The Shamrock Shuffle is over and the beginning of racing here in Chicago has officially kicked off.
Between now and Hot Chocolate you are going to be bombarded by e-mails asking you to “REGISTER NOW,” touting all of the great things you get for your entry fee.
“THIS IS YOUR GOODIE BAG!!!” has become a tag line to get you on the hook and into the race.
Then there’s the Shamrock Shuffle. This years t-shirt isn’t much different from last years and so on and so on. It’s not a knock on the quality of the shirt, they are just a very basic design on a wickable tee. Yet, every year over 80,000 people sign up for Bank of America events,(Shamrock and the Marathon) despite the t-shirt not coming with a giant hood, a bag full of stuff, massive medals, a wading pool or dare we say it, 500,000 ounces of chocolate.
Is it possible that the schwag doesn’t matter as much as the event itself? Does a well-organized, safe race that provides you an outlet to run, mean more than a medal that glows in the dark?
Shamrock Shuffle and the Marathon are generally the same every year, they make adjustments here and there, but it mostly doesn’t change. Yet, people come from around the world to run. It must mean something? No bands on the course, no mud(unless it’s raining), no fire, just running. Madness!
This Summer in Chicago there is going to be a glow themed race, a paint themed race and a race with snow! Yes, snow in July.
The Twin Lakes Triathlon is one of the best Sprint Triathlons in the area, their shirt design hardly changes, yet they sell out every year.
Experience is fun. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of running a race for the shirt, but is it getting out of hand? Has running taken second place to the “stuff you get?”
Do gimmick races, get "gimmicky" and they have to keep feeding the "bag" to survive?
Are massive “goodie bags” a good way to get new people into the running world? Or has it become an industry of carnival hawkers, yelling at the top of their lungs, battling for your "quarter."
Are we “feeding the beast?” Demanding more and more out of the race organizers?
Where do you fall in this debate? Dose the goodie bag matter more than the event. Are you there for the t-shirt or the race itself? Have things gotten a little “goofy” with all the schwag offers, or is it a good thing?
Leave your thoughts below. Best comment gets a t-shirt!