Virtual Event Blog:  Does a Shirt Really Matter?

April 22, 2020

While considering our options for the 2020 Bellin Run, we had extensive discussions about going virtual. One major question was: would it further our mission and motivate people in our community to stay active during this difficult time? Our conclusion was, obviously, that it is worthwhile -- maybe not for all, but definitely for some. And part of that worth is the race shirt ... it’s so much more than an item of clothing.

When I put on my 2019 race shirt, it’s not just because it is comfortable to run in and provides good visibility because of the color. When I wear this shirt, it provides memories and motivation.

Last year was the first time in nine years that I was out on the race course. Our Race Director and I decided it would be fun and beneficial for us to switch off years running the event; it provides a different perspective and allows us to experience what our participants are experiencing – so we can take that knowledge and continually improve our event. This shirt brings back memories of being out on the course, encouraging and getting encouraged, thanking the volunteers and public safety personnel, taking in the signs and spectator appreciation, and seeing the Packers on the course. I have really missed the experience that is the Bellin Run – and this shirt brings that back for me.

I have another very valuable shirt in my “important shirts” box. As I was thinking about this whole race shirt concept, I dug out my Bellin Run shirt from 2000. This was the year when my 12-year-old son was doing his very first Bellin Run. He was not at all experienced at this distance, so the plan was for him to be conservative in his pace and enjoy the race. What I remember when I see this shirt is finishing the race, spending some time catching my breath with hands on my legs.  As I stood up and turned around, there was Brett crossing the finish line. He was breathless, red in the face and exhausted – but also so happy and proud of himself. 

Turns out, as I found out when I went back into the results – that race was my lifetime PR for the distance – but that’s not what I remember when I look at this shirt. It’s that memory of sharing the experience with my son that sticks out.

Some of you may not want to register for our virtual event because you don’t want another race shirt or don’t need that “goal” – and of course we hope you continue to get out there and stay active either way.

But if you want to remember all you endured during this pandemic, and how you overcame and stayed active – get registered, don that race bib and finish that 10K in June. And when you put on that race shirt, be proud of yourself – and of our community. When we all toe in the line in 2021, those memories and pride will be with us – and we’ll be ever so thankful.

Posted in:   |  4 Comments


  • I agree. All my raceshirts bring back memories everytime I wear one. Many races have been camcelled or moved to fall. Thanks for offering the virtual option. I’m uaually working Bellin weekend and it will be the same this year. With the virtual option I can still partcipate.

    Runnergirl    May 1, 2020 at 12:06 pm

  • Thank you for not just passing this year by I run with our son and this will be my 3rd year. He is an avid runner and we meet at the end. Last year was my second year and had to walk this time. I was recovering from Pancreatic cancer . I walked the race but had a pretty good time. I am “training” this year again as the cancer has come back. But we will be there. This race gives us a binding to what we love to do and enjoy the togetherness.  I will most likely be walking again but we will be there!~
    Exercise is something we love to do and we do it not because we have to but because we are blessed that we can!!
    Thank you and our best to all of you










    Dolores Behnke    May 5, 2020 at 1:08 pm

  • I have so many great memories of running the Bellin Run with my granddaughter Ashlynn, even if she passed me like lightining, it was so much fun to start together. And when i crossed the finish line to see my husband with his camera and.his smile showed me how proud he was of me. My granddaughter and i ran it 3 times together. I also treasure my medal, my bibs, t-shirts and the timers This year i had planned to run in my mom’s honor.  She passed away a year ago in February. I will be very proud to wear the virtual t-shirt and finish.

    Maria Forster    May 5, 2020 at 2:13 pm

  • Make up my mind please.
    To do the Bellin or not to do the Bellin? Every year I struggle with this more and more.
    I no longer run on roads and stick to softer surfaces for knees sake.  However, at one time
    The Bellin was the event of my running year. Every year I stand at the start line and get tears
    In my eyes when I hear the National Anthem and realize how fortunate I am to live in a community t
    hat supports healthy lifestyles.  As a minority female of average abilities, I can
    line up with some of the GOAT and celebrate with a run in an all inclusive event. 
    Given the uncertainty of times, NOW is the time to step up and support my community and
    promote healthy lifestyles.  A Big Plus is I can run on soft surfaces by going virtual.
    Eventually,  as the time nears I make the right decision.  It’s tradition. ~Rita

    Rita    May 11, 2020 at 2:47 pm

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