If you've been running long enough, you know about this often---"unspoken rule", or runner's "faux pas". If you're new to running, you may not have heard about it before. I'm going to share it with you so you know it the next time you enter a race and you don't make this mistake that I see all to often out on a course. It is a huge pet peeve of mine and some people may think I'm being petty or may even think it's ridiculous, but like any other sport, there are things you do and things you don't do. This is one of those things you don't do at races and if you do--it's probably because you're new to running and you just don't know any better because no one has told you yet!
When you enter a race, most races give runners a FINISHER'S t-shirt and it's pretty cool to get one so you can wear it proud after the race. The key thing here is "FINISHER'S T-SHIRT", meaning that you must FINISH the race before you can technically wear the shirt. So here it is: DO NOT WEAR YOUR FINISHER'S T-SHIRT UNTIL AFTER YOU'VE CROSSED THE FINISH LINE AND HAVE EARNED THAT PRIVILEGE. It would be like wearing a finisher's medal that you haven't earned, there's a reason you don't get a medal until after you've crossed the finish line...YOU HAVEN'T EARNED IT UNTIL YOU CROSS THAT LINE!!! Well...that goes for the FINISHER'S T-SHIRT too.
I remember years ago when I first started running, there was no such thing as getting a finisher's t-shirt before a race at packet pick-up. You went to the t-shirt tables and picked up your finisher's t-shirt AFTER you completed your race. If you didn't complete the race or you decided not to do the race after paying for it and entering it, you did not go and get a finisher's t-shirt because YOU DID NOT DO THE RACE AND FINISH IT. Things have changed...lots of races are giving out the finishers t-shirts at packet pick-up now and people are wearing them during their race. NOT COOL. Not only is it NOT COOL, I consider it to be BAD LUCK; A JINX TO YOU IN YOUR RACE.
EXCEPTIONS: Some people can't stand the idea of paying an entry fee and not getting the finisher's t-shirt if they didn't do the race. Well, okay...that's fine, If you've entered a race and you got injured or you just decided not to do the race...it's okay to get the finisher's t-shirt and give it to a friend or someone else who finished the race--but it is not appropriate for you to wear it yourself.
So, if you think this is a ridiculous faux pas, or I'm being petty, think about it for a minute...it's like accepting an award that you haven't earned or that you're not entitled to. I didn't make the rule, I was informed of it years ago by other experienced runners when I was a newby and I'm just passing it on to you like it was passed on to me. I follow the rule and it is has become a huge pet peeve of mine over the years. Personally, I have a thing called "pride" and I don't want something I haven't earned...if I haven't gone the distance, I don't deserve a finisher's medal or a finisher's t-shirt NOR DO I WANT ONE. I'll earn mine by going the distance of the race and crossing the finish line, thanks...and when I do, you can bet I'll wear my finisher's t-shirt and my medal proud!
Happy Running :)
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