Safety pins

Watching the athletics at Crystal Palace, I notice the competitors are all kitted out in hi-tech, cutting edge kit that's precision engineered for peak performance. But they still have their numbers attached with four manky old safety pins. Surely someone should have found a better solution to this by now? And it's not a case of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it', speaking as someone who finished a race last weekend (along with all the other competitors) wearing four pins and no number, in the pelting rain. And I have been painfully jabbed in the past. Come on manufacturers of leading edge adhesives, put some thought into it!


  • Is this about to become the new BEWARE XXXX thread?
    Tri-belts look snazzy but the number itself flaps about everywhere, sticky tape is more restrictive than pins and I guess adhesives don't work so well on wet stuff. It's easier to make a waterproof number than it is to make a flexible glue that sticks to wet skin and/or lycra.

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    sticking numbers to wet skin using safety pins. image

    safety pins are cheap. tri belts are not. If you forget your safety pins you can easily nab a few to replace them.

    velcro dots would be a pain in the butt.

    London 10k had numbers printed on T shirts - a one off costly use. Also not too popular.

    Crearting an adhesive that would stick to the myriad of natural and mademade fibres that we wear, plus all zippers fixings and fasteners, come off easily, be waterproof, last the duration of an ultra, not damage the fabric,

    would you like to pay for that without even having a market.

  • Gavlar CGavlar C ✭✭✭

    They may use safety pins but the numbers are straight and in the middle! I can never get that number in the right place or pin to avoid the nipple on the first attempt!!!!

  • I always spend ages fussing about to make sure the number's dead centre and spirit level straight. End up with about a million tiny holes and snags in whatever vest I'm wearing. Really hate the cheap paper numbers that, like RR says, always rip off in the wet. Whenever I turn up at a race registration and am given one of those plastic/tyvek indestructo-numbers, I know I'm going to have a good day.

    For marathons/ultras with cheapo paper numbers, I usually fold them up small and tuck them into a pocket, then write the number on my forearm in permanent ink. Having marshalled at a couple of ultras recently where entrants weren't wearing numbers and couldn't remember what theirs were, I suggested to the organisers that inking numbers on foreheads at the start might not be a bad idea!

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭


  • Gavlar CGavlar C ✭✭✭
    Sticky labels for the forehead!!!
  • RWD - I like the idea of numbers on the forehead. Althoug if it was a sunny day, you could end up with a semi-permanent sun tan mark. Bad if you happen to be number 666.

  • Sounds silly, but I'm supersticious/OCD (make your own mind up) when it comes to pins and numbers. I'll always take my own pins to the race, attach my number, then do each pin again so the number's as straight as can be. On wet days I'll also write it on my hand with a marker pen.
    Gavlar - Might give the sprinters an aerodynamic advantage, but I could sweat through a lot of labels over 10M or so!

  • Gavlar CGavlar C ✭✭✭
    Hold it down with cling film!!
  • I use this stuff

    It's a roll of double sided sticky foam type stuff (fairly thin).

    Cut a square for each corner of the number and hey presto. It sticks fine to both the number and to technical fabrics, and it's never come unstuck for me in the rain or wind. Indeed it withstood 4hrs and 19 minutes of torrential rain and gain force winds in the Greater Manchester Marathon earlier this year

  • At the expo for the Berlin Half Mara they were selling four pairs of tiny magnets to use to attach your number.

    Can't help thinking the ones on the inside of the t-shirt could rub though
  • Sticky88Sticky88 ✭✭✭

    During my first marathon in Paris, my number was pinned just above my running belt which was carrying sachets of energy gel. One of the sachet top (which had a 'tapered' neck to help tear the top off) got caught on my bottom left safety pin. I couldn't get the sachet off the pin and vice versa (not easy to do whilst running). In the end I had to stop running, took off my safety pin (still attached to number and sachet), rip the sachet off the pin, spilling the sticky gel all over both hands, then with very sticky fingers, attempted to reattach my number onto my vest as quickly as possible so I could carry on running - NOT easy! I then had to contend running with sticky hands until I could get hold of a bottle of water at the stations to wash my sticky hands!

    That all didn't happen during my training runs because I didn't have my number on.....perhaps I should have practise my running with my number on?!

  • There was someone at our club before I joined who used to laminate his race numbers. Yes, before he wore them.

    Much as I hate the old safety-pins, I can imagine that must be pretty uncomfortable.
  • Magnets instead of safety-pins...

    Check my website. I have a solution to your problem with safety pins.

    Only 16 grams total weight and no rubbing on the inside of the t-shirt.

  • iron-on transfers that wash off.... sorted! image

  • There was a bloke on Radio 2 a couple of weeks ago who has a new device.

    It's basically a plastic nipple that you put behind your top, and a cap that you push onto it from the otherside with the number n your t shirt in between. 

    He was saying companies can brand the buttons on the front.  Sounds a reasonable idea forgot his website as I was thinking of trying em myself.


  • Sounds almost like our product. We can do the same.Our product is a plastic shell with a small magnet inside.

    Companies can buy our product with company logo or running clubs with club name, etc.



  • I like safety pins.

  • Pins are simple, cheap and do the job well. I would suggest that the issue with finishing with no number is a problem with the numbers used, not with the pins. I have never had a number come off, and have been racing all sorts of different distances since 1988!

  • Over the years I've had quite a few numbers rip repeatedly at the pin holes and end up in tattered shreds by the end of the race. If I have a flimsy type number, I fold it over top and bottom so I'm pinning through two layers of paper which keeps everything together a bit better. I've never had a problem with the pins themselves.

  • i dont mind the pins so much as the size of the number...being only 4'11 i have to fold both top & bottom edges just to fit it onto my shirt and still be able to move freely!

  • Surely the pins are cheap but your running shirts will be damaged by pinholes? And what about a running jacket with holes?

  • Who on earth races in a running jacket? And yes, it's a fact of life club vests get pinholes in them - but mine still wear out before they're affected by an excess of holes.

  • Hmmm races where you wear a jacket?image

    Maybe he means this race ; image

    Although a solution appears to be to pin it to your trousers instead.

    I've just closely examined todays race vest and there is absolutely no sign of any damage what-so-ever, in fact there's no sign that it's ever had a pin stuck into it. Ever.

  • I guess it's a sign of a real runner that your house is full of little bunches of four safety pins.
  • All runners should be issued with their own unique number that could be used for all future races, then they could just get their number tattooed onto their bodies. This would save valuable seconds before every race and with no need for paper race numbers would also help save the planet.

  • Instead of a number, you just run with your National Insurance card? It's smaller and uniquely identifies you... image

  • only in this country though PBB......for the planet it would have to be a bit longerimage

  • For those who hate safety pins..why not just buy a cheap number belt...sorted.......

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I dont mind safety pins but I've found that wearing a number belt has its own issues (number spinning around my waist). I'd prefer pins anyday

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