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How To Put On A Race Bib

A race bib is the way you are identified as you run a race. It has a number tag on it and is clipped to the front of your shirt with safety pins.

You should wear your race bib so that it can be seen clearly throughout the entirety of the race.

How to put on a race bib

If you are wearing a jumper that you plan to take off, you should pin your race bib to the shirt you are wearing underneath. 

Some race bibs will include a tracking chip for an electronic record of race rankings. These numbers are also how the finishing photos of the race will be uploaded and found.

Positioning the race bib

We suggest wearing the shirt you are running in before you attempt to pin the race bib on. This is because the shirt will hang differently when it is on your body as it will lay on the bed.

Another bonus to attaching your bib in this fashion is that you can ensure the fit is comfortable for moving in. 

Check the rules of your race, and whether your bib contains a chip. If it doesn’t, and there are no race rules prohibiting the crumpling of your bib, crumple it.

This is because there will be less air resistance from the bib as it will mold closer to the shape of your body.

If your bib has a chip inside and you crumple it up then this could interfere with the recording of your time. 

Find the center spot of your torso. Place the bib here, slightly below your chest level. Try to keep it as central as possible and flatten the bib out across your body.

This makes sure that your race bib is clearly visible to all officials and onlookers. Pinning it here will also mean that it does not get in the way of your running. 

If the organizers of the race ask you to reposition your bib, please do so. Failing to do this could mean you are disqualified.

Pinning on your race bib 

You should pin your bib at each of the 4 corners with safety pins. If your bib has holes at the corners, thread the safety pin through these.

If this does not feel secure enough, then you can add more pins.

An alternative to safety pins is race clips. These are plastic clips that do not make holes in your running shirt. Some of these race clips make use of magnets to secure the bibs in place.

They are a more expensive alternative to safety pins but some runners prefer them. They may not be as readily available as safety pins and you may need to order them online or at a running store. 

Another way to secure the bib to your shirt is to use running tape or double-sided tape. These can be applied on the underside of your bib.

You can then peel off the backing and secure it to the fabric of your shirt. This will allow your bib to remain attached to your clothing without making holes.

You are likely to need safety pins if you are using double-sided tape, as this will not be secure enough by itself.  

If you are attaching your race bib to your belt, you should first check this is in line with the rules of the race. You can buy specially designed race toggles online.

These are looped over your race belt and through the holes in your race bib.

Fasten the toggle and repeat on the other side. For this method, you only secure the top two holes of the bib. 

Finishing touches

There are sometimes tickets attached with a perforated line to the bottom of your race bib. This could be anything from a raffle ticket, to a freebie coupon, to a ticket for your checked bags. 

Check bag tickets are required before the race so that your belongings can be stored. Leave any other useful tickets attached to the bib for use after the race.

If you see a B-Tag timing device on the back of the bib, leave this attached. This is used to track when you begin the race and cross the finishing line. They ensure accuracy and fairness throughout the race.

What are race bibs made from?

The most popular material used when making race bibs is something called Tyvek. This is a waterproof and tear-proof material that is incredibly durable. It is ideally suited to every type of race and can be both printed and written on. 

Another popular construction material is Pretex. This is very similar to Tyvek but is a slightly less durable material.

It is cheaper and very popular in the UK and across the rest of Europe. It is good for shorter races but may break during endurance races. 

Race bibs can also be made of paper or card. They are cheap but can tear easily. They are not waterproof and are very susceptible to disintegration when exposed to water. 

There are also self-adhesive race numbers.

These are useful for high speed events where the air resistance could cause a looser race bib to fall off. They are more expensive than Tyvek.

What are the parts of a race bib?

At the top and bottom of the bib, you will find a perforated strip. The top one is pulled off and is collected by the organizers of the race at the start or finish.

The bottom strip is usually used to check in your bag. It may also contain coupons for freebies at the end of the race.

Your race number will be printed in large font in the center of your race bib. The background may be colored.

This will dictate the start zone of your target’s pace. Sometimes the race organizers will also print the runner’s name in this section. 

Underneath this, you will see the logos of your race sponsors. This area will also contain your start zone code. This dictates where the runner will begin the race from. 

There is a barcode printed to the right of your participant number. This is used to check the runners into the race as they arrive at the site.

On the back, you will notice your timing chip which accurately records your running pace and finishing ranking.

As well as this you will find sections to fill in your emergency contact details in case anything happens. You will also see the terms and conditions printed here if you fancy looking them over again. 

Now you have all the information, get ready to run!


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