My friend Nick Anderson used to explain that as a coach he is interested in the runner 24 hours a day, not just the hour or three that he or she is actually running each day. Let’s face it, it is relatively easy to ‘be a runner’ when you are actually running. But the other 21 hours a day, when there are all the distractions that come from life; family, friends and work, then it is much harder to be a full time runner.
And what about what you wear when you are not actually running? It’s easy to look like a runner when you are running. But perhaps less so when you are not – trainers and a suit looks a bit daft and running tights in the office is a definite no-no in my books (at least they are for me!) It is probably ironic then that people who consider themselves to be a runner – who define themselves as a runner – often look like every other person on the street when they are not doing the thing that they love. Obviously if that is not a problem for you, then you are in a good place. But for me – whose life is all about running now – I want to advertise my passion for the sport.
The answer… t-shirts!
I have always wondered why races supply either huge t-shirts (London Marathon, I’m looking at you) that end up straight in the bin, or poor-quality technical t-shirts that I am only going to wear when I’m running and only when none of my good quality t-shirts are clean (which is pretty much never). I do like wearing the cotton t-shirt that I got from the Great North Run 25th edition and from the Hampstead Heath Pond-a-thon – the only ones that fit me. And recently I have had a chance to advertise my love of running with some lifestyle t-shirts.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by SUNDRiED who wanted to send me one of their t-shirts. It is an odd situation when you are asked to review a non-technical t-shirt, but I was happy to see what they are producing. They send me a small black t-shirt from their ‘Run’ series.
SUNDRiED describes itself as a brand that was created by surfers in Peru. They produce t-shirts, sunglasses, hoodies and some other bits, all emblazoned with either their logo or a graphic word or phrase. In terms of the actual t-shirt, they feel amazing. The first one I received, was a men’s small in black with the word ‘RUN’ emblazoned across the front. That was a bit too neat for me (blame my lack of running rather than the t-shirt – I guess I am not quite a small any more!) and it was pretty quickly ‘borrowed’ by my wife. So SUNDRiED sent me another one – khaki, size medium. It is lovely and will not be being borrowed by anyone! It is a really neat fit, soft organic cotton and I really like the simplicity of the logo.
The other running t-shirts that I have really been enjoying wearing – for a whole host of reasons – are the ones that we produced for the Like the Wind magazine Pop-Up*.
The t-shirts were designed by Fergus McHugh, one of the illustrators who works on the magazine. Fergus came up with five designs and I think they are all brilliant. We ended up only producing three of the designs that Fergus came up with, due to financial restrictions, and I have nabbed one of each for myself. But I don’t just love the t-shirts because the designs are cool – having been involved in the manufacturing process, I really enjoyed sourcing the organic cotton t-shirts, finding a printer and deciding on the sizes that we would have produced. Obviously I am biased, but I think that the LtW t-shirts are great. I am also really looking forward to seeing someone wearing one when I am not expecting to see it.
Be a runner, dress like a runner!
So there you have it – I love the idea that I can express my love of running all the time through the power of t-shirts. The streets are full of people pronouncing their affiliations and the things that they enjoy doing, so why not do the same as a runner? What are your favourite running-related t-shirts or items of clothing?
* Disclaimer – I am the editor and co-founder of Like the Wind magazine. You can find out more here.