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The 5 Golden Rules of a Successful Charity Run T-Shirt


January 20, 2020

One of our favorite things about charity runs is the creativity that goes into the t-shirt you receive at the end. Well, what we meant to say was, “the creativity that should go into the t-shirt you get as a race participant.” More often than not, these t-shirts miss the mark. Don’t get us wrong; some of these shirts are awesome and very well thought out. But others can definitely use a little help.

And that’s where we come in!

We deal with a lot of charity runs, 5k runs/walks, and even half and full marathon organizers, so we went back and looked at what separated the good shirts from the great shirts, and wrote down all the basics! Here are the must-have details that’ll keep your charity run t-shirts from ending up like these.

Don’t Forget the Name!

Shamrock Shuffle Shirt Name

This one’s a no-brainer, right? Every city hosts runs that everyone (well, everyone that runs) participates in; fun runs, charity runs, and even more rigorous invite-only runs that are generally reserved for pros only. Each one of these situations is a potential conversation starter amongst runners before and after the race. So it’s important that when designing a race t-shirt, you prominently position the name of the race so it’s easy to see, read, and identify! Think of how many friendships you’ll help start!

Include the Race Length.

Chicago 10 K Run

People spend weeks or even months training and preparing for a race. Aside from featuring the run’s name, don’t forget about its distance. Whether it’s a 5k fun run or the New York Marathon, the person participating in it spent a heck of a lot of time prepping for it. Even if a race doesn’t hand out medals, it’s a badge of honor for a runner to wear a shirt they earned with blood, sweat, and tears.


A Fun Design is Essential.

Fun Design Charity Run T-Shirts

So many race organizers miss the mark on design. We’re sure it’s never intentional, but it’s definitely safe to say some people just don’t have the eye for it. Charity races don’t often have a huge budget, but what they do have is a great story.

There’s bound to be an individual in your community, organization, or group of friends that is inspired by your story and can help pull together an amazing design. And if you need some inspiration, check out our awesome design studio, where you’ll find over 50,000 unique pieces of clipart, over 100 customizable fonts, and 60 awesome ink colors. A fun design will result in a t-shirt that people will want to wear, and one that won’t ever find its way to the bottom of the drawer.

Commemorative Dates/Cities.

Tough Mudder Shirts for Every City

Is there a Hot Chocolate 5/15k in your city? ATough Mudder 5k? Or how about a leg of The Great American Bacon Race? These are just a couple examples of many races that have received national attention and attendance over the last few years, and there’s definitely something to be said about being a part of something big, and a commemorative race t-shirt can exemplify that sentiment.

This is also a great marketing tool for when a person wears the shirt and someone in one of those other cities sees it and is inspired to investigate and sign up. It’s kind of like wearing a shirt with your favorite band’s tour dates. It connects you to people all across the United States and beyond!

Besides cities, make sure you also add in the date of the race! It adds a layer of nostalgia for participants. Not to mention, it’s the start of a collection that people may be encouraged to add to, year after year.

Sponsors and Organization Logos

Race Participants with Sponsor Shirts

You definitely want to give t-shirt “real estate” to the organization behind the race, but it’s almost even more important to give sponsors their rightly earned spots at the table. If you promised them room on certain promotional items, it’s unacceptable to go to print without including them. So while it may not add anything visually stunning to your t-shirt, be sure to include them!

What races have you been in that had the most memorable t-shirts? Are there any elements we’re missing? Share in the comments so that race directors far and wide can design awesome t-shirts that people will keep until they fall apart in the laundry machine!



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