An Ode to the Race Shirt

Contributed by Jason Hakes, a 2016 Ambassador for The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.

Race ShirtsOn most weekends, my social media outlets get flooded with smiling runners showing off their newly awarded finisher’s medals. I love seeing so many people proudly displaying their symbols of hard work and determination. I also love when runners kick it up a notch and show a huge collection of medals around their necks at once – it’s the runner’s ultimate display of a string of hard work over time. Whether it has taken a year or a lifetime to gain them all, that pile of medals is a symbol of inspiration. You have got to love the excitement and pride people have for their medals, but I have one simple question:

What about the race shirt??

Race shirts seem to have been given second billing over the ever-popular “bling” you get at the end of a race. I get it – medals are cool. Someone drapes one over your neck when you come across that finish line and it is a thing to be savored. But don’t forget to savor that race shirt – you earned that too!

While I love my finisher’s medals, I feel the need to write an ode to the race shirt to ensure they get proper billing alongside their molded metal counterparts.

So here are my top reasons why people should embrace the love for the race shirt:

  1. Hey, clean shirt! – Whether you received your race shirt at the expo or at the end of the race, someone just handed you a clean shirt! That means you can hold off on laundry day for at least one more shirt’s worth. I like to put on my new shirt right after I finish the race. It’s usually when I need a clean shirt the most.
  2. You will wear it again – I admit, after a race, I will wear my finisher’s medal for as long as I like. It’s not uncommon to see me driving down the highway wearing my medal all the way home after a race.  I might even wear it around the house a bit. But once the time comes, I hang the medal up on my wall and that is the end of its life around my neck. On the flip side, as already mentioned, I’ll wear my race shirt after the race and for most of the rest of the day.
  3. You’ll wear it running – It comes at no surprise that it’s much easier to wear your race shirt on your next run than it is to wear your medal. Imagine that medal jingling and jangling down the road as you move your arms and legs – awkward! A race shirt is a much smoother (and enjoyable) running accessory. You’ll enjoy wearing that running shirt on your next run that I bet you will wash it and wear it again… and again…and again.
  4. You’ll look awesome in it – It’s true, you’ll look pretty awesome wearing that running medal around your neck, but you’ll look pretty darn awesome tearing down the road in that slick-looking running shirt as well. People might even stop and say: “look at that awesome runner in that awesome shirt!… Where did they get such a shirt so awesome?” You might even run by someone else wearing the same shirt. The two of you will have something in common… and that’s awesome.
  5. Someone worked really hard on the design – As cool as a medal looks (and I can’t discount the effort someone puts in to create such an amazing thing), someone also worked really hard on that shirt design. Go ahead, take a look at your last race shirt and appreciate the creative genius in it. You’ll be getting a shirt with a great design at this year’s San Francisco Marathon so get ready to appreciate the hard work put into it.
  6. It’s a symbol of motivation – If you are like me, I love remembering race day and my race shirt is a quick reminder of how the day went. Sometimes I’ll put on a race shirt and will remember how hard I worked to get to the starting line – it might even motivate me to sign up for another race.

So, there you have it, just a handful of simple reasons why the race shirt deserves our love and attention. While you should get excited about that beautiful medal waiting for you at the end of whichever race you’ll be running at this year’s San Francisco Marathon, don’t forget there’s a beautiful race shirt that would should feel equally proud of. Go ahead and wear them both together with pride. Even better, take a picture of yourself with that medal AND shirt – savor the moment because you earned them both!

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