RUNNER’S COURT: “CASE OF THE SACRED SHIRT”

Bang that gavel!

Bang that gavel!

This past weekend I ran the Hollywood Half Marathon. I had a great time meeting up with friends before the race and I also PR’d, so a win/win for me.

And like I do with all races, I immerse myself in the whole atmosphere surrounding the event (hence my multiple “Experience” posts that I put up for each race). I came across something interesting before this year’s Hollywood Half Marathon that I think would make a great “beta test” for a hopefully recurring series on Tripping The Kenyans… “Runner’s Court.” This would be where I take a fun “controversial topic” and present it as a mock court case with me as presiding judge. And “No,” I haven’t gone out and bought a judge’s robe… as far as you know.

For the record, I’ll state the potential “Runner’s crime” and present some arguments for both the prosecution and defense. Then I’ll throw it to all of you to act as jury members. By commenting here, or on Facebook you can present your opinions to hopefully sway your fellow jury members (yup, get all “12 Angry Men” on ’em) and cast your vote. I’ll tabulate all of the guilty/non-guilty responses and render a verdict along with sentencing (if warranted). And did I mention I’m a hanging judge… bwa ha ha ha.

So without further ado… court is now in session.

“CASE OF THE SACRED SHIRT”

Evidence Item A: "The Legacy Shirt"

Evidence Item A: “The Legacy Shirt”

BACKGROUND: Runner’s, like other athletes, can be a superstitious lot and often engage in activities and exhibit behavior that might seem a bit “odd” to most people. One such superstition is that you should never wear a race’s shirt during that particular race because you haven’t “earned” it yet and risk angering the running gods and as a result have a bad race. You can check out more on this subject in a prior TTK post entitled “Running Nugget: The Forbidden Shirt.” At this year’s Hollywood Half Marathon, in addition to the regular race shirt (which should not be worn until after the race… unless you like to flip “the finger” to Zeus, Hermes and the rest o’ the immortals) the creators of the race awarded legacy runners (people who had run all 3 of the Hollywood Half Marathon races) a stylish “Legacy runner” shirt. The question that then came up; was the “legacy shirt” also subject to the superstition? People on both sides got into heated debate and now it shall be settled in a faux court of running law.

CHARGE: The Hollywood Half Marathon “legacy shirt” is indeed subject to the “Forbidden Shirt” protocol and runners should not wear it until after the 2014 race (or their subsequent 3rd running of the HHM) unless they want to risk offending the universe and being “smited”… “smotten”… um, bad things happening.

PROSECUTION (OPENING STATEMENT): The “rules” imply that no shirt given/purchased for a race can be worn at that particular race. It must be “earned” by completion of said race and thereby “exorcising the race demons.” Once the race has been run, the shirt or shirts in question can be worn forever and “ad nauseum.” So suck it.

DEFENSE (REBUTTAL): The rules are hazy on this matter and open to interpretation. The “Legacy shirt” is not in fact a shirt given for that particular race, but rather to reward the runner’s “continuing insanity” by running a race year after year after year. It falls outside of the jurisdiction of “Forbidden Shirt” protocol. Dumbass!

PROSECUTION: The legacy shirt is indeed a running shirt made of dri-fit material and intended to be worn during the race to show fellow runners and spectators that they support the event and all it stands for. They also want to rock that shirt for the photographers (and selfies) and show off their impressive runner’s physiques to all who watch and drool. It therefore qualifies as a race shirt and should not be worn at that particular running of The Hollywood Half Marathon. You wanna meet out back later and settle this like real lawyers?

Justice will be done!

Justice will be done!

DEFENSE: The legacy shirt was given as a reward for the runner’s dedication to this fun race and the moment it was handed out the participant is declared a “legacy runner” thereby automatically making the shirt “Racing Demon-free.” And if they wash it before the race any linger traces of bad mojo should be whisked away in the rinse cycle. I’m ready when you are, so bring it bitch.   

