Monday, November 7, 2011

Running the Numbers

Huge congrats to all who ran yesterday, in the NYC Marathon. The city was mobbed over the weekend. And for once, it was by out-of-towners with extremely low body mass.

While more than 47,000 race bibs were issued for this year’s marathon, it’s unlikely that very many of the Tyvek placards will end up in land-fill. Most will be kept as a souvenir of the 26.2-mile run through the city. In fact, many runners keep the bibs from all their races, and much can be found online about how to store and display accumulated bibs.

The typographic variety in these bib collections, is great-looking, but as a non-runner, I am clueless as to any inherent meaning or nuance. For example, I only learned on Sunday, that for NYC Marathoners, numbers are assigned by expected speed--faster runners get lower numbers. I like to imagine that an experienced racer could glance at any collection of bibs and determine, based on the range of fonts, colors, sizes, etc. the historic period, geographic location, and level of runner it belongs to. As ephemera goes, the bibs are particularly fascinating in that the items are of no inherent value or significance in any way. Except, of course, that they are enormously significant as representations of a particular event to a particular individual. Some runners, when commenting on their collections, say that each bib triggers the vivid memory of each race.

After watching the mylar-caped finishers stream out of Central Park, I am in total awe of every entrant in the 42nd running of the NYC Marathon. I am especially proud of runner number 15-512, my nephew Sam, who finished in 3 hours, 42 minutes.

This collection is interactive. Click on any bib at Joe's Diner
to see race info.

Hanging bibs from Running the Family.

DIY race bib tote bag at

Jacket made from your own race numbers!
Via Wellsphere "What to do with all your race stuff."

A colorful collection of bibs from rundomshots.

Another colorful collection accompanies this race-bib display tutorial.

See the photo gallery of race-bibs-as-wallpaper.

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