The latest on milestone t-shirts

By Russ Jefferys, Global Head of Communications
— Thursday 16 August 2018

Please note - this update does not apply to parkrun South Africa

Tomorrow we start taking delivery of the latest shipment of just under 26,000 milestone t-shirts as we continue to address the historical backlog of parkrunners who have joined the various milestone clubs and are still waiting for their t-shirts.

This latest delivery includes white junior 10 t-shirts, and we will start by inviting those who qualified longest ago to claim their t-shirt before working towards those who qualified most recently.

The stock arriving is in several shipments that are due to be with us over the next couple of weeks. We hope to have the majority of it out to parkrunners by the first week in September.

Since we brought milestone t-shirt provision in-house and launched the new t-shirts five months ago, over 100,000 historic claims have been activated, with around 50,000 either dispatched or pre-ordered. This latest delivery will fulfil a huge number of those on pre-order but unfortunately it won’t cover all pre orders.

So this week we have placed another order for 40,000 t-shirts, due in December, which we predict will meet demand for everything pre-ordered before then, and will provide a decent amount of stock into the new year. However, the unpredictable nature of predicting who will qualify over the next few months means that we can never absolutely guarantee we have ordered correctly. The great news is though that we are now able to react to any shortages very quickly, so whilst we would love to eliminate all wait times, where they do still exist, they are now relatively short.

Our friends at Pro:Direct have emailed everyone affected with an update to confirm whether they should expect their pre-order by early September or December.

Since we went live with the new system with Pro:Direct in April we have enabled all historic claims, and with the benefit of pre-order (where, if your size is out of stock you are able to place the order anyway so you don’t lose your place in the queue), we have successfully got through the backlog.

We are now essentially right up to date, with emails going out weekly to those who qualified for a milestone the previous weekend. Currently that stands at about 1,900 parkrunners every week who are able to claim their free milestone t-shirt.

It’s the most advanced position we’ve ever been in, with a much clearer idea now of how likely it is that someone will claim their milestone t-shirt. (It might surprise you to know that it isn’t 100%!)

But it isn’t perfect - yet.

We know there have been some issues. Some software changes have led to some temporary technical problems, meaning that the automatic information transfer between parkrun and Pro:Direct has been unreliable causing frustrations. We are aware that some people have been unable to claim their t-shirt, that some people have had to wait a while before receiving confirmation of their order, and that others have struggled to get a response from customer service.

We are aware of all of the issues and are working together with Pro:Direct to resolve everything as quickly as possible.

As sophisticated as the new system is, there will always be blind spots that make forecasting with 100% accuracy impossible. It simply isn’t possible for us to predict exactly who and how many times anyone will walk/jog/run or volunteer over the next year, and so there is always an element of ‘guesswork’ in our process. And as these t-shirts are free to the participant (but cost parkrun) our limited resources unfortunately don’t allow us to stockpile large quantities.

To put it in to context, we provide milestone t-shirts across six categories (junior 10, volunteer 25, and walk/jog/run 50, 100, 250 and 500). Adding in an appropriate size range for each milestone means we are managing 82 different t-shirts (or SKUs), with 1,900 new people qualifying every single week.

When the next batch arrives in December, we will have taken delivery of about 100,000 milestone t-shirts this year alone. It’s a mammoth undertaking, not without its difficulties and challenges and it isn’t yet a perfect system. For everyone who has experienced frustration or disappointment in trying to claim a milestone t-shirt we apologise. We are passionate about recognising participation through milestone t-shirts and we are committed to providing a service that is quick, easy and hassle-free.

Common questions:

Are these milestone t-shirts the same size as previous milestone t-shirts?

We’ve listened to feedback that previous milestone t-shirts came up short and had a tendency to ride up. Our new t-shirts are therefore longer in length for a more comfortable fit. Additionally, we had universal feedback that women’s milestone t-shirts were a larger fit. We have amended the design based on this feedback and they are now a better fit.

A size guide is available on the product page.

Can I buy a (replacement) milestone t-shirt?

Not at the moment. We would love to be able to offer this in the future but right now we can only provide one milestone t-shirt for each eligible parkrunner.

My t-shirt looks like it costs £25?

In order for each milestone t-shirt to exist on Pro:Direct’s stock system and website everything has to have a retail price. We’ve made sure that, despite £25 being displayed as the retail price for milestone t-shirts, by the time you come to checkout, the product is discounted 100%, with only postage payable.

Are milestone t-shirts sustainable?

Absolutely. Milestone t-shirts are a critical part of parkrun: rewarding participation over performance. The parkrun community’s continued support of Apricot is directly linked to our continued supply of milestone t-shirts - every purchase contributes directly to the future of free milestone t-shirts.

Where/When can I buy an Apricot t-shirt?

We are currently working on a new range, and hope to have a UK Apricot t-shirt available in Autumn. Further items, including global products will follow, hopefully by the end of the year.

Can I claim a running milestone (e.g. 50 or 100) and my volunteer milestone (v25) in the same order and save on postage?

We haven’t been able to find an appropriate solution for multiple claims. At this time each claim should be made on a different order.

Can I bundle all the claims for my family on one order and save on postage?

As above, we haven’t been able to find an appropriate solution for multiple claims. At this time each claim should be made on a different order.

What are the delivery charges?

Standard postage for each of our territories is currently as follows (please bear in mind this is subject to variations in exchange rates and outside our control):

UK - £3.95
Australia - £9.95
Canada - £9.95
Denmark - £9.50
Finland - £9.95
France - £5.70
Germany - £4.70
Ireland - £6.95
Italy - £5.70
New Zealand - £9.95
Norway - £9.95
Poland - £4.70
Russia - £11.95
Singapore - £11.95
Sweden - £9.95
US - £9.95

Will you be introducing new volunteer milestones?

No. We really do value all parkrunners equally (whether you choose to volunteer, walk, jog, or run). But with near exponential growth and dramatically escalating costs, we have to set realistic expectations about how many free milestone t-shirts we can commit to. We will continue to offer the purple volunteer milestone after 25 volunteering instances.

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