My Race Bib Aversion

It’s true. I’m a runner that does NOT like race bibs.

Race Bibs

I think it all started as a kid. I didn’t like stickers. Put them on paper and I was fine, but put them on me and I freaked out. Don’t put one on my hand. Don’t put one on my clothes. And definitely don’t put one on my face. I don’t know why this was, but I can tell you – I’m still not a fan. We have sticker name tags at church and I cringe every time I have to put it on.

Weird? Absolutely.

Apparently the same feelings I have toward stickers became feelings toward race bibs.

The first time I watched a race (maybe the Olympics or Boston), I saw the numbers on the athletes. I assumed it was because it was a large and competitive event. Gymnasts have numbers in the Olympics, but when I was a gymnast, we never had numbers at our (small) competitions.

When I went to the expo for my first 10K, they showed me my bib. My jaw may have dropped. Wait, I have to put this bib on me and RUN?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand their purpose. They identify each of the runners, which is very important if something like an injury happens. The race bibs also allow your friends and family members follow you along the course. And now the race bibs have a B-Tag which allows your results to be tabulated.


But I still don’t like them.

First of all, pinning the bibs on your clothes is a ridiculously long process. First you have to decide where you want to pin it. On your chest? Near the bottom of your shirt? On your shorts? No matter where you decide to pin it, it will bunch. And it never fails, you will pin it crooked 97% of the time, requiring the perfectionists like me to re-pin it over and over until it’s straight.

Then there is the actual process of running with the bib on. You can hear it crinkle the entire race. It bunches in weird ways, and sometimes causes your shirt to ride up. And if you didn’t pin the bottom, the smallest breeze will cause it to fly up and attack you.

Then there are the race photos. Yes, the running bib allows the photographers to group your photos by race number, which is very convenient. However, these photos amplify if you have put the bib on crooked, or have placed it in a very wrong location. We’ll just leave it at that.

And what about the bibs that are huge? (Yes, I’m talking to you runDisney.) It’s bad enough to have to pin your bib, run in it and see it in your photos – but to have the bibs that are the size of a small child are out of control!

Race Bib

So if you ever see me at an expo, you will understand why I have a scowl when I get my packet. Although necessary, the race bib will continue to haunt me throughout my running career. We’re in the 21st century, you would think we could replace them with some sort of technology by now.

I guess I’ll just have to keep hoping.

Click Megan Biller



About Megan

Megan is a runner, author, travelista and dreamer from Michigan. She is the co-author of Magical Miles: The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World. You can follow her journey at as well as Twitter and Instagram.


  1. I LOL’ed reading this post.
    A) I love that you ‘confessed’ your repulsion with stickers.
    B) Race bibs attack you?! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I, too, find annoyance that I can never get them pinned straight. And if you think runDisney has huge bibs, do a RnR race…Mom and I actually ended up folding ours in half (no chip in the bib…d-tag for shoes instead) after we saw a guy on the shuttle bus do the same.

    • Haha – although tough to confess, it was super fun to write! My bib during the Shamrock Shuffle DID attack me! Scared the living daylights out of me! Yes, the Rock n Roll bibs are also huge. Why?!?!

  2. I love mine! I keep them all safety pinned together and made a wall of them that I hung up at work for motivation :)

    • I don’t mind them after the race ;) I scrapbook mine with photos and my time from the race. Great way to look back on my accomplishments! I love that you use yours for motivation – AWESOME idea!!!

  3. I don’t mind wearing them but what bugs me is pinning them to your expensive clothes! And yes, the size! I’ve seen a lot of people starting to fold them a bit…

    • Yes – the holes in our clothes!!! You would think there would be an easier way to attach them!

  4. I had not given the bib much thought actually. However, if I get to meet you during WDW Marathon weekend (I hope I do) I know what NOT to talk to you about. : )

    • Haha – no mentioning the race bibs during Marathon Weekend :) Especially since I’ll have to wear one for 4 days!

  5. I am with you about pinning the bib on crooked. Gets me EVERY time. Still haven’t perfect that one! And I giggled at the part of the bib flying up and attacking you in the face! Hate that!!

    • I can never get it straight!!! Drives me crazy. And yes, I’ve had bibs attack me – scared me every time!

  6. At my first race, I remember being shocked to discover that we had to attach our bibs with safety pins!
    Safety Pins??? I expected something a little less pedestrian and a little more high tech!
    And it just seems wrong to stick holes in my expensive running shirts!
    Oh, and I thought I was the only one who obsessed about getting them straight!

    • Yes, the safety pins threw me too! Ask my husband about how crazy I get when they aren’t straight. He tries to tell me no one will notice, but I think differently ;)

  7. Don’t make me laugh! I rock the iFitness Belt- no pinning, no noise, no crooked.

    • I’ve looked into the iFitness belt for the race bib aspect! Too funny.

      • I know, commenting almost a year later…but yeah, I wore the iFitness (or Fitletic, whatever ;) ) belt for the bib thingy but the big bibs drag on my thighs cos I am so short!!!

