Runners always have a short (OK, very, very long) list of must-haves, run in packs and are generous to a fault.
A perfect combination, if I say so myself, for a running-gear swap to get rid of — and acquire — gently used items with little effort and almost no cost.
1. Find a location. Our local library has rooms you can reserve as long as you’re a member. Some community centers do the same. You or a friend can also host the event, or find a local running store or bar to host you. Just make sure there are a couple of tables you can use to spread out all of the goodies.
2. Send out invites. I belong to Black Girls RUN! Lansing chapter and just this weekend hosted a gear swap with my friend Brandess. In our case, we invited all of the members, and about 15 people participated in the event.
3. Set clear guidelines. Will you accept just clothes? What about shoes or GPS watches/heart-rate monitors? Be clear about your parameters so participants know what to expect. In our case, we didn’t require participants to contribute anything but we asked that all donations be pre-washed and very gently used.
4. Decide whether you’ll provide food. I’m just kidding. Of course there will be food; you’re inviting runners. It’s OK to hold the event potluck style or to order pizza if your location allows it.
5. Organize the clothes and gear. We sorted all of the clothes by size as our guests arrived, then placed them neatly folded on a table. Did the same with the shoes, then had a separate area for monitors, fuel packets and other items.
6. Choose how you’ll take turns and how many items each person can pick. Guests at the events I’ve attended picked numbers out of a hat to determine the order of choosing. Each person got to go up and pick their favorite item, going round-robin two or three times. After that, we opened it up for everyone to just grab whatever they wanted.
7. Bring some plastic bags. Your friends will thank you as they walk out with their new-to-them finds.
8. Decide what you’ll do with the left-overs. In our case, someone volunteered to donate the extra clothes and shoes to a local charity.
As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my friends, seeing their faces light up as they found things they truly will use and, yes, finding a few items myself. It’s definitely something we plan to continue to do in years to come.
Have you ever participated in a gear swap? What did you donate? What was your favorite find?