Americans love to run. Though it may have taken a few centuries for running to become a commonplace pastime it’s now as popular as can be. Millions of Americans incorporate running into their regular routine. In 2002 alone, nearly 10.5 million Americans ran 100 days or more.
This increase of interest has brought the fascinating evolution of running communities and events. For every running event—from the most lighthearted of 5ks to the most hardcore Spartan Beasts—there is one thing they all have in common: the t-shirt.
It’s common to see groups don matching t-shirts to marathons. Families love to coordinate with each other, volunteers working the events need to match and some people push forward to a finish line just so they can get a finishers t-shirt. Though these items may be light in fabric weight, they are loaded with priceless memories and irreplaceable pride (epic bragging rights!).
The running community, and the wide variety of events it offers, is a perfect market to target with t-shirt sales.
According to Running USA’s Marathon Report there were a total of 86 marathons with 507, 600 marathon finishers in the United States in 2016.
Shorter distance races see even more participants…a lot more. In 2015 alone, 1.9 million people finished a half-marathon in the United States and 7.6 million completed a 5k! Marathons and their shorter-length companions are often seen as an excuse to have a whole lot of fun while often supporting great causes. From the Color Run, to the Zombie Run and even the half-marathons held at Disney theme parks, participants are often looking to commemorate the memories.
And then there are triathlons! Started back in 1982, USA Triathlon originally had 1,500 members. Today, this popular sport has grown to more than 170,000 annual memberships! In addition to triathlons there is a whole market of “multisport” activities such as duathlons, aquathlons, winter triathlons, off-road triathlons and on and on!
There has also been impressive growth seen in the world of Ragnar Relay and Ragnar Trail races. These long distance, team-focused relays occur over two days and one night and occur across the globe.
There are also some athletes who want to go beyond the streets of the average marathon and who opt for “extreme” races and athletic events. One of the more popular extreme event brands out there is the Spartan Race, which holds a range of events across the United States. Spartan Races offers obstacle courses and endurance events that put participants in such situations as crawling under barbed wire, climbing over large netted structures and carrying massive orbs of cement. Let’s just say, it’s not for those of us who might feel intimidated by a gentle yoga class.
For the over 10 million Americans who run at least 100 days every year, there are unique events to fit every fitness level and every interest. Each and every event has at least one t-shirt that participants are excited to earn and wear again after the event. From ultra-soft cotton blends to moisture-wicking performance fabrics, there is always a t-shirt to help runners get to the finish line. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile in capturing these exciting audiences!