        • I just got one of those to try out, but I have a feeling I will have a similar issue ;) I have found success pinning them to my skirts, but let’s be honest – that’s not always a possibility, especially up here in the frozen north!

  8. This cracked me up! I’m with you on hating race bibs – they just ruin the entire ensemble and for this girlie-girl, who has coordinated everything, it’s just annoying. Asking me to put holes through my favorite running shirts also makes me cringe, which is why I wear a race belt now. But even those have issues because the just make you look fat the way the cut across the middle. I don’t like wearing my fuel belt in races for the same reason – it looks stupid in the pictures.

    • Ahh I forgot about clashing with your outfit! Yes, another mark against the race bibs. I have found that pinning them on my skirt helps, but ugh – they still drive me nuts.

  9. I don’t think much about my own bib. I stick it on the night before (so its straight) and as soon as the race is done, I pull it off and throw it away. I am not attached to it in anyway. But my DH drives me crazy with his bib. He sticks it up way high on his chest like a kid with his address pinned to him. Then I complain so he moves it down right on his nipples. Then I complain again and he starts in about his water belt. It eventually ends up on his shorts. Every time. Every single time.

    • Oh my goodness – I LOVE this story! I have been wearing my race bibs on my skirts (which has helped) but still annoying!

  10. I have never paid much attention to the race bibs, but you have which is great (well since you hate them not so great for you :) . The world would be a boring place if everyone liked & disliked the same things. Every blog would be the same. I do get annoyed with them also because they do never stay straight & I am always afraid I am going to lose the safety pins. I probably should try the race belt & see how that works. Thanks Megan for keeping everything real.

    • Haha – so true! We are all different and I LOVE that! Yes, the bibs do move throughout the race too. I tell ya – so annoying!

  11. Race belts!! Goodbye safety pins! I would pin and re-pin and it would still be crooked and I was so happy once I discovered race belts. It might still be crooked, but at least I don’t have to deal with the safety pins!

    • Thanks Emily! I’ve looked into those race belts, but sometimes belts bother me too – so ahhhhh! :) Clearly I just need to give the belts a try :)

      • All my race belts with the little bib toggles bother me if i wear them forward, so I end up wearing them backwards, which puts my bib on my butt, which is useless for getting photos…SO now I have race belts with toggles and the bibs are still pinned to my shirt.

        • This is good to know because a lot of people have recommended the race belts! I like wearing a skirt because I can pin the bib there, but sometimes the temperature isn’t right for one. So frustrating!

  12. Hear hear! And to think I thought I was the only one. I need my straight or it drives me bonkers and don’t even catch me if I get a “bad” number. Darn OCD!

    • I love it! It makes me happy to know I’m not the only one who has to have it straight :) And the ‘bad’ number cracks me up!

  13. Hahaha, I know exactly what you mean. After a race my bib is always a crumpled mess! My boyfriend, who is a very casual runner (read: he hates running, but is naturally good at it so I make him run with me sometimes) dislikes bibs as much as you and rarely ever pins them on. He only participates in short courses with me so safety isn’t too much of an issue.

    • Oh my goodness – that is hilarious! You would think that they would have some sort of technology by now. And yes, my bibs are always a mess by the end too – but I still keep them in a scrapbook :)

  14. I <3 race bibs. I'm saving the ones from my year of 5ks to make into a tote bag – looking forward to it!

    I'm sure at some point they'll do wrist bands or some kinda perma-shirt you can use for races. Maybe you should be the one to invent it! Million dollar idea, right there :)

    • I’ve seen those race bib tote bags – they look adorable! I keep mine in a scrapbook :) Yes! Let’s invent the idea to get rid of race bibs!!!

  15. Haha so funny. I don’t mind the bibs but could certainly understand the annoyance and not pinning them straight – I’m so Type A too, and need to set aside 5 minutes of “bib pinning time” when deciding how much time I need to get ready in the morning.

  16. Oh good lord I could have written this post! My BIGGEST race bib issues is having to put holes in my (way too expensive!) running clothes to put them on! It’s so annoying that I can’t race in any of my favorite tops because I don’t want to put holes in them! (Although my husband introduced me to some INCREDIBLE SUPER DUPER double sided take that seems to hold bibs on pretty well! I used it Marathon Weekend!)

    Second, pinning a bib on straight takes a minimum of 4 attempts. And then when it’s all straight and I’ve done such a good job of not wrinkling/ folding/ creasing it (you know, because I bring a folder to the expo to put it in once I get it…) I get on the bus, sit down and BAM, I feel the whole thing bending/ creasing/ wrinkling! UGH! I would rather write my race # on my forehead with a sharpee!

    • Hahaha – love it! I have gotten better with pinning on my bibs since I moved them to my skirt. However, that makes sitting on the bus even worse! Immediate wrinkling – ugh! (And I save my bibs too) I tell ya, the things us runners have to do!

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