Last Updated on September 29, 2019 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP
If you asked me to pick the one reason why I love running, I simply couldn’t do it. There are far too many reasons, some of which can’t even begin to be verbalized. But one of the big things I love about running, and the running community as a whole, is that everyone is welcome.
And I mean everyone.
Age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, pace, size, religion… none of it matters; if you put on a pair of running shoes (or don’t, actually, barefoot is OK too) and take off running you are a runner.
End of story.
One of the best places to witness all of the walks (no pun intended) of life that comprise the running community is at a race. Over my running career I’ve participated in countless races. Literally, countless…as in I’ve lost count. A few years ago I tried to calculate a total and I was somewhere around 55+, so I’m thinking it’s safe to assume I’m near or past the 100 race mark. These races have run the gamut from local 5K’s with less than 75 participants, to marathons with 45,000+ runners. This means that over the course of my racing career, I’ve encountered and run side by side with hundreds of thousands of different people.
That is entirely too overwhelming to wrap my mind around.
Hundreds of thousands of different people, all there for the same purpose: to cross both the start and the finish line of that particular race. One very specific goal, and yet while we certainly have many similarities that brought us to this goal, we likely have many more differences.
They say you cannot judge a book by it’s cover, and I’d absolutely agree that this applies to human beings as well. But on race day, individuality shines.
For me, I like to wear bright, bold colors and patterns that represent the outgoing and happy feelings running gives me. And it’s obvious I’m not alone: your average racing crowd is making a bold statement. Personalized shirts displaying messages from charity support to humorous quips. Tutus. Tiaras. Superhero costumes. Neon colored running sneakers that can be seen from miles away. Skirts, shorts, tank tops, and more in all colors, patterns, and designs imaginable.
And I’d like to say that I’ve seen it all on the race course…except that I haven’t. Not even close.
Individuality is indeed celebrated on race day, and one of the most fantastic races to witness the spectacle of race day spirit is Bay to Breakers. San Francisco’s Zappos.com Bay to Breakers is the oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world, a staple to the City by the Bay since May 1912. With a starting point near the San Francisco Bay, a few blocks from The Embarcadero, the 12K race runs west through the city and finishes at the Great Highway where breakers crash onto the Pacific Coast’s Ocean Beach.
Zappos.com, the lead sponsor of Bay to Breakers, is a 15-year-old e-commerce site now boasting over 150,000 styles from over 1,000 brands. They offer fast and free shipping with a 365 day return policy. Need something to help you stand out from the crowd at your next race? Browse Zappos.com’s massive athletic apparel section to find something unique.
How do you stand out on race day? Are bright, loud colors and costumes your thing, or do you prefer something more subtle?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.