Hopefully, some of you are still with me through this series of articles. If you read the previous articles and think none of this applies to me, I am one of the 99%. Not my article but anyone who does not recognize the importance of 99% of the people that show up at each event is missing something big. The 99% are the reason; the race even occurs because they make it profitable for the company. Here are some lessons you can take away from this series of articles if you are part of the 99%.
First, sponsorship is about representation. So you are not representing a company that is giving you free stuff, no big deal. Create your own team or join an existing one (Crazy Mudder Muckers, Strength & Speed, OCR Wrongens, New England Spahtens, Weeple Army, etc.) and represent something bigger than yourself. If you are generous, represent a charity. Both of these creates a sense of community and may be able to help you push harder not only in training but also on race day. This sense of community helps create that sense of prestige/validation I talked about in the last article (Reason 1 for getting sponsored). If you still want that pride in representing a company that you believe in, many race companies have “field teams”. Field teams are essentially similar to sponsorship but typically with a few fewer benefits and is similar to working on commission.
Secondly, you do not need a sponsor to create your own external pressure. If you have a goal, post it on social media and tell some of your co-workers about it. “I am running World’s Toughest Mudder this year, and I am going to stay on the course all 24 hours” or “I am going to earn my Trifecta this year.” The bottom line is you do not need a sponsor to leverage that external pressure to perform (Reason 2 for getting sponsored).
Thirdly, find your own “sponsor”. “Hey grandpa/dad/aunt/cousin, for my Christmas present I want you to sponsor me for Conquer the Gauntlet Kansas City.” You pay for my entry as a present, and in return, I will send you race results and pictures the weekend of the event. Maybe even offer to wear a shirt of their choosing (although be careful with that option, you may end up wearing a size XS Under Armour Wonder Woman compression shirt) or if they own a local business put that logo on your shirt. “No big deal, just sponsored by Seattle Sperm Bank….they have been helping me with my training.” Maybe it is just wearing a Team Perperis jersey on the day of the race to make your kids proud. In all cases, you have offset the cost of your race (Reason 3 for getting sponsored from the last article) so you can feed that OCR addiction.
Finally, you may realize quickly that you have the best of both worlds. The above techniques can give you the benefits of sponsorship without the work. Remember if you are going to be productive for your sponsor, then sponsorship is still a form of work. So while most people just upload your post-race pictures to Facebook and call it a weekend, many athletes need to write up a post-race report to highlight their accomplishments for the weekend and maintain an active social media account to show continuous benefit to their sponsors.
Miss part of the series on Sponsorships? Read the Entire Series here:
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