Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I like race shirts

Who likes race shirts? I like race shirts!

What runner doesn't love his or her race shirts? They are badges of honor, symbols of past achievements, and some of them just look damn cool! I've been to enough races over the years that I am starting to develop a fair collection.

At races you see many people wearing shirts from the races they have done. It is an opportunity to proudly display where you have raced, whether it was a local fun run or a prestigious marathon. Some wear these shirts to the race, but will change into their race garb just before the start. A number of races now give out shirts made of a light, technical fabric that wicks away moisture (much nicer to wear for running than cotton), making it easier to wear a race shirt during a race.

Unless the event hands out shirts following the race (you know, making you work for it!), you will also see some people wearing the shirt they just received for the race they are about to run. Unless there is a festive reason (i.e., wearing a St. Patrick's Day race shirt on St. Patrick's Day), I have never fully grasped this concept, as I would assume most folks show up to their races wearing clothing. Rock concerts have a sort of unwritten rule where is it considered uncool to wear a shirt featuring the band you are watching perform (for bad movie aficionados, this subject was discussed in the Jeremy Piven college comedy "P.C.U."); I think the same rule should apply to races. :)

While milling around before the Lumberjack Days race, I noticed a couple of people wearing shirts from races that I had also participated in. It really isn't that odd of a thing to see, considering we are all runners that are part of the same local running scene. But the two shirts I saw were from really small races with perhaps no more than 125-150 participants. What I am getting at is there can't be all that many 2007 White Bear Lake "Resolution Solution" New Years Day 5k t-shirts floating around out there. So, seeing another person wearing one of these same shirts that I have puts me in elite company. We are talking about a limited edition here!

I definitely have my favorites. A couple of them have fantastic cartoonish logos, like this year's Udder Run, or the 2005 Jan Horak Tofte Trek (which also included a misspelling of the word "Inaugural"). Others represent races that were important milestones or achievements for me, such as my first half marathon in 2005 at Des Moines, or the 2008 Fox Cities Marathon (which gave me a shirt just for showing up AND another for finishing). There are those I like to wear just because they are blindingly colorful, including my neon green 2007 Pike Island "Rundezvous" shirt, and a bright orange 2005 Paul Mausling Cross Country Run long-sleeved T (a special nod also goes to my shirt from the 2008 Superior Trail Race 25k which makes a blaze orange hunting jacket look dull by comparison). And one even has my picture on it; the 2006 Turkey Run shirt's logo was a negative image of the previous year's starting line, and I was able to find the silhouette of my stocking cap and face in the crowd!

And perhaps the best thing of all? You'll never need to go shopping for t-shirts again. :)

Until next time,

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