submitted by Mark Cathcart with credit to UltraRunners.
In the Triathlon community the wearing of race T-shirts has become a sign 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 to help the responsible T-shirt wearer avoid potential embarrassment and/or elevate their status.
- A shirt cannot be worn unless the wearer has participated in the event. (Crew, volunteers are exempt, see Guide #10.)
- Wearing a T-shirt within 30-days of the event demonstrates lack of experience; it says: I don't have any other T-shirts, ergo I'm a novice! (see guidelines #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9).
- Any race T-shirt, less than a Olympic (standard) distance, shouldn't be worn to an half or full Ironman (long distance) event. It simply doesn't represent a high cool factor and sends a red flag regarding your 'rookiness'. If you raced in the Longest Day or any other race longer than Olympic distance, definitely wear that shirt whenever possible.
- 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.
- Never wear a race shirt from the race you are about to compete in. It displays a lack of integrity and tempts fate. (See Guide #7, #8).
- 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". (See Guide #7).
- Never wear a shirt from a race that you did not finish. To wear it is to say I finished it.
- A DNF'er may wear a race shirt if... the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question. It is also acceptable to have a large-X across the name of the race on the T-shirt. While an X on your race number is associated with a drafting penalty in a non-drafting, typically Ironman races, it will stimulate discussion and you get a chance to explain why you DNF'd.
- During a race the wearing of shirt from a previously completed year is acceptable. Wear the oldest T-shirt you have. This is probably a good practice because you now have no excuse to drop out since you've done it before.
- Volunteers have full T-shirt rights and all privileges pertaining thereto.
- No souvenir shirts! Friends or anyone else not associated with the race may not wear a race shirt. If your 'partner' thinks that the Windsor sweatshirt is great, tell them to send in their application early for next year so they can earn their own. This also means you should not buy old London Marathon T-shirts in the Bourne Sports sale.
- Not withstanding Guideline #2, wear the race shirt of your last race at the current race pre-race briefing. The more recent the race the better. This is a good conversation starter. However, avoid the tendency to explain how the race was training for this, and this is just a training for the next race, etc. It just sounds like you're 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!")
- It must be clean (dried blood stains are okay).
- If you've finished the Longest Day, or any full Ironman distance event, then wear the T-shirt as often as possible, since these races are so damn hard.
- If you don't know what things like DNF, T1, T2, Brick sessions are, then you shouldn't wear any race shirt until you do.
T-shirts must be used sensitively. Worn responsibly, they can help expand one's consciousness and immerse you in a great conversation with your Triathlon brethren. They are great for stimulating conversation with the opposite sex at the gym (aka chat-up lines). 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 Triathletes, but privately and when discussed confidentially, they sing a different tune.