What do 439 T-Shirts Look Like?

Submitted By Tom Walski

Most runners get a lot of T-shirts. But most don’t keep all of them. However, some runners are pack rats (nice word for hoarders), and Nanticoke, PA’s Tom Walski is one of them.

Much to his wife’s chagrin, he has T-shirts stored all over the house, each one with a fond memory of a bygone race.

He recently decided to take inventory of his T-shirt collection. The total came out to 439. This includes a few from races where he volunteered (but none as gifts or souvenirs). He has lost or misplaced a few along the way and each missing shirt breaks his heart.

He has a head start over most runners having started racing in 1965 but in the ’60s T-shirts were rarely given out. His oldest T-shirt with a date on it is from a track meet in Allentown, PA in 1968. Most of the shirts are from Northeastern PA but he also spent about 11 years between Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas. The farthest a shirt has had to travel was from the Pikes Peak Ascent race in Colorado.

The breakdown by type of shirt shows that most race directors, especially in years gone by, preferred short-sleeve cotton shirts.

Cotton short sleeve 306
Cotton long sleeve 31
Tech short sleeve 77
Tech long sleeve 16
Tank top 7
Scrub 2
Total 439

And white is the race director’s favorite color (this table is by %). It’s also the least expensive. Some were hard to classify (e.g. is turquoise, blue or green?)

White 37
Red 5
Green 9
Gray/tan 15
Yellow 6
Orange 4
Blue 18
Black 5

So, keep saving your T-shirts and maybe one day you can end up in Runner’s Gazette (or the local psycho ward).

Tom Walski proudly displays his 439 T-shirts.

Categories: Features

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2 replies

  1. There is a company called Repat, they will take your t-shirts and make a quilt out of them. See website for more info. We purchased their service and we are very happy with the Quilt.


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