Shirt or No Shirt

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Please, keep your shirt on.

By Robert Reese

If I wanted to, I could win this debate with just one simple phrase: “See photo above.”

It all comes down to respect for your fellow athlete. Think about it, would you like to rub up against a big hairy, sweaty, shirtless dude in the starting corral before a race? No? Well then, don’t be one yourself. You’re crammed in there like sardines, and runners want to be able to focus on strategy for their upcoming races, not on all the unsightly exposed flesh.

My opponent says that he gets warm during races and needs to shed heat to gain an advantage. I’ll counter that with two points. First, a breathable running singlet is hardly going to add to your body temperature. And, if it’s a light color, it might even help cool you down by reflecting some of the sun’s rays. Second, if everyone is in singlets, nobody’s getting an unfair advantage. Just as everyone has to wear shorts, everyone should have to wear something up top. That keeps the playing field even.

Finally, he says that he’s seen worse while running a race, so that makes out-of-shape shirtless guys OK. That logic is like saying that killing butterflies is OK because it’s not as bad as killing puppies. It might not be as wrong, but it’s still not right.

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