Note: I did not write this (I'm not THAT funny) but compiled it from several websites. Feel free to steal this for your own use.
In the running community the wearing of race T-Shirts has become asign of accomplishment and fashion. Choosing just the right T-Shirt for that special occasion can be a daunting and difficult task. The following guidelines have been compiled (in fun) to help the responsible T-shirt wearer avoid potential embarrassment and/or elevate their status.
1. A shirt cannot be worn unless the wearer has participated in the event. (crew, significant others and volunteers are exempt)
2. Any race shirt with a distance less than the race you are running shouldn't be worn to the race. It simply doesn't represent a high cool factor and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. If you seta PR at Pikes Peak Marathon, definitely wear that shirt whenever possible.
3. When returning to a race in which you previously finished, then wear the shirt from the first year you completed the race. Don't short change yourself by wearing the shirt from the year before. It doesn't adequately display the feat of accomplishment or the consummate veteran status that you are due.
4. Never wear a race shirt from the race you are about to run. It displays a lack of running integrity and might put the bad-heebee-jeebee-mojo on you.
5. Wearing a T-shirt of the race, while currently running said race, is discouraged. It's like being at work and constantly announcing "I'm at work". Besides, you won't have the correct post race shirt then.
6. A DNF'er may wear a race shirt if... the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question (using a fat Sharpie). The only way that you can proudly wear a shirt for a race you didn't finish: if you sustained a compound fracture, gouged eye or lost an appendage during said event. Stress fractures don't count!
7. During a race the wearing of shirt from a previously completed year is acceptable. Wear the oldest T-shirt you have (see guideline#3). This is probably a good practice because you now have no excuseto drop out since you've done it before.
8. Runners should buy all crew members and, as appropriate, significant others (they let you run the race in the first place) T-shirts which can be worn without regard to running the race. (seeguide #1)
9. Volunteers have full T-shirt rights and all privileges pertaining thereto, so there!
10. No souvenir shirts therefore friends or anyone else not associated with the race may not wear a race shirt. If mom thinks that the Leadville shirt is lovely, tell he to send in her application early for next year so she can earn her own. A downside to this: she still has plenty of time to write you out of her will between her training runs for the big race. Note: your mom CAN wear your finisher's shirt under on of these 3 conditions: 1 - You live with you mother; 2 - She funded your trip to the race; 3 - She recently bailed you out of the slammer. There is an exception to this guideline (refer to #16).
11. Wear the race shirt of your last race at the current race prerace briefing. The more recent the race the better. This is a good conversation starter. However avoid the tendency to explain how that it was a training run for this, and this is just a training run for the next, etc. It just sounds like your rationalizing mediocre performances. Sometimes it's best to live in the here and now. ("I've never been more prepared for a race! this is the big one!)
12. It must be clean, but dried blood stains are okay, especially if it is a trail race or a particularly tough event. If you're an ultrarunner, you can even leave in mud and grass stains (and porcupine quills). Not washing out the skunk scent is pushing the macho thing a bit too far, though.
13. If you've finished Hardrock 100 then wear it as often as possible, since the race is so damn hard.
14. Never wear a T-shirt that vastly outclasses the event you're running. It's like taking a gun to a knife fight. Or like unleashing an atomic bomb among aboriginal natives. You get the idea.(Exception: see guideline #13).
15. A corollary: never wear a blatantly prestigious T- shirtdowntown or at the mall among non-running ilk. People will just think you have a big head, which you do. You'll also get stupid questions, like "How long is a marathon?" If it's a shirt to a 50 or 100 miler, they'll think it's a shirt for a cycling event or just think you're frigging nuts, which (or course) you might be.
16. Never wear a shirt that has more sponsors listed on it than people that ran the event (Are you listening race directors?). A shirt with too many logos on it is just plain ugly. By the way, you can let ANYONE wear this shirt; non- finishers and distant relatives, alike. If you respect your spouse or mother, though, you won't let either of them wear it. You CAN wear it to change your car's oil or as part of a Halloween costume. It would also serve well in a gerbil cage.
17. Never wear a shirt that is so old, thin and threadbare that you can see the color of your nipples or chest hair. This seems to justbe a guy thing, especially an old- codger-runner-guy thing. Here'sthe test guys: if you're too scared to machine wash your 1980 BoulderBolder 10K shirt for fear of it wafting down the drain as mere subatomic particles, then it's probably too transparent to wear in public. If you can (still) remember your great performance on that particular day and want to save it for posterity, PLEASE have it framed so you can keep it on the wall in your den or in "Man Land,"and (at least) out of sight. Better yet, have it sewn into a quilt. You can then sit on your couch and read back-copies of Colorado Runner, cuddled up with your "runner's blanket," with a glass of warm milk.
18. By the way, If you don't know what things like DNF, Crew, volunteer or Significant Other are, then you shouldn't wear any race shirt until you know what they mean, and you shouldn't have any meaningful relationships, either. You should probably become a NewAge "Tantric" runner-hermit, sitting at home in the lotus position performing virtual marathons in your mind, while sniffing espresso beans, incense and patchouli.
T-shirts must be used sensitively. Worn responsibly, they can help expand one's consciousness and immerse you in a great conversation with your runner brethren. Worn stupidly, they can cause blisters, vacant stares, sprained ankles, and cause social anxiety.
NOTE: Publicly these guidelines will be denied and possibly ridiculed by runners, but privately and when discussed confidentially, they sing a different tune.