Parenting

What's the best giveaway you've won?

Online fitness gear giveaways have increased in popularity and Jennifer wants to know: What was your biggest contest haul?

Running blog giveaways are offering bigger prizes to engage readers, including trips and race entries.

Last week, Todaysparent.com Managing Editor Nadine Silverthorne forwarded me an email that made me squeal like a little girl — an all expenses paid trip to the New York City Marathon is up for grabs in a Timex-sponsored Facebook contest.

Embarrassingly, we both read the email wrong, thinking it was Timex giving me a free entry to the NYC Marathon — yeah, I was a little let down once I read the fine print. But the contest made me think about how much blogging has changed since I created my first account eight years ago. Giveaways were unheard of, let alone an all expenses paid trip. Now, running bloggers everywhere seem to be hosting giveaways — there are thousands of running and fitness gear contests at any given time. Shoes, toe socks, gels, clothes, headbands, underpants — you can find a contest for any piece of running gear you can think of.

 
But why are they so popular? For the answer, I turned to Angie Bee Hotz, barefoot runner, blogger and happily married stay-at-home mom to four boys. Angie won her first running gear contest two years ago and loved the product so much (nuun hydration, also my go-to hydration), that she contacted the company to ask about hosting her own review and giveaway. Since then, her reputation as a fair and honest product tester allowed her the opportunity to test and give away high-end rain gear, jewellery, nutritional supplements and, of course, running shoes. She’s also noticed the popularity of running gear giveaways. In her opinion, marketers realize the influence bloggers have in their communities and the increased sales that positive product reviews can bring (reviews and giveaways usually go hand in hand). She also notes that runners are cautious with their money — taking the time to read several reviews before shelling out cash for shoes or clothing — so having a chance to win gear is even more reason to follow their favourite bloggers.

Personally, I read several reviews about my Pace Gloves before buying them because, as a runner, I find switching shoes to be an expensive and risky move. For example, I have two pairs of shoes I bought on impulse because they were on sale — and both hurt my feet terribly. With buyer’s remorse, I checked shoe reviews after the fact and indeed, these two particular styles got poor reviews.

 
But back to giveaways: I’ve only ever won one giveaway (for nuun as well!) and getting free stuff in the mail was awesome. I don’t enter many contests, mostly because there are so many hoops to jump through to enter them and if I see a contest that already has 538 entries, I never think my odds are good enough to win. However, I might just take my chances to see if I can win a trip to New York.
 
What’s the best blogging giveaway you’ve won?