My first ever race I registered for was the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis 5km in December 1999. A team from my high school was always formed through student senate, so I took part. When I first started doing these shorter 5km races, I always looked forward to the usually long-sleeved t-shirt that came with registration. When I started doing longer races, shirts were always part of the entry fee, but they got more prized—they would say “marathon finisher” on the back, or they started to be made out of sweet tech material. The finisher medals took over as the thing I looked forward to at the end of a race, and these were sometimes reasons I would or wouldn’t register for something. The one thing that all these races share that I never looked forward to, though, was the race bib.
The race bib is your number for the race, and really it is a way for the race organizers to label you as a participant. It helps with organization on the day of the race, as sometimes different colors or number ranges signifies the race you are in (10km, half or full). Now in the digital age, these bibs help photography websites identify the runner if they take pictures at the event.
In my early years of running, I never thought of hanging onto the race bib. It usually got tossed straight in the garbage after I was done. It was until my first race in Canada, the Calgary Full Marathon in 2009, that I for some reason decided to save my race bib. I think part of my reason for saving it was because it was my first race in Canada since moving here, but it was also a different bib other than the generic ones you would normally get. Ever since that race, I would come home with my bib, head downstairs to the guest bedroom, write my time on the back, and file it behind the Calgary bib, which was ironically placed behind my old Wisconsin license plate.
I have now saved my racing bibs since that event. They are mostly now all Alberta races, since I haven’t had many races back in the USA since moving. And while these bibs aren’t as fun as the bling you get at the end of longer road races, they do prove to hold on to memories. I am stuck in how to best display these, if I should at all. This year, I have used the bibs to fill up an ugly empty bulliten board space in my classroom. I have my medals I have earned so far this year below, but every time I do a race and add a new bib to the empty space, it also provides pride in finishing the race.
Last weeks’ race, the Coulee Cactus Crawl, provided the most generic of bibs. Just a single 1 in the centre. I had seen a fellow blogger’s race bib post a few weeks ago and it got me thinking about my race bibs. I decided I needed to have fun with this one and bling it out.. This gave it more personality and fun! While the bibs may not be as cool as the medals, I have now decided I need to start having fun with them!