By Joshua Snow Hansen
Aw, ’tis the season. And, it’s my favorite time of the year. It’s the time of the year where the focus is on friendships, family and the birth of the Savior. I won’t lie, sometimes shopping frustrates me, because what do you get that special person in your life? Because the gift should communicate the depth of your relationship with that person.
Sure, most of them you can simply give them a card and tin of popcorn and call it good. But, there are friends and family members that are beyond that (unless you’re my sister, then she’s extremely happy with popcorn) kind of gift. It really should mean something between the two of you.
But, I have a problem whenever I am asked what I want for Christmas or my birthday, because my answer is usually always … “running stuff.” I am not alone in this, I know. This response has been plaguing friends and family of runners ever since Philippides’ first birthday.
How do you shop for a runner?
What do you get a runner that is sentimental and practical?
How do you find them something that will be useful for their running?
All valid questions. That’s why I present you with my 2014 Runners Holiday Gift Guide. I am doing for … well, three reasons … 1) So my family knows what I want for Christmas, 2) To give non-runners ideas to get the runners in their lives and 3) To give runners ideas so when they’re asked what they want for Christmas they can avoid that ambiguous response of “running stuff.”
I hope you find some value from it, because I’ve spent sometime researching some cool stuff any runner would love. So without any further adieu, here’s my 2014 Runners Holiday Gift Guide …
Runners on the Go Membership
If you really don’t know what to get the runner in your life, a Runners on the Go membership is a great way to go. Not only does the membership offer discounts to running stores and races, but they offer them across the country. So it doesn’t matter what part of the country they live in or travel to, you can find great value in the membership card.
The membership card is also expanding it’s member-only benefits with future offerings in restaurant, lodging and transportation discounts. This is great for not just local runners, but traveling runners who either travel for races or for work. With the current offerings you can save up to $661.00 throughout the year.
But, the best part of this membership? It’s only $19.95 for the whole year. So, if you’re constantly buying running shoes throughout the year and the countless accessories, along with the numerous race fees, you could easily earn back that $19.95 with your first couple of purchases. Just take a look at what kind of discounts you can get with a membership. It’s pretty impressive.
So if you don’t know what you want to get that runner in your life and are afraid of buying them the wrong thing, buy them a membership that allows them the flexibility of getting what they want throughout the year, but at a discounted price. There’s no fears of returns or disappointments. What other running items can you buy with as much impact for under $20? (besides maybe NipGuards)
Check out the Runners on the Go website for more detail.
Runners Season Pass
One of the greatest gifts you can get a runner is a race entry. I know that for me it helps save A LOT of money, because the race entries add up fast, especially last year when I ran over 30 races. These can be expensive gifts when marathon and half marathon entries can range anywhere from $30 to $90+ depending on the time of the year you are registering.
That’s why as the runner I am always exact on what races I would like entries for with my family. I pick local race companies that I know have affordable race entries and races I want to run. One of my favorite race companies is Extra Mile Racing because they meet both criteria. Their race entries are affordable, their races are well organized and fun and they do a great job being attentive to the runners’ needs and wants.
While you can currently get race entries for some of their races like theWest Mountain Marathon, 13 Miles of Bacon, Saltair Half Marathon and Logan Marathon for under $40 there is another option that you can get for that runner in your life. A season pass.
Extra Mile Racing offers a season pass to ALL of their races (running, triathlon and cycling) for $500. That is about 20 events which averages out to be $25 per event. Not a bad deal at all. The catch though is they are only offering 25 of these season passes so you have to act fast.
But, what better gift to give that special runner in your life?
Running Warehouse Gift Card
One of my favorite places to spend money is the Running Warehouse. This is a great resource for runners, because you can get numerous items for fairly cheap prices. In fact this is where I buy most of my shoes because I can find really good deals for the brand of HokaOneOnes that I use.
This is a great gift for runners that don’t know quite what they want. The gift certificate gives flexibility in that regard, because you can literally find anything on the Running Warehouse website. Of course if you don’t want to go the route of a gift certificate to an online site, there are always local running stores that you can buy a gift certificate at for your runner. Here in Utah there are a number of great stores like the Wasatch Runner Center, Salt Lake Running Company, Run Gr8 Running Center, etc.
