Who Thinks T-Shirts Aren’t Important?

Prior to every race, I find myself praying that we have enough race T-shirts and that the sizes are correct. As a race director, it is the toughest part of my job!

Like a bad haircut or ill-fitting jeans, a wonky T-shirt does not convey the hip, accomplished look we want to achieve. And as many times as we try to order the perfect batch of shirts, every time I open a new box, the walls close in, I hear my heart pounding in my ears, and I nearly start to hyperventilate, hoping the vendor’s version of extra-large isn’t really a medium, and the small shirts don’t look like they belong in Baby Gap. As unbelievable as it seems, we can order the exact same brand and item number from the exact same vendor, and still receive cuts that vary dramatically from one order to the next.

Besides product inconsistencies, consider all of the personal preferences surrounding T-shirts. Fashion designers spend months and even years trying to build the perfect T-shirt. And this effort pays off because, according to The NPD Group, American shoppers spend over $20 billion a year on them!

The thing about T-shirts is this, they are a fashion statement. Therefore, everyone wants a custom look, feel, and fit. Since that varies by individual, the best we can do is try to get the sizes right. So, here are a few things we can do to work together to ensure you receive the race tee you want: If you want a women’s cut, then order the next size up. If you want a looser, boxier fit, then then order the men’s cut. If you are unsure of your correct size, ask us to compare your measurements to the manufacturer’s specifications. And lastly, please submit your order by the deadline.

Why do I do this to myself? Well, T-shirts are a great promotional tool! If participants, supporters, and staff wear my shirts, they are walking advertisements for next year’s event. From the racer’s point of view, the shirt is a symbol of accomplishment and as a conversation-starter, a great way to connect with fellow runners and walkers. From the sponsor’s point of view, T-shirts provide exposure. From the charity’s perspective, race tees provide visibility to their cause. Therefore, despite the anxiety attacks, T-shirts are really a win-win for everyone.

To learn more about the intricacies of building and finding the perfect T-shirt, read the Wall Street Journal’s, “Finding the Perfect T-Shirt.” Happy running and walking!