There’s a joke…

“An atheist, a vegan, and a CrossFitter walk into a bar. I only know because they told everyone within 2 minutes.”

Same goes for runners.  You do not have to ask them – the finisher shirt they have on is front/back and centre screaming at everyone.  Be it some race just completed over the weekend, or an event from 2 to 3 years back.

I thought getting a finisher medal would have been enough for most people, but I’m surprised with the passion people have with their finisher shirts.


I was once very excited when I did my 1st running event in 2014, and more so when I completed one that had a finisher shirt in the end (its usually those longer than 10K).

More often though, I end up going ”meh, this is it?”. I had to fire up the browser on my phone to check again that rendered image at the event website if it looks anywhere near or was I misled.

The fit was always unpredictable and different for each event.  There was likely something that feels weird like some unseen stitches rubbing you the wrong way.  Or maybe just standing in front of the mirror something just does not seem right.  “I need to wear a sports bra.”  But I’m a guy.

And the material used?  Seriously, you are not expecting some high end technical t-shirt, are you?  Naive me once did because the title sponsor is a big sports gear brand.  But the bulk of the entry fee you pay surely goes to event logistics to organize the event, close roads, put up gantries and barriers, hydration stations, etc.

Once was enough for me to never again expect anything much from finisher shirts. Though there were 1 or 2 that I actually liked just because they felt nice and comfortable.

But would I actually wear them?

Personally, I don’t see these as fashion item.  Fashionable?  Maybe during the event only just after the finish, from the race village until you get home, because like everyone, you are basking in your latest triumph.  

So do I actually wear them outside of this?

I wore them going to the neighborhood kopitiam or NTUC. I chose to leave the Hokas and the compression socks home, and instead matched them with flip-flops and hairy calves.  I need the Oakley sunglasses though, not over my eyes, but to wear it like a head band, or to rest on my neck facing backwards.

Oh and yes, I wore them to collect the race pack of my next event in the next 2 weeks.  Yes, queued up with my Lego Fun Run 5K shirt together with the rest in their Ironman 70.3s, StanChart Marathons from whatever country, jungle and skyrunning ultra finisher shirts, and so much apparels slapped with a big X. Realized it only when I was there already. You can feel people sizing up each other, and it’s not even race day yet.  As if everyone’s a Lexxus Tan or Vanja Cnops.

It always feels good to complete something that you want to shout out about it. Nothing wrong with that. I guess I easily lost that novelty. It just stuck with me like teflon.

There are some who won’t even join an event just because there is no finisher shirt.  Me? The medal and the bib are good enough mementos for me.  The drawstring bags, good to repurpose as shoebags.

It wasn’t long ago that I saw a shop selling marked down finisher shirts, from Stanchart 42K to Ironmans.  Seeing that all the more cheapened things, you don’t know who actually did run it anymore.

My wardrobe cabinet was once overflowing with finisher shirts that I rarely used.  I ended up donating them somewhere.

Anyway, life is too short to be bothered by all this.  Just run your own race.  Go for you PB and be happy to have sweat it all out.  Be proud of all your tan lines, and that strange mark on your forehead caused by your Halo headband.  Those are your badges of honor (exclude the black toe nails).  Who cares what you wear and anyone else for that matter.

How do you prove to people you did this/that race?  You can’t be still walking around everywhere with the medal and bib way after the event?

No problem.  It’s on Strava.  Because if it’s not on Strava, it never happened.  🙂


  1. Bloody brilliant. At the end of each year I just gather up all the finisher tees and send them off to some far off land. I do like some of them but I melt in them in sunny SG. Since storage is also a premium they just have to go bye bye. But you know what if you love wearing them, wear them with pride. You’ve earned them just by simply not couchsurfing and getting out there to pound the streets. Cheers

  2. right on. plus its easier on the eyes than showing off a black toe nail 🙂

    can’t help noticing your email address…but its really you… those kids swimming at East Coast were very lucky to have you around… kudos!


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