PROSECUTION’S CLOSING STATEMENT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, a runner of The Hollywood Half Marathon is declared a legacy runner after completing 3 consecutive races. By receiving the shirt in 2014 they will have only actually completed two races (2012 & 2013). They must therefore run the 2014 race “sans legacy shirt” in order to activate the “lifetime racing demon protection guarantee.” It is only safe to be worn after the race or in subsequent races. To do otherwise is to risk being struck down with an achy knee, stitch in the side or runner’s trots. And to quote the case of Bud Light vs. Superstitions… “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.” The prosecution rests.

DEFENSE’S CLOSING STATEMENT: The legacy shirt created by The Hollywood Half Marathon is indeed a tribute to the spirit of the runners competing in the race and enjoying the hell out of themselves. They’ve already agreed not to wear the regular race shirt and that should be enough of a sacrifice to appease the running gods. They therefore should be able to wear the legacy shirt without fear of retribution or crazy acts of “omnipotent revenge” like gastrointestinal distress or unexplained wedgies. Or they could also just declare the whole “Forbidden Shirt” protocol to be utter superstitious nonsense and wear whatever the hell they want whenever they want (although I’d have to advise against it). And if I may quote THE TERMINATOR, there is… “No fate but what we make.” I love that flick. The defense rests.

Running justice hard at work.

Running justice hard at work.

JUDGE’S INSTRUCTIONS: The members of the jury (the running community) having heard the arguments from the prosecution and defense must decide for themselves and vote. One thing that should be noted by all members of the jury is regardless of the vote the “legacy shirt” is a very cool looking shirt and a great reward to the runners who support The Hollywood Half Marathon year in and year out. In fact I’m wearing mine under my robe right now. I make no promises about pants.

So with that information and horrific mental picture in your mind, please cast your vote in the comment’s section on the TTK website or Facebook page where this is posted.

GUILTY- The HHM “legacy shirt” and all other legacy shirts are subject to the “Forbidden Shirt” protocol and should not be worn until after the race where it was issued.

NOT GUILTY- The HHM “legacy shirt” is exempt from the “Forbidden Shirt” protocol and is free to be worn immediately… but still wash it first, so it’s nice and soft and clean.

The votes shall be tallied (majority wins) until 12:00pm PST on Tuesday April 8th. A verdict (and potential sentencing) will then be read.

Court is adjourned while the jury deliberates… and Run on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on April 7, 2014, in General, Humor, Runner's Court and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. You are very strange. But I’m glad I started following your blog.

    Guilty. But only if you buy into these superstitions to begin with. Basically, both shirts are equally valid, or not valid, is the point I’m trying to make.

    • I’ve long since given up trying to control my weirdness; it’s just easier that way. Thanks for reading Erika and your vote has been tallied. Fun stuff.

  2. With all due respect (cough, cough) to the prosecution, I believe the HHM founders established their application of the “Legacy Bling” definition in year 2 wherein the “Legacy” label was applied to the race bib, thus marking the Legacy runners for the currently-enrolled event. This does NOT relieve the participant of the standard expectations of the running gods with regard to the actual event shirt!

    • Please note that the prosecution has been reprimanded for their oversight and summarily been dipped in puppy chow and fed to rabid poodles. No slackers in my court. Thanks for reading.

  3. In my mind it needs a clarifying question: Was the Legacy shirt given in ADDITION to an actual race shirt? If it’s a separate shirt, then my vote is NOT GUILTY. If it was the ONLY shirt, then my vote is GUILTY.

    • It was an “additional” shirt. I was surprised myself when I went in a saw I was getting doubly dressed. So, “Not Guilty” it is.

  4. Guilty! You haven’t finished 3 yet. I’m also very superstitious about my racing shirts.

    • Kinda silly I know, but “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.” And who am I to argue the logic of a beer commercial. So, I didn’t wear my shirt during the race either… wore one yesterday and one today. But next year I will be rocking the legacy shirt.

  5. Am I able to vote?! lol

    • Hi Sabrina… of all people you and Ken are both encouraged to vote and I would gladly put your opinions in the tomorrow’s “verdict.” I also wrote a review of the race, which Race Grader reposted. You guys have been wonderful (I’m a huge fan of what you’ve done with HHM) and will happily do whatever I can to help promote the race in 2015 and beyond. And thanks for reading.

