Friday, September 28, 2007

Proper Race T-Shirt Wearing Etiquette (according to Bad Ben)

The often-hilarious trail runner/blogger Bad Ben of the KC Trail Running Nerds has updated his awesome post of proper race t-shirt wearing etiquette. It's worth a read (or listen via podcast), and I found myself laughing out loud throughout the read.

(Some of Bad Ben's samples, courtesy of Bad Ben)

A sample of the 21 rules of race t-shirt wearing:
"2. Any race tee, less than a marathon distance, shouldn’t be worn to an ultramarathon event. This goes double for the wearing of sprint-tri shirts to Ironman and Half-Ironman events. It simply doesn’t represent a high enough "cool factor " and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. It's like taking a knife to a gunfight....

6. A DNF’er may wear a race shirt if... the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question (using a fat Sharpie or a Marks-A-Lot).

20. This next one is a big one, and has something to do with the need for more good taste and asthetics in this sometimes ugly world. Never wear a shirt that is so old, thin, and threadbare that you can see the color of your nipples or chest hair through it. This seems to be just a "guy thing," especially and old-codger-runner-guy thing. Here's the test guys: if you're too scared to machine-wash your 1978 Tab Ten-Miler shirt for fear of it wafting down the drain as meer subatomic particles, then it's probably too transparent to wear in public..."
Be sure to read the whole post for the full comical effect! I'm not sure how many of these rules apply to t-shirt quilts, but I'm thinking at least half do.



  1. Scott:

    That's hilarious. I amazed how this blog has grown over the years. You have some awesome ultra content, interviews and race reports.

    Hope to meet ya someday when I enter a west coast ultra in 2008.


    Run 50 Miles

  2. Hope to meet you as well! Thanks for the kudos, although Bad Ben deserves credit for this one. He is a talented writer (and runner).

    There are a ton of good ultra blogs out there these days. I think it's a natural communication venue for all of us train-solo-but-connect-deeply types.


  3. That is so one of my favorite posts ever! I got the email he sent out a long time ago and it still cracks me up!

  4. Great pointers to avoid social embarrassment.

    I disagree with Rule 2 though.

    “Any race tee, less than a marathon distance, shouldn’t be worn to an ultramarathon event… It simply doesn’t represent a high enough "cool factor " and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. It's like taking a knife to a gunfight.”

    I quite often wear my “No Excuses 5k” Race t-shirt to ultra-events. The irony adds to the cool factor. I have seen Gordy wear 5k race t-shirts all the time at ultra races. If you have “status” like Gordy then t-shirt Rules 1-21 do not apply to you because you are above the law. Come to think of it, clothing rules in general to not apply to Gordy.

    Cheers, Paul

  5. Paul -

    Absolutely true. Irony trumps cool factor every time. ;-)

    And what's the rule about "no shirt"? I'm sure Gordy has an opinion on that front. (ha, ha)


  6. My God, Ben's brilliant!

  7. Thanks for referring us to Bad Ben's posting, Scott. I have given some input and asked for further shirt advice on Bad Ben's badass site.

  8. Thanks for the mad props, Scott!

    While done in jest, these "rules and guidelines" have been observed by countless superstitious runners and triathletes over the years.
    I can't take credit for starting the list...only expanding upon it.

    Happy trails,
    Bad Ben

  9. Thanks for this link, Scott -- truly hilarious!

  10. Rule #6 the DNF rule. My daughter had a heart breaking DNF in a High School XC race last week-end. I don't have the heart to inform her of Ben's Rule #6 - it would just break her heart again.
    What's the rule on that? Tell or keep silent?
    Otherwise the list is a hoot.

  11. John-
    I cannot speak for Ben, of course, but in my opinion, anyone under the age of 18 should be exempt from rule #6. We need to do everything in our power just to get the kids out there and anyone who is heart-broken over a DNF and tried as hard as they could to finish, really does deserve to wear the shirt. But, again, I must defer to Ben on that. This is just my humble opinion.

  12. I always liked the Zane Grey 50 mile t-shirt from the 90's. They sent it to you 2 weeks after the race with finishers and times on the back of the shirt. Names DNF's were listed in the arm pit of the shirt.

  13. That's harsh, but funny. That's a really tough 50-miler.

  14. cool design if, short sleeve it well


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