He's born to run--I'm born to shop
September 22, 2009 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Help me come up with a gift for a marathon runner!

A good friend/coworker will be running in the Chicago Marathon next month. I'd like to get him a small "Good Luck--Go Get 'Em!" gift or two that I could give him the day before the race--perhaps something that I could hide in his desk or around our office that he would find. He's already completed this marathon once, so it's not really a matter of bolstering his confidence--but I still think it's a huge deal for him to be doing this and want to wish him good luck!

He's running for a charity, so he already has one of their Tshirts to wear on race day, and I'm pretty sure he already has plans to get a massage after the race. Any other ideas out there? Not really looking for anything super inspirational--maybe more on the humorous side--but any ideas are welcome. Thanks in advance!
posted by bookmammal to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A gift card to a restaurant where he can carb-load the night before? A gift card to his favorite sporting goods store so he can stock up on any last-minute running things?
posted by cooker girl at 7:18 PM on September 22, 2009

A backpack containing a fifth of Scotch, a jar of kim chee, a can of brisling sardines and a good cigar.
posted by jet_silver at 7:23 PM on September 22, 2009

A stick of this stuff accompanied by a card that says "May the only thing blistering on Oct. 11 be your pace."

(seriously, it's very useful and necessary stuff for distance runners. Available at any running store.)
posted by dr. boludo at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2009

Dr. Boludo has a good idea! Another one might be a bottle of ibuprofen. Or a handful of on-the-go energy things like gels, or, way better in my small opinion, these or these. Also available at any running store.
posted by kestrel251 at 7:56 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The problem with any foods or running-related things is that any serious athlete will already have their own, known, preferred items. It's kind of a personal ritual for most folks.

I'd stick with a gift card to a sports store or a really good fifth of Scotch and some carbs to enjoy after the race (carb loading is kind of bunk, too!). My treat after a race is always the carbs I've been limiting to that point - I truly start dreaming about them about halfway through any competitive run.
posted by kcm at 8:09 PM on September 22, 2009

A gift certificate for a massage or visit to the chiropractor would certainly help heal the body after such punishment.
posted by inturnaround at 8:20 PM on September 22, 2009

I asked a marathoner friend the question and he said that he would be thrilled to get anything including energy gels and stuff he may already have planned for because he can use it some other day but more importantly it is the thought that counts and that he will know that others are thinking about him and rooting for him. It would bring a smile to his face. He also said that and itunes gift card for him to add music to his ipod for when he is running would be a good alternative to some of the other suggestions.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:35 PM on September 22, 2009

If you can (subtly?) find out what energy gel/goo/food thing he's trained with, get him that one so he can use it during the race! (For some people using a product they haven't trained with and aren't used to can cause stomach issues)

Or, a very nice pair of running socks.

The itunes gift card idea is great!
posted by sarahj at 8:49 PM on September 22, 2009

You could get him 26 little things. I know some people who have gotten motivated by either picking people or having people sponsor each mile. So on mile 18, he could say, "Okay, this is bookmammal's mile!" and it helps break through.

He wouldn't be able to take 26 gels with him, of course, but if you put a basket together with a little 26-link paper chain with inspiring messages, or something else signifying each mile, he might be able to think of those as welcome distractions. Anything to help him break through that wall!
posted by Madamina at 8:57 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Have a medal made up with the charity of his choice engraved on it. You could even have your name engraved on the other side with the date. Or something else that you could come up with. Maybe a goofy saying you know he has said a few times. He/she may even take it along with them on the run. Also being at the finish line waiting for him/her is always a nice touch. After something such as a marathon, its always great seeing a familiar face (or faces) to welcome and congratulate you.

I agree with sarahj about some people being fussy about what they eat/drink on events such as marathons. I wouldn't surprise them with something you don't really know they might use.
posted by Taurid at 9:56 PM on September 22, 2009

Maybe a link to this: http://www.elitefeet.com/men-dont-forget-you-have-nipples
and some Body Glide.

Maybe make reference to The Office episode where Andy chafes (if your friend is a fan).
Kinda horrible and funny at the same time.
It's definitely a real problem though. I saw it, in person, for the first time at the Chicago Half two weeks ago. I always thought it was an exaggeration, but it's so unfortunately a reality.
posted by simplethings at 10:17 PM on September 22, 2009

An offer of an ice bath afterwards.

A little flashing light armband for when he trains at night (stops cyclists & other critters from running into you from behind) ..perhaps not immediately relevant to the race, but maybe useful for subsequent training.

Custom drink bottles with his name on them?

+1 for Madamina's suggestion of sponsoring each mile.
posted by flutable at 3:28 AM on September 23, 2009

Well, Bookmammal, there are some great novels with running as the main theme. Murakami and Parker are two of my favorites.
posted by thijsk at 4:17 AM on September 23, 2009

My teammate who couldn't come to our event on race day got us silicone bracelets (like the yellow Livestrong ones) that had various words (spirit, courage, etc.) inscribed on them. It's small and not uncomfortable to wear on raceday and a nice reminder that someone out there is thinking of you. I have no idea where to get such a thing or whether you can buy them not-in-bulk though...
posted by oreonax at 8:48 AM on September 23, 2009

I love to get a pedicure post-race, once my feet have calmed down a bit. Every bit as essential as a massage, if not more!
posted by poissonrouge at 9:16 AM on September 23, 2009

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