Oct | 7

I Hope The Shirt is Cute: My Journey in Buying Race Merch

On July 20, 2014, the On the Run stadium tour co-headlining Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z hit Safeco Field in Seattle and my friends and I were pumped at the opportunity to celebrate this historical musical occasion.

Our adrenaline was flowing, the certainty of pyrotechnics loomed large and our pre-show chatter centered around two very important topics: 1) The opening song and 2) when to hit the merchandise “merch” stand. Without much debate, we agreed the opener would be a mash up where both Beyoncé and Jay-Z had their turns at wowing the crowd before coming together to deliver a totally gangster rendition of ’03 “Bonnie and Clyde.”

Looking back, I cannot recall the opening song. But I can tell you that my friend and I made the hotly debated choice to hold-off on the pre-show merch visit, reasoning the lines would be much shorter if we waited until the half way point.

By the time we arrived, though, the only things left were posters, kids tank tops and variety of sweatshirts – none in our respective sizes. I like a poster as much as the next gal, but I can’t wear a poster on the days I’m feeling extra fierce. I left empty handed and supremely disappointed.

Fast forward to May 2015, the same friend and I ran the Rock-n-Roll Portland Half Marathon (see the picture of us at the top of the post!). We traveled to Portland and hit the expo for packet pick up separately, agreeing to meet for dinner later that evening.

My husband and I arrived at the expo hungry (bordering on hangry), and cruised through packet pick up. We paused in the Brooks booth to check out the race shirts (I knew in advance I wanted one, and there were some super cute designs!) and chat with co-workers. The lure of free yogurt, mini cliff bars and Pop Chips meant I didn’t take time to buy anything right then, thinking I could snag a shirt later on even if it meant heading back to the expo.

Later on arrived, and guess what? I couldn’t find the shirt I liked in my size. Scratch that. I couldn’t find any shirt in my size. Turns out the other women running the race had liked the designs just as much as I had. I left empty handed and supremely disappointed.

In the car ride to the hotel I had this strange feeling, something about this scene felt familiar. As we pulled in I realized the familiar feeling was a blown chance at memorabilia to commemorate another special moment with my friend.

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Beyonce’s Cake by the Pound sweatshirt. Photo via beyonce.com.

I’m not one to insist on a T-shirt for every concert or every race.  But, I do believe it is worth commemorating special moments in life, whether they are individual accomplishments or milestones shared with friends.  Because of this, I believe something small like a race t-shirt with an evergreen tree or a sweatshirt with the saying “cake by the pound” has the power to bring back great memories, make you feel a little more fierce and even encourage you to run a little faster.

I learned my lesson the hard way, twice, but I have a shot at redemption. I am running another half marathon with my friend in November. I can say with certainty I’ll hit the merch tent first.

Do you have a time you skipped the merch and later regretted it? Tell us about it in the comments.

About Erin Krause
Erin is the Global Director of Corporate and Brand Communications at Brooks. Her favorite activities include spending time with friends and family, live music, running with friends and eating good food.
  • Beth Grienke Kar

    Lincoln Marathon has an excellent expo! Good luck on shirt next time.

    • brooksblog

      @bethgrienkekar:disqus Great tip on the Lincoln Marathon! And thanks for the good luck wishes. I’m feeling good about my chances in November. – Erin

  • Laura D

    If it’s a popular race, a good many turn up on ebay.