  6. Not guilty!
    Argument is flawed. Have been determined to be legacy already, after the second race. That race, the legacy indicator was the BIB!
    How are you not going to wear it during the race?
    It appears that it is required to wear your legacy gear during the race it is given for!
    This was the third year. A shirt was given. A shirt was worn.

    • I will let the prosecutor know that his argument has more holes than swiss cheese (or one of my old Peachtree Road Race T-shirts from the ’90s). Thanks for reading.

  7. Wait. I’ve done 15 races and this is the first I’m hearing about a shirt superstition. I, ironically, don’t wear the new shirt in a corresponding race, but that’s because I have my own running gear for long distances. However, I was very proud to wear my Legacy shirt in Saturday’s race. I earned the right to wear it despite my bib already saying Legacy (which is printed very tiny at the bottom.) Legacy Status aside, you should be able to wear the normal shirt in the race because you PAID for the race entry, regardless if you actually do the race or not. What you EARN is the medal for crossing the finish line. You don’t get that at the expo for good reason. That would surely anger the running Gods if you start wearing the medal before running the race. Where do I vote for this fun, yet hilarious debate. I love you all! 🙂

    • Hi Kelly, thanks for reading. I remember when I first heard the superstition… it totally made me laugh and it’s something I’ve adopted. Of course, it’s kinda silly like “knocking on wood” or avoiding stepping on a crack “lest you break your mama’s back,” yet it’s something many of us still do. What I love is the passion that everyone has surrounding it. Good stuff.

  8. Not Guilty.
    I was a Legacy Runner before the race started, and I am still a Legacy Runner. I paid no extra for the shirt, nor was the race cheaper for non-legacy runners. I consider the shirt a reward (pronounced ‘gift’) from SuperHero for my commitment, and regulated like running presents from friends and family, which would include items gifted in preparation for an upcoming run.
    The running deities must agree as my time was about the same as last year, when I was not wearing the shirt. And I am free of GI and stitch issues.

    • Thanks for reading and congrats on your time for Saturday. The running gods can be a finicky bunch and hard to comprehend at times. I love the passion and strong feelings that everyone is showing toward the subject. I appreciate the comment and “Run on!”

  9. I was sewn up with a guilty vote. Let Hermes strike them down! But then… Not Guilty. Juror #12, (Buckley C.), convenced me. Impeccable logic. (The rule does, of course, still apply to individual race shirts, and Hermes will be keeping a close eye on them!)
    )

  10. I was ready to type guilty, all caps, but it took soooo long to get to the comment section. I started reading everyone’s comments. And then it happened. I changed my mind!! Very good jurors you have. Buckley C was the last straw. I’m changing my vote and going with not guilty. (But I still wouldn’t have worn the shirt until after the race. Not brave enough!)

    • Some very persuasive arguments… you running “jurors” are all a dynamic bunch. I have a feeling it’s going to be a close vote.

  11. Guilty.
    In my court, I don’t usually explain my decisions in such detail since I’m not trying to convince anyone to change their minds.
    But, superstitions aside, I decree that race shirts should never be worn at the race for which they are given. From a social standpoint, conversation starter, who ever came up to you at a race and said “You’re at this race? So am I!!” No, your fellow runners share their recollections of said race “Route 66?, Was that freezing, or what?” Or seek out your wisdom “I’m trying to decide which Pennsylvania race to do, do you recommend Philly or is there a better one?”
    For the sake of all that is social, don’t wear the shirt!!

    • Good point Larry. Thanks for reading and the vote. I think it’s going to be a close one tomorrow. I’ll be very curious when I tally things up tomorrow.

  12. Guilty, but not because of any superstition, because of the sacred law: “Thou shalt not wear anything new on race day!” as taught to me by my coach Bert.

  13. Well now I know for sure you have an overactive mind!!! Great post! And NOT guilty!

    • Thanks… and yes my imagination is typically in overdrive. At least it’s never boring. I figured I’d get a handful of people to vote, but I’ve got a whole bunch to tally up and it’s cool how passionate people were about it all.

  14. I will abstain from voting (what with you having not only already rendered the verdict but that I’m not a runner), but will pipe up to give you a hearty “WELL DONE!” (And for those of you who think Scott’s weird, you ain’t seen nothin’…trust me!)

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