An underrated yet important part of having a successful race is making sure that your race bib is secured correctly. Not only is it important for race officials to identify you, but if it isn’t securely fastened, it can become uncomfortable and irritate you whilst you’re running.
It’s also important that you wear your race bib as professional photographers will take official pictures during the race. You’ll be able to use your unique race number to find your race photos.
One of the golden rules is that you must put your race bib on the front of your shirt, otherwise you won’t be able to get any of your pictures.
There are a few different ways in which you can attach your race bib to your shirt but the most common way is to use safety pins. If you’re wearing a jumper that you plan on taking off during the race, it’s best to pin it to the shirt you’re wearing underneath.
Some racers like to pin their bibs to their shorts too, but it’s far more comfortable and out of the way if you attach it to your shirt.
Attaching Your Race Bib with Safety Pins
Step 1: Make Sure You Have Everything
First, you’ll need to make sure you have four safety pins, the sturdier the better, as this is what you’ll use to fasten your bib. It’s important that you use four, as if you only have two pins secured at the top, your bib can flap around and annoy you during your race.
Some people like to attach their bib before they put their shirt on. We don’t recommend doing this as it can be difficult to put your shirt on when the bib is already attached to it. It may also not be in the right position and can lie awkwardly against your body.
We also recommend writing your emergency contact information on the back of your bib if you have space.
Step 2: Position the Bib and Begin Pinning
Once you’ve put your shirt on, the next step is to hold the bib against your front and find the position you’d like to pin it to. We recommend putting it across your abdomen and not your chest, as the pins may irritate you where your shirt is fitted against your upper body.
You also don’t want to place it too low down as it will move around too much if it’s close to your hips and legs.
Once you find the perfect spot for your bib, make sure it’s straight. Use one of the safety pins to secure one of the top corners. Take extra care not to stab yourself, and ask someone else for help if you need it.
Step 3: Pin the Other Top Corner
Take the other top corner and position it so it’s straight across from the already pinned corner. Once the bib is flat on your shirt, pin the other top corner. Make sure it looks straight, either using a mirror or by asking a friend, as it can be hard to tell when you’re looking down at yourself.
Step 4: Pin the Bottom
Once you have the top two pins in place, you can now secure the bottom two. Start by smoothing the bib down so that it is lying flat, and there are no wrinkles. Take your last two safety pins to secure the bottom corners of your bib into place.
Step 5: Remove Any Unnecessary Tickets
Some race bibs come with a strip of perforated paper at the bottom. This might include a raffle ticket, a bag check ticket, or a ticket for a race perk (often it will be a free drink or shirt). You can remove the ones that you will need before a race, such as the bag check, and leave the ones that you will need for later.
If there are any unnecessary ones, discard them.
If there is a B-Tag timing device attached to the back of your bib, do not remove it. This is an electronic tracker used by race officials that will track when you cross the start and finishing line to give you an accurate time.
Step 6: Do a Final Check
Once everything’s in place, do one last check to make sure your bib isn’t crooked, wrinkled, or uncomfortable. It’s worth checking race rules, especially if you have a chip or tracker in your bib, as a crumpled race bib can be against the rules.
We recommend using these safety pins from Amazon, as they are sturdy enough to prevent your bib from falling off during your race.
Using Race Clips to Attach Your Bib
As we mentioned earlier, there are a few different ways that you can attach your race bib. A popular alternative is to use race clips as a replacement for safety pins. As safety pins can leave holes in your clothes, a lot of runners have switched to using race clips instead.
These are clips with plastic backs that function kind of like a popper button to secure your bib to your shirt. Other race clips use magnets to hold the bib in place.
These are more expensive than safety pins, but are far more comfortable. We found these running clips on Amazon to be the best, and they’re also relatively inexpensive.
To attach your bib with race clips, follow the same steps as previous. The only difference is that the back of the clips must be attached underneath your shirt so that it can connect with the piece on top to secure your bib in place.
Using Running Tape to Secure Your Bib
Running tap is also another great alternative to using safety pins that won’t poke holes through your shirt.
Running tape is fairly easy to apply. Place a strip of it over the top and bottom of your bib, making sure that your bib is straight and flat. Pull off the tape backing to secure it into place.
You won’t be able to use ordinary tape as it won’t be strong enough to secure your bib properly. This double sided heavy duty tape will keep your bib secure and in place. You can also use some electrical tape over safety pins for extra security.
Things to Keep in Mind
Some people crumple their bibs before they attach them as they fit to the contours of your body better. Before you do this, make sure you check race rules, as some races don’t permit this.
Also, a lot of bibs contain tracking chips to record your race time. If you crumple your bib or wear it on your shorts, you can damage the chip, which means that you won’t have an officially recorded time.
What are Race Bibs Made From?
The most common material used to make race bibs is something called Tyvek. Tyvek is a waterproof and tear-proof material which is known for being durable. It can be both printed on and written on, which makes it a great material to use for race bibs.
Another popular material is Pretex. It’s pretty similar to Tyvek, but it’s not as much of a durable material. It is more commonly used in the UK and Europe. Although it’s fine for short races, it can often break during long distance endurance races.
One of the cheaper materials used for race bibs is paper or card. However, they’re not waterproof, and tear easily, so they’re not the most ideal material to use.
Some of the more high speed events, such as sprints, use self-adhesive race numbers. They are more expensive than Tyvek, but there’s no risk of them falling off.
Now you have all the tips you need to get yourself race ready!