Running Shirts: A Hierarchy
If I am going to endure pain, summon mental strength to override my bodyâ€™s honed instincts for leisure, or shell out 45 bucks for a typical half marathon, then I demand a quality race shirt.
Race organizers seem to think that my wardrobe lacks shirts of the â€œI was on the quadâ€ Fraternity event genre. How else could one explain their generally garish design? Where on earth, except at races, would I wear such attire? Heaven forbid I should want to run in a race shirt. Most are made of heavy cotton.
I’ve only been running a short time, yet still I have a cavalcade of race t-shirts. What does one do with this stockpile of fibrous gewgaw? Iâ€™ve observed runners, and I now know what they tend to do with these shirts. Each shirt a runner owns falls into a sophisticated hierarchy:
Revered Symbol – Never worn beyond race day or sullied by further human contact. Suitable for framing or homemade shrine.
Esteemed Trophy – Worn only when you need to impress the right people at the right race. Archetype: The Boston Marathon long sleeve.
Cool Running (long sleeve non-cotton) – Usually a marathon tech shirt worn proudly when running. Nice enough to be worn in some casual situations.
Best-Case Cotton (long sleeve cotton) – Usually a major race shirt worn when running in the cold, but not as a first resort. Only worn casually if the design is decent.
Standard Race Shirt (short-sleeve cotton) – The short sleeve is generally placed on lower status than the long sleeve, regardless of the design. Worn when nothing else clean is available.
The Eyesore (short-sleeve cotton) – Kept initially, but the urge to donate or throw away is strong.
The Smock – Given immediately to young children as over-sized sleepwear or weekend art project overwear.
Strictly Yard work – Also the fate of worn-out running shoes (a similar proliferation problem).
Oil Change Fodder – Nothing soaks up viscous fluids like cotton. Bonus if the intolerable design is obscured.
Have I missed anything? Exactly what do you do with the endless supply of shirts?