How I got sponsored to run a marathon with Fiverr

Running is the new golf.

That’s what they say today.

I was at Cannes Lions and I was fascinated by how many C-level executives were running on the beach at 6am. The networking moved from late-night ultra parties to early morning jogging – or to Soul Cycle sessions on the main terrace.

Marathons are no different. A great networking topic. Next time you are in an elevator with a potential client or investor, don’t waste time pitching your new brilliant idea. Just ask her for her record pace or what maltodextrin gel she recommends. A great ice breaker. You’ll become best friends by the time the sliding doors open.

However, having the chance to network with CMOs in their lycra pants on the beach was not the only reason why I had been training for one whole year to run a 42 km marathon.
Especially when you are studying in Sweden and the cold, rainy – and sometimes even snowy – weather conditions don’t offer the ideal setting for you to go out and enjoy the nature.

I had always wanted to run a marathon, but as a university student I didn’t have a big fat wallet and the Scandinavian lifestyle was already demanding.

However, I just had to do it. I opted for the Copenhagen marathon, a hard track, not too far away from where I live, in the most expensive city of a very expensive country.
An occasion not to be missed, at all costs.

Speaking of costs, how to afford it?

Sponsorships. That’s what athletes get to deliver their performance. Except I was not an athlete, nor an influencer.
There was no chance I could persuade global brands to expose themselves and support me, an average Joe with a low pace/km.
I didn’t even had time to invest in cold calling / emailing brands asking for their support in order just to run a marathon.

How to get leads in an automated way with no budget?

Fiverr. I logged a Fiverr gig, I divided my running jersey in slots and sold each for $5.
I was impressed by the impact of this freelance marketplace. Yes, the same Fiverr that’s usually considered to be the directory of cheap design work.

Requests shortly started to come in. It took a week before my gig became trending in the Marketing & Advertising section.

Very soon I ran out of slots. Some brands even bought more slots at once to have a larger logo on my marathon clothes. In a few months, the marathon budget had been covered without any investment.

Not a big deal, just a jersey for a marathon. However, tangible proof that even the simplest creativity has the power to resonates.

Small brands do not have the budget arrogance to scream loudly with big ad investments. Every initiative that is slightly different from the mainstream will gather people’s attention – and brands, too.

Creativity, and the power of audience-gathering marketplaces such as Fiverr.

Thanks to all the brave sponsors.