I make coasters out of race bibs.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, race bibs are those numbers you see marathoners wearing on their shirts or shorts while running a marathon. They usually have a number printed on them, or if you’re watching the “elite” runners on TV, they usually have their NAME printed on them.
In the marathoning world, you’re required to pick up your race bib the day before your marathon, or event. You need to show ID to prove it’s really you running a sub-6 minute mile, or walking a 25 minute mile. This number is also what’s used by the official race photographers to index the pictures they take on the course.
After “packet pick-up” you usually attend what’s called an “Expo” where you peruse the sponsors’ gear and then visit about a hundred different booths of products the vendors try and convince you that you need to successfully complete your event.
After carbo-loading, when you get back to your home or hotel room, you lay out your race-day outfit, starting with your hair tie or hat down to your sneakers and emergency shoe tag. You pin your race bib to your shirt, and it usually takes about 3 tries to get it positioned just right.
At dark o’clock your alarm goes off. You wake up to a few text messages wishing you luck then you get dressed. From hair tie to shoe tag. You have your normal training breakfast and soda or coffee, and make your way to the start.
You run, walk or crawl 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Excitement, fear, pain, tears, sweat, cramping, blisters, heat, cold, motivation, rain, music, cheering, etc. It’s the longest 1.5 to 9 hours of your life. Then it’s over. And you’re planning your next one.
You go back to your room. Before your ice bath, after a last-minute hamstring stretch, you peel off that sweaty shirt with the bib attached. I’m guessing that most of you don’t even take out the safety pins. It goes in a “dirty clothes” bag.
You get home, undo the pins, and have no idea what to do with your bib. You wonder if the number has any significance and you calculate your birthday, anniversary, date of your first kiss etc. You put it in a box or a file folder or on your bulletin board. You think it’s cool that since you registered early, they included your name. Then you get an email with your race photos indexed by your bib number. You order one or two, and swear to make believe you’re running and smile the next time you pass the photographer. And that bib assumes its place in your stash of “o.m.g. I can’t believe I did this” stuff.
And that’s where I come in.