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