Trophies or Race Medals

Oh, that elusive Top Finisher Prize.

How I would love to get one personally, but I run slow.

Anywayyyyyyy….What should you give the top runners for finishing ahead of everyone else?  It depends on your budget but typical race “Top 3” get some sort of prize.


Some suggestions:  Trophies, Medals, Plaques, Beer Steins, Belt Buckles

Go to a local trophy shop and see what they recommend.  Our races started off with race medals from a local shop but then we went online to an Etsy store and had custom wooden ornaments made in the shape of Texas.


Just make sure the race name, date, race category, and placement are all on the award.


Race Categories:  You can do it by age (every 5-10 years), top Female/Male, Under 18, Under 10, Clydesdale (usually for triathlons).

How many in each category:  It depends on how big your race is.  If your race is 100 people, the Top 3 will be fine, but if there are 500+, you might want to consider doing the top 5 (or more).


Keep in mind that you may not have every category filled by race day, but you might get last minute registrations where you need to have all of the awards ready.


Be sure to get the awards in your hands within 2 weeks of race day.  Never tell them you don’t need them until X date in case something goes wrong.  If they lose them, mess them up, they get lost in shipment, one of them breaks, etc, you will have plenty of time to replace it.

Water at the Finish Line

Water is crucial to any exercise program, and especially so at racing events where a lot of times the participants signed up (sometimes) more to help raise money for the organization rather than to run the actual race.  (Sometimes) the participants aren’t always in ‘racing shape’ so they are in need of constant hydration.  Even if they are used to running, it’s a necessity to provide water at the finish line due to other factors like weather and temperature.

You can provide individual water bottles (see if you can get them donated before purchasing) or purchase (borrow) big 10 gallon jugs and fill them with ice water and provide cups to drink.  If you purchase the gallon jugs you can reuse them year after year or at other fundraising events in the future.  Using the gallon jugs creates less waste than individual water bottles.

Setting Fundraising Goals

How do you determine how much you want to raise from your event?  It is best to start off with a number in mind and work really hard to get there.  Having a goal in mind is the best route versus just saying “However much we can raise.”  Of course, you are always going to strive for more than your goal, but don’t make the goal too outrageous to where you and your team feel bad for not meeting that goal.

Depending on how large your organization is and how large your marketing campaign is, should determine your goal.  Set a goal that you will have to stretch for, but not one that you can’t meet.


There are so many factors in setting your goal; I can’t give you a 100% proven formula but here are some things to consider when setting a goal:

  • How big is your operating budget deficit (i.e. $100,000 OB but still need $10,000)
  • How big is your network to pull runners from?
  • How big are your social media channels? How many followers do you have?
  • How big is the city you live in? If you need 2,000 runners to meet your goal but if your entire town only has 2,000 people, that might be a stretch!
  • How different is your race location route? Are you having it in a location that has been done before many times or is it a hard to book location that people would travel for?   (For instance, would you rather do a 5K on the Indy 500 track or a local park in your neighborhood?)
  • How many other events are you hosting that might get in the way of this fundraising via sponsors? Sometimes people/businesses get sponsored out!
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