Hand It Out Before Hoarders Catch You!

I have often given the subject of this piece some thought, but only with the latest addition to my treasure of trail running kit, the exciting Saucony Peregrine 5 (expect a review to follow!), have I really realised that too many can certainly be way too much.
If a non-running member of society were to open the part of my closet designated for running gear, they’d surely think it’s a scene from an episode of Hoarders. For if you don’t feel about this sport the way I do, you might just think it’s a bit of an overkill. Inside, your eyes will meet 9 pairs of trail shoes (in various stages of their “lives”), some 35 running shirts and baselayers, 5 Buffs, 5 peak caps, a few compression garments and only-4 running shorts!
Now, surely that’s not really necessary?
I’m sure it’s not, but see, I can explain some of them.

The shoes as I have mentioned are in different phases of wear, so some will soon be resigned to gardening duty. Many of the tees are race shirts given by event organisers and used by myself as training shirts. The other items, I deem to be of reasonable total to own.
I have thus thought of two ways to prevent that I feature on Hoarders.
Having an old pair of Salomons in the garage for gardening and DIY is quite handy, but better still is the fact that there are many runners out there who’d love to own that 9th pair (that’s already done 700km). Hence, I have passed on 2 pairs of shoes and a good few shirts to appreciative runners who would otherwise have had to make do without those items.
That’s something I can do! Something race organisers can do! By possibly come up with more original hand-outs to punt their race. Sure, a nice race shirt is fine, but if you already have 20? Personally, I love getting a Buff instead of a tee. Even a peak cap. How about a pair of arm warmers? It might be a bit more unconventional, but at least it breaks that tired old mould of giving out the same race shirt year after year, and not just changing two colours and the year on it? More unconventional would be to hand out packets of biltong or droëwors! Personally, I reckon that would offer me greater pleasure.
Or a stick of droëwors crossing the finish line instead of a R15 medal. But the tradition of handing out finishers medals is actually a completely separate issue for another occasion.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dismissing the fact that some people like getting race shirts. I just hope to see a bit of creativity going into what gets handed out ,to which supposedly adds value to an event.
Until that happens, I will at least always have something to give away to those who are financially less fortunate than me but otherwise as fortunate, as they also love running.

Willan van Zyl

About Willan van Zyl

After competing at provincial and national level in athletics, cross country and biathlon at school level, I lost my appetite for running long distances after completing my year in the army in 1993. That changed when I read an article in a newspaper in 2007. The subject of said article, The Cape Odyssey, 220km, 5-day stage race. In January 2008 I took up running again with the idea to be on the starting line of the 2008 Cape Odyssey. Those 5 days were hell on earth, but simultaneously a greater experience than I had ever anticipated! Since then I’ve been blessed to run many races and trails, to the point that this great sport is now an integral part of my being. That’s basically how the trail bug got me entangled in its web. My own definition of trail running – run where God intended you to run.

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