Award Finisher Awards?
The timing for awarding finisher awards at a running event or race can vary depending on the event’s logistics, distance, and organization.
Here are some common scenarios for awarding finisher prizes:
Immediately At The Finish Line: In many races, participants receive their finisher awards as they cross the finish line. This immediate gratification adds to the sense of accomplishment and celebration. Volunteers or race staff often distribute medals, certificates, or other awards to participants as they complete the race.
Designated Award Ceremony: It may be more practical to hold a designated award ceremony after the race for larger races or events with numerous participants. Award Ceremonies allow organizers to efficiently distribute awards to winners and provide a structured and celebratory atmosphere for recognizing top finishers.
Finisher Festival Or Expo: Some races incorporate finisher awards as part of a post-race festival or expo. Participants can collect their finisher awards at designated booths or tables and other race-related merchandise or information. This approach adds to the overall race experience and encourages participants to linger and enjoy the post-race festivities.
Series Or Challenges: In races that are part of a series or challenge, participants may accumulate finisher awards over multiple events. Awards for the series or challenge are often given out after the completion of the final race.
Virtual Races: In the case of virtual races, finisher awards are typically mailed to participants after they have completed their race and submitted their results. This approach allows for flexibility regarding when participants can complete the race and receive their awards.
Ensure you clearly communicate the timing and distribution process for finisher awards to participants. Make sure to include this information in race registration materials, pre-race emails, and the race website. Participants should know when and where they can expect to receive their finisher awards to ensure a smooth and enjoyable race day experience.
5 Finisher Awards To Consider For Your Race
Rather than just providing participants with a medal, consider making a larger impact with a memorable finisher award.
When it comes to choosing a finisher award, there are two things we recommend considering.
First, the award should be a reminder to help them remember the fun time and encourage them to sign up next year. Second, they should support the runner in continuing their hobby and returning the following year.
Here are some suggestions for finisher awards for your race:
1. Running Apparel
High-quality running apparel such as technical shirts, jackets, or performance socks can be both functional and appreciated by participants. Consider customizing the race logo or design.
Custom race towels are practical for runners and versatile. Participants can use them for post-race cleanup, gym towels, or beach towels. Personalize them with race details or participant names for an extra touch.
3. Foam Roller
Recovery is a crucial part of any runner’s routine. Providing finishers with foam rollers encourages them to care for their muscles and aids post-race recovery. It’s a thoughtful and useful award.
4. Reflective Gear
Safety is paramount for runners, especially those who train in low-light conditions. Reflective vests, armbands, or other gear with your race branding can help participants stay safe during their runs.
5. Custom Mugs
Personalized race mugs are a classic and practical finisher award. Runners can use them for post-race hydration or as a keepsake for their collection. Include race details and a unique design to make them memorable. Grey Fox Pottery has several designs and customizations ideal for finisher awards.
These unique finisher awards acknowledge participants’ achievements, enhance their race experience, and work to promote your event. Be sure to choose items that align with your race’s theme, budget, and the preferences of your target audience.
To learn more about our memorable custom mugs, contact us. We’ll be happy to review the variety of options, customizations, and pricing for our high-quality handmade stoneware mugs.