File this post under: I can't believe no one has thought of this before, and if they have, why aren't we all doing it?
As I've mentioned before, Darcy and I are heading to Dubai next Thursday, and I've contacted the local running clubs to get more info on places to go and if they have group runs, workouts, etc. On Monday I got an e-mail from a guy named Marek with the Dubai Creek Striders, and he gave me info on their workouts and invited me to join them! The nice thing is one of their workouts is in a park just blocks from our hotel, it has a 1-mile loop where I think I will also do my long run on Sunday.
I replied with a thank you for the info and then let him know that I am a member of the Chicago Area Runners Association, and would he be interested in swapping one of his club's shirts for one of mine? I haven't heard back from him, but I'm taking a couple of shirts with me in case anyone is interested.
Swapping jersies is common in other sports, where competitors often exchange their shirts after a game. Heck, in auto racing they even swap helmets! I see it as a sign of respect and a chance to add something cool to a memorabilia collection, which is kind of awesome.
Anyway, it got me to thinking, why don't runners do the same thing? I'm not necessarily talking about pulling your sweaty, nasty shirt off after a race -- but if you want to do that it's fine by me -- I'm talking about shirts that sit in your drawer or your closet, a shirt that maybe you have gotten over but someone else might think is pretty cool.
It would be kind of awesome if at meetups, races or whatever people could bring a shirt from their collection and exchange it with someone else. It could be a race shirt, a club shirt, or even one supporting your kids' track and cross country program (my son Matt probably has a couple of Benedictine University XC shirts he'd give up!). If you don't wear it any more, someone else might!
I think it would be neat to run in a shirt from a club in California, or one from Dubai, or wear a race shirt from somewhere I'd love to run a race. Or it could be an inspiration of sorts, if a shirt has a great story, you can wear it on a run when you need a little pick me up. Heck, just getting the shirt from someone would be a great story, a fun memory of a get-together that might spark a conversation down the road that leads to you making another running friend.
Or, you could even do it surprise style -- exchange addresses and just send one to each other. The possibilities are endless.
If that is something you are interested in, hit me up on social media and let's start a conversation. I think it would be a great way to get to know people and make the running community even stronger!