The other day I came across a blog post titled Why We All Hate Your 13.1 Stickers.
“It’s amazing how three numbers and a decimal point can single-handedly turn someone into a big, arrogant butthole.” -Bryan Voughn
Though immensely lacking in sophistication and very poorly delivered, the article raised an interesting point. I had purchased my 26.2 bumper sticker within minutes of completing my marathon, unbeknownst to even the idea that it could come across as boastful. When I see anyone sporting an icon like Ironman, something I have never achieved, I don’t resent them. I praise them.
But I get it. Bryan sees it as if high schoolers drove around with their SAT score posted on their windows. Its the specificity of the number that upsets him. He even says a pair of running shoes or simply the word “Run” would not convey the same arrogant message. What Bryan fails to understand is that 13.1 and 26.2 ARE symbols. We aren’t driving around with stickers of our marathon finish times. These stickers aren’t to make us feel superior to naked cars on the road. We post our stickers because we are part of a community.
On my twitter feed the next day was a inspiring public response letter defending the rights of runners to wear these badges proudly. Megan at Miles Over Matter wrote what every runner wanted to say to Bryan. She humorously summed it up, inviting all the non-runners to join in on the culture. “you’ll see that 13.1 and 26.2 aren’t just obnoxious numerals” She wrote, “they’re invitations to an amazing journey”.