Heels over Head: What your running T-shirt says about you

2013-11-08 08:00

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Need an excuse to gawk and admire the scenery like a tourist? Need people in Cape Town to understand why you feel compelled to greet everyone you pass on the street in the early morning?

Wear your Nike’s Run Jozi T-shirt.

The sexy grey race shirts with their dipping V-necks from the recent 10km we did last month fit so well with Jozi’s image as a glam, classy and serious place to come from.

It’s just that not many people in the Mother City admired it as much as I wanted them to.

I wore it during a run from Sea Point to Camps Bay last week when I wanted to take in the sights on a particularly, peculiarly, wind-still, mind-blowingly beautiful day.

There was actually a spot of pity in the faces of the other runners and the designer walkers – most of them wearing neutral non-race T-shirts.

Maybe in Cape Town people don’t run many races, or maybe the races don’t have T-shirts, or maybe people won’t be seen dead, nevermind running, in a T-shirt declaring that it was a race freebie and that you’re a nerd.

Runners aren’t known for their fashion sense.

Or maybe they’re just all snobs.

There was one kindred spirit on the run, though, a greying guy whose white T-shirt – the cotton type that haven’t been distributed at reputable marathons for a few years now – declared from behind that he did the Sydney marathon in 1995.

Pretty cool. I smiled and greeted him warmly as I passed. He was running with the characteristic shuffling gait of a veteran marathoner. All of us endorphin addicts with running shoes are headed for that shuffle one day.

Somewhat floored by the Run Jozi T-shirt experience, I decided to wear my 2012 bright yellow Comrades shirt on the promenade the next day.

This try was a bit more successful. There were considerably more people with race T-shirts (maybe because it was a Sunday), although it’s pretty much Two Oceans or bust around there.

However, some people who were running slower than I’d walk, or even crawl, and who did it in four-wide packs that blocked the whole pavement, were wearing Big Walk shirts.

There was one Gun Run shirt too, but those are paid-for and I cannot imagine paying for such a disappointing design (I mean, who wants a white polyester – or is it nylon? – running shirt that will go yellow in no time anyway?).

The highlight, however, was the guy who also wore his Comrades shirt on the day. It was a blue one, which, if I remember correctly, dates from 2011.

We greeted with knowing smiles – the kind shared by owners of the Comrades running shirt anywhere in the world.

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