Everyone loves the swag they get at the pre-race check-in. It’s technically not free because it’s covered by your entry fee, but that doesn’t matter because if you’re like me you’ll take your money’s worth. Here’s the problem: not every Ironman event is equal.
By that I mean they all do not meet the same level when it comes to the swag you get; it’s independently set up. When I did Ironman 70.3 New Orleans this year, I thought, “Man…This new ownership is really trying to maximize their profits here because this swag sucks.” It’s true, the swag did suck compared to many of the other races I did. However, I came to learn it wasn’t the fault of the new ownership for the shitty swag (and how little we got too), it was the people putting on the race. I raced Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga again this year…and the swag was actually better than the year before.
You shouldn’t expect the same level of awesomeness in swag from each race you go to. It could be better or it could be worse, but no one would blame you if you grabbed a few extra Red Bulls or Cliff Bars while you were in the Athlete Village.