How to Find and Smoothly Incorporate Sponsors in Your Race

Sponsorships can be a great way for you to get financial help for your race while helping the sponsor build their brand awareness at your race event.  How do you find great sponsors for your race? This article will share some tips! 

It all starts with understanding your audience which in this case are your race participants. What are their interests? If you are organizing a trail running race, your participants are interested in having good trail running shoes for your event. Another question: What are your participants’ needs? Everyone will need to drink and eat something at a race event. Having someone who can sponsor those goods for you in exchange for brand visibility can be a win-win for both! 

Before we get into how to find and contact sponsors, let’s first think about what you can offer brands. 

What can you as a race organizer offer brands? 

Brand exposure! This is the short answer. To make it more concrete, let’s bring up three examples: brand visibility, sampling products and digital/social media presence. 

Brand visibility

Displaying the brand name and logo in the race event venue is great for brand visibility. Think big banners or screens at the event. In 2022, New Balance was the official footwear and apparel for the New York Marathon. The brand was seen all over the event so that the participants associated the event with New Balance. This brand visibility not only strengthens the sponsor’s identity but also reinforces the sponsor-race association, leaving a lasting impression on participants and attendees.

Samling Products 

The brand can showcase their products by offering free samples at your event. For example, energy-drink companies such as Vitamin Well sponsor races in Sweden such as Midnattsloppet. Brands can also display the product at the event. For example, Polestar at the Gothenburg Half Marathon. Product displays create visibility and curiosity for participants to learn more about the sponsor and its products during the event but also after the event. 

Digital/ Social Media Presence

If you are live streaming your event, you can display the sponsored brands logo there. And also on the events social media pages and website. 

Social media allows for interactive and shareable content like user-generated content featuring the sponsor’s products. The sponsor could set up a picture booth for when participants have completed the race. This will in turn continue creating the story of your race and grow brand awareness even after the event. This generates a buzz around the event and the sponsor’s involvement. 

How do you find the right sponsor for your event?

First of all, consider your needs. Do you need to offer your racers some hydration, food and energy? Then, it would be good to have an energy drink brand and a protein bar brand. You could also work with supermarkets who can offer bananas and fruit in exchange for brand visibility. 

How do you make the contact? 

First you need to find the right contact person inside the sponsor organization to start a conversation. You should be able to find their contact information or ask for it by contacting the brand. Tell them why you are interested in having their brand at your event and how it would be mutually beneficial for both. 

A Successful Sponsorship

It should ‘make sense’ to participants why you are working with a particular sponsor. For example, if you have a race that focuses on limiting their ecological footprint, such as EcoTrail in Stockholm, then it could be wise not to offer bottled water. Instead, they collaborated with Runner’s Store and gave participants the choice to either pick up their bib number the day before and get a foldable cup to use during the race, or bring their own cup. 

It is always wise to think long term. You are building the reputation of your race, and you want to make sure your participants have a positive association with the brand you are highlighting at your event. So make sure your values align before you sign a sponsor! 


In summary, finding and smoothly incorporating sponsors into your race requires careful consideration. Make sure your values align, and that the communication is clear. When executed thoughtfully, sponsorships can provide valuable financial support and enhance the race experience for participants while promoting the sponsor’s brand in an authentic and meaningful way!