This is one of the race “rules” I was actually aware of before my first race, weirdly enough. It also helped that my first race was in the dead of winter and yet they gave us a short sleeved t-shirt so wearing it wasn’t a temptation. 🙂 As a beginning runner, being aware of this “rule” to NEVER wear the race shirt to a race, I always religiously avoided wearing the race shirt to a race even when it would have been the perfect attire for the theme and even though I always see tons of people wearing the race shirt. You know what? There’s never any pointing or laughing at people wearing the race shirt. It actually always makes me smile to see people excited to be running the race. I say wear the race shirt if you want to and you know it’s a shirt that won’t chafe. Avoiding chafing is important so be careful about trying new a shirt style for a big race!
Once, I wore a race shirt to the race but it was because the organizers specifically requested it. They wanted all of us in the blue tanks to show solidarity for the fallen police officer the race honored, which I thought was really cool. I’ll confess – that’s the one and only time I wore that shirt.
I tend not to wear old race shirts to races either, because I don’t want someone to make the mistake of thinking I know what I’m doing just because I’ve run the race before! I have to say, though, that I like Patty’s approach in her post today. She sees wearing the former year’s shirts as a way to reassure new and slower runners that all kinds of people can successfully finish races. Very cool perspective.
A couple of other running rules I’ve been fuzzy on:
- Start at the back of the pack if you’re slow or not sure about your speed. While I came across the “no race shirt on race day” rule before my first 5K, somehow I missed this one and lined up at the very front of the 5K. Oops! Thankfully, it wasn’t a huge race so I don’t think I disrupted flow too badly.
- Is it okay to pass someone at the very of a race? I love to challenge myself to finish strong, but if it means I’ll overtake someone else at the very end I always hesitate because it somehow feels rude.
What do you think? Is it okay to wear the race shirt on race day? Is it okay to pass someone at the very end of the race when you’re a back of the packer and not really racing for a prize?