The Wilmington Marathon isn’t, say, runDisney or Marine Corps Marathon big, with fancy sponsors and thousands of participants. But it’s gotten big enough to have its expo in a convention hall, which is where I found myself for bib pickup the day before the race.
There was all the usual stuff – official race merch, running store and athletic store booths, local businesses – and one thing more: discounted old race gear.
Not for the current race, of course, but the organization puts on multiple events per year and was selling some leftover stuff from races past for, I kid you not, $5 each. T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, socks, all $5. I walked out with a $5 Battleship Half Marathon sweatshirt and it was amazing.
I don’t see this kind of thing at every race, but I have seen it before – I once got a Parks Half Marathon pint glass for $2, which was technically for the year before I ran but who’s gonna check? And I picked up a discounted Navy-Air Force Half Marathon sweatshirt the year I ran that race (RIP). They said it was from the year before but there was no identifying number on the logo so who cares?
That got me to thinking – I know runDisney merchandise that doesn’t sell does eventually find its way to other gift shops and Disney outlets. But what if runDisney sold old merch directly in the expo? The percentage of runDisney people trolling the outlets is probably fairly small, whereas the people at the runDisney expo are exactly the right audience. Heck, half of ’em probably ran last year’s race anyway. Why not offer the leftovers there?
I know what you’re thinking: Disney would NEVER let their prized track jackets and outdated glassware go for $5! They wouldn’t have to; I’m confident even a 20% discount would be enough to pique runners’ interest. Although I certainly wouldn’t complain if the discounts were steeper – maybe for every year that passes, the percentage off could go up? So like last year’s marathon jacket would be 20% off but you could have a 2017 jacket for half price (if it ever even got that far).
All I’m saying is that runDisney is sleeping on a sweet opportunity here. I doubt it would have any impact on the sales rates for the current year’s merch, so they’re essentially leaving money on the table. Which is not very runDisney like….
P.S. This plan would of course require runDisney finally dealing with eBay hoarders and officially putting limits on how much you can buy at a time. Or in other words: win-win!