Whatever route you go you still leave the choice of items to the runner and what they want. It’s probably your safest bet for a gift and it’s hard to lose in that regard.
RACER Wall Art & Wall Frame
This is actually pretty cool. You can take any of your favorite race bibs and get them blown up onto a 24×36 high-grade cotton canvas for that special race or event that you want to memorialize on your wall or race wall. Personally, I don’t know if I would get each of my bibs blown up, but I think my first marathon and half marathon bibs would be something I would consider to be done.
Another product that RACER offers is a race bib wall frame that you can simply frame any race bib in. However you would want to display your accomplishments either one would be a great gift.
Oh, and while we’re at it, Racer does have t-shirts as well. Who doesn’t love a good t-shirt?
I actually really want one of these pace bands for Christmas. Especially since my focus for next year is to get that ever elusive sub-two half marathon goal time. But, this a great personalized gift you can get for any runner. Granted, you would need to know what goal pace time they would want, but that shouldn’t be too difficult to get from a runner. Odds, are that runner in your life already talks about that goal none stop … so you might already know?!
Either way, these are great because they are not a durable silicone band, but you can also get them for marathoners, half marathoners, 10Kers and even 5Kers. What an awesome gift and thing to have. Plus, they are all under $10 … even better! This would be a great stocking stuffer for your runner.
The RooSport magnetic pouch
I’ve seen these things at a lot of race expos and I never really stopped to listen to their pitch, because I was already set with my fanny pack. Now that I think about it, why did I stick with a fanny pack for so long? I mean, it’s a fanny pack?
These Roo Sport pouches are actually pretty cool, especially considering that they are strapless. They simply attach to your waistline via powerful magnets in the pouch. Personally, I might consider getting one of these because they are tactically better than my fanny pack and it’s a great place to store money on my person while I am running … soooooooooo … it’d be easier to get a Slurpee mid-race, right?
Oh, and did I mention that these cost under $25? A great, great, great deal.
GU Energy Gels
Fueling is a very personal and individual matter from runner to runner. No two runners fuel alike (for the most part). There are some runners that thrive and need GU Energy gels, while others can’t even stomach an ounce of it. Some people will fuel with fruit, candy or anything else. It’s just an individual thing and there’s no set way to do it right, except your way.
But, with that said, if you have a GU lover in your life this can be a great gift, stocking stuffer or both. Especially when you know their favorite flavors. Personally, I am a HUGE fan of the Chocolate Outrage, Espresso Love and Salted Caramel. Seriously, the Salted Caramel is one of the best GU Energy gels invented. It came out not more than a year ago and it has captured my heart.
If you plan on surprising your runner with GU Energy gels just make sure you know which ones they love. You can do this either by asking or by sneaking around seeing what’s in their running bag. Odds are though that Salted Caramel is in there, because seriously it’s that good. No joke.
Road ID Bracelet
This is a great practical gift for any runner. I have had one for the past three years when I started racing. It gives me that peace of mind that if anything happens to me while I am running that I am protected with vital information for my medical needs and contact information to my family.
The Road ID bracelets are simple silicone bracelets that also include a plate where you can put your name, contact information and any health issues or allergies if needed. A great item for any runner or road athlete, especially as a stocking stuffer.
Besides bracelets, Road ID also has a number of other small items that would make great gifts. I have one of their t-shirts which I love, because it’s super light and breathable. Pretty for summer running.
Who doesn’t love a good funny t-shirt? There are plenty of places you can find them. One great place is The Gifted Runner. I love their humor and the prices are fairly good. Not a bad idea if you are really stumped on what to get that runner in your life.
I don’t think this product needs much explaining. But, if you want to get your runner a great stocking stuffer that will keep on giving over and over again this is the thing to get them. This will help save any run or race. It saves lives, trust me. And, your runner will thank you in return.
Well, I hope this list gave you some ideas on what to get that runner in your life. And, on the other hand, I hope it gave those runners ideas on what to ask for, for Christmas. Either way, I know there are a number of other running gifts out there that I kept off this list. Seriously, I could have probably listed NUMEROUS others. So, if I forgot to list something you think is a great gift please share it in the comments below, because I’d love to hear your opinion.
Anyways, Merry Christmas and HAPPY SHOPPING!!!