Creative Gift Ideas for Runners

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Holiday shopping for most friends and family can be a special sort of challenge. Some are impossible to buy for, some will return the item regardless and sometimes you find the one who is kind enough to send you a link to exactly what they want. And running friends and family are no different especially when it comes to running gear. Most runners are very particular on almost everything. Runners wear certain brands and certain cuts of socks. tights have to fit just right and not fall down, visors need the right “feel”… the list is endless and daunting for any gift giver. My sympathy goes out to the person who tries to gift a runner shoes without a direct link to said shoe and size. So how can this task remain fun for the giver and be something of use for recipient? A little creativity can go a long way.

The Post Race Gift

Many female runners I know, and I’d imagine a lot of male runners as well, skip out on pedicures while training for certain races or distances. The easy and useful gift would be a gift card for a pedicure designated for post-race celebration, but why not take it one creative step further? Add a great color of nail polish, tiny airplane bottle of booze to doctor up their drink while being pampered and a trashy magazine to read. While the pedicure is an example, seeking out something that is a post-race celebration or something your runner is seeking to do after the race and really going down the rabbit hole to provide the entire experience. Sometimes the best gift is the sharing of celebration after a race and giving a physical gift that promotes celebration and prolongs the victory.

A Gift for Your Boston Qualifier

If you happen to be in the presence of a recent Boston Qualifier you probably have heard about it ad naseum. While the race is still months away, that doesn’t mean your favorite runner can’t start sporting Boston swag. The Boston Athletic Association’s website sells gear all year. However, most runners want to buy their Boston gear to make sure they can wear it for years to come. If you are confident go ahead and buy whatever your favorite runner’s heart desires.  Another idea is to buy qualifier merchandise. Qualifying alone is a big enough deal to purchase swag. Adidas is the current official sponsor and has men’s and women’s technical shirts, hoodie sweatshirts and cotton logo t shirts.

The Gift of a Race

Lots of people get money or gift cards as gifts and have no idea what to use it on. Give a runner the gift of a race. While you can’t register the runner for the race, if you know a specific race is coming up they’ve wanted to run or even if you don’t know specifics, you can provide the funds! Wrap up the Visa or American Express gift card or cash and add a little something special with it. Let’s assume the race is the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando, for a little something extra, you could add a water bottle that has princesses on it or Disney princess ornament to the gift card. If the race is themed with food or drink, include that. For example, for the RC Cola & Moon Pie 10 Miler, make a basket with Moon Pies, colas and include the gift card. If you are wanting to provide the money for a non-specified race, make a basket with energy gels, gum, energy bars and sports drinks you know your runner likes.

Offer Up Your Services

Depending on how well you know your runner this could be the best gift out there. And the commitment can range on time from a little to a lot but can be really budget friendly. Offer to watch kiddos for a run if child care is often a hurdle for your favorite runner. Don’t mind dealing with your runner when their potentially amped? Suggest you be race day support and for some runners that could mean on-course support. Are you a Physical Therapist or massage therapist? Other than the fact it’s obvious why your runner is friends with you joke, offer your services free of charge. If you live with a runner, consider offering to take on a set of certain household chores for a month to free up time during a heavy training month. Mowing the lawn or cleaning the bathroom especially come to mind. Offering up yourself is only a good idea if you know you can and will commit to providing the offered service.

A Gift for Your Runner & Their Cause

There are a wide variety of organizations that races provide charitable opportunities to raise money for. There are also a lot of runners who begin fundraising as a way to get involved and then become an advocate for the organization. If you have a runner whose heart lies with a specific cause donating on their behalf, either directly to the organization or via their fundraising efforts, could really be the gift that keeps on giving to both your runner and their cause. Even if your runner doesn’t raise funds for a particular organization, donating to a recipient organization that their favorite race supports might be a great way to support your runner (and keep their house clutter-free if they are into the non-accumulation movement).

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be painful and really should be fun. Any runner will appreciate a serious effort on your part to take the basic running gift of shorts or socks up a thoughtful notch.

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