A Tale of Three Race Shirts

Once upon a time, in the spring of 2014, a brand spanking newly turned 37 year old Meridith registered for the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. Registration opened on her birthday, April Fool’s Day, and she was bound and determined to run in the November race (at the cheapest rate possible).

She clicked her way through the registration questions and when she got to the shirt size option, she swiftly chose the “large” without a second thought.

November came to pass and Meridith and Victoria were excited to go to the Convention Center for the expo. They both waited in line for their bibs, then their shirts. The blue large shirt was larger than Meridith expected it to be; it was boxy and seemed to have more material than necessary. She was bummed that it was ill-fitting but she rationalized, “Better too big than too small.” (She and Victoria had their share of too small shirts at the Nike Women’s Half.)

Hanging at the expo – Vic, Kyle, and Meridith

After running the race, she knew she would be returning so she filed away the shirt information in her mind so she would make a more fitting choice the following year.

The spring of 2015 arrived and with it, so did Meridith’s birthday and the registration for the Philly races. Armed with the knowledge she gained in November, she confidently clicked on the “medium” option for her shirt choice. She totally had the shirt game figured out! 10 points for Gryffindor!

Except… no.

She wailed in dismay (because she’s nothing if not dramatic) when she picked up her black shirt at the expo with her friend, Chrissy. The race had changed shirt companies and now the medium looked like it might fit her 6 year old child. Maybe.

Could she exchange sizes? No. She could not. (She asked.)

But the race was great and although she was sad she would never get to wear the race shirt in public (she’d post a picture but this is a family show and then we’d be getting all sorts of spammy comments), she vowed that she would finally make the correct choice in 2016.

This year the half marathon registration did not open on her birthday which goes along with the changes made to the race. A few weeks later, the freshly turned 39 year old Meridith registered for this year’s half. She anxiously clicked through the preliminary questions before arriving to the most important question of all: her shirt size.

She paused, thoughtfully, and then clicked the “extra large” option. And hoped for the best.

At the expo she watched as other racers picked up their shirts. “My chest will never fit in this shirt!” they exclaimed. She found her very short XL line and received her red shirt. And looked at it, doubtfully.

Would it fit?

Yes, yes it does! The sleeves are a bit long and the length is shorter than she likes but it does fit.

Meridith and her 2016 shirt lived happily ever after (while her 2015 and 2014 shirts were banished to the back of the closet).

Do you have a tale of woe when it comes to a race shirt? Meridith would love to hear it and empathize with you.

9 thoughts on “A Tale of Three Race Shirts

  1. Race shirts are the bane of my existence. Seriously, I have so many that will never see the light of day, which is always extra sad when they’re super cute. The ugliest ones always seem to fit the best though.

    And those Nike Woman’s Half shirts

    • I’m still angry about the Nike Women’s half shirt, years later. My chest cannot breathe in that shirt AT ALL. I don’t need it to be extra-roomy but I do need to not having pulling across the girls.

      “The ugliest ones always seem to fit the best though.” Oh my gosh, so much truth. Ugh.

  2. I hate inconsistent sizing. There are some shirts I can’t wear because the sizing is SO off. Even some race organizations that use the same company year after year (and you think you’ve figured out the sizing) sometimes switch it up. I’ve started ordering XL almost every time because I just can’t seem to get one that fits. I’d rather a big shirt than not be able to wear it!

    • Girl, I so hear you. And honestly, the XL doesn’t fit that great but it’s not indecent so I’m just going to roll with it.

  3. UGH! The NJ Marathon (half) shirts have been like this on and off for years! In 2013 and 2014, the XL’s were too small and I forgot to order a higher size (one year the kind person at the table let me get a bigger one! Yay!)… then in 2016 I finally REMEMBERED, and the XXL is massive. The first year the Rutgers Half was run (maybe 2010? I can’t quite remember), which was also my first half… the shirts were baby-T sized for an XL. Definitely was super sad that the shirt for my very first half marathon was one I would never be able to wear. I wish there was a standard!

    • Nooooo, not your first half! That is such a bummer! It would be so great if there was a standard or maybe a sizing chart when you register? I mean, I know that there’s no true way of knowing and that they don’t want to order too many extra shirts because it’s a loss for the race management. However, I love wearing my race shirts and I’m so sad when I can’t!

      Side note: if you’re doing the NJ half again and haven’t registered yet, there’s a coupon code from BibRave. Let me know if you need it!

  4. YAAASSS THIS topic SERIOUSLY needed to be POSTED!! I have 2 way small shirts that I can only wear if I dont eat or drink anything the day before. I am so disappointed. I heard an insider tip to order mens sizes but your tip for X-large (which we are really not XL) is a good idea. Its sucha shame that the manufacoter has this view of women. Its the industry. It goes along with my years long journey for pants that are not SKINNY or slim.

    • It IS disappointing and furthermore, the fact that these shirts don’t fit us well and there are all different types and sizes of runners must mean that there are many others that are disappointed too. I mean, the fact that an XL sorta fits me? What?! It just doesn’t make sense.

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