Mile 30: Race Bibs

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An example of some race bibs

Let me start by saying this: Some people care about their race bib and some people don’t. On race day I find the course littered with ripped and crumpled race bibs. I’m guessing those belong to the people who don’t care about saving them as souvenirs. Since my first OCR I’ve come home with my race bib every time. I look at it as a keepsake. It hasn’t been easy ensuring that each time my race bib comes home with me, but I boast a 100% retention rate thus far.

For those that don’t know, a race bib is a piece of very thin paper that has your race number on it. This number is unique because no one will have the same number as you on race day. This unique number is good for two reasons. The first being to record your race results and the second being to find your photos. If you lose your bib number early, chances are it will be very difficult to find any photos of yourself. Don’t worry though! You don’t need your race bib when you cross the finish line. The number is automatically assigned to your timing chip. Race bibs are attached to your shirt or sometimes shorts (if you’re that tough macho person who goes shirtless) with safety pins. The more safety pins you use, the better chance you have of finishing with your race bib.

Tip: Ensure you close the safety pin when pinning the race bib. No one wants to get stabbed by a safety pin.

After I finish a race, I put my race bib in the same envelope it came in during registration. Yes, I keep the envelope. Don’t make fun of me. It keeps the race bib from accidentally getting thrown out or destroyed. I only get one, so I can’t afford to lose it.

If you do a simple web search, you’ll find some ideas about what people do with their race bibs. It’s pretty cool to see how creative some people get with this. For me though, I just collect them. Eventually I’ll do something more creative with them, but for now I’m happy with what I’m doing.

I laminate each race bib when I get home. The finished product comes out pretty nice, and I know it’s protected. I’ve found it best to wait until the mud on the race bib dries first. The laminating machine doesn’t take kindly to layers of mud, and it makes it harder for the laminating sheet to stick to the race bib. Following the Tough Mudder I had to wait two days for all the mud to dry! Then I removed as much as I could for a pretty flat surface. For now I hang my race bibs in my garage. To date I have a total of 23 race bibs between OCR and other non-OCR events. I hope that one day I have enough to fill an entire wall. If I don’t, I’ll probably just frame them and hang them above my medals. I feel proud of my accomplishments and so should you.

If you decide after this mile to start collecting your race bibs, then I must’ve done something right. If you continue to throw yours away or discard them on the course, then that’s OK too. I’m not supporting littering though! What are some of the things you do with your race bibs? I’d love to see your pictures or hear your thoughts. Also, bonus points to anyone who has ever had the same number twice. To date I haven’t, but the closest I’ve gotten is 1511 and 1510. So close!

In the next mile I’ll review my pre-race checklist for the Spartan Beast. Race season has finally arrived!


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