Safety pins have for years been the method of choice for securing your race number to the front of your top. It is after all known as “pinning on your number.” They’re simple, dispensable, and races provide thousands of them in the event that you misplace any.
But, every time you need to secure your race bib with safety pins, you’re puncturing your top. Plus, if you’re like me, you forget that your top has leftover pins from a past race. The end result goes something like this: forgetting you have pins on your jersey, and then subsequently putting said top into the wash. Bad times ensue.
These days, there’s a replacement to the traditional safety pin: magnetic strips, which are designed to secure your number to your top. (In case you didn’t know, all races provide numbers that you need to display on your front for the purpose of identification, and to confirm you’re a paying participant.) One such product is RaceDots, which we had a chance to test out.
Although this isn’t the first magnetic system I’ve used – I previously wore BibBits, a Dutch-based brand whose product is similar at its core – RaceDots are slightly different because they come in a number of different styles, have a rounded circular base, and are more readily available in Canada. In fact, MEC locations across the country carry them.
In our experience, RaceDots are powerful and don’t add much weight to your top. They weigh four grams a piece and are about 12.7 mm in diameter. It should also be mentioned that RaceDots shouldn’t interfere with timing devices for races – which are often embedded in the bib itself – and I haven’t had issues using magnets in place of safety pins. RaceDots can be placed on the punched holes of a bib, in exactly the same place pins are applied.
The number one reason one should opt for magnets instead of safety pins is for a reason previously mentioned: they’ll help protect your clothing since you don’t require four safety pins inserted through your top, whether that’s a jersey, T-shirt or tank top.
Now, there are drawbacks. You might forget, or lose, one of the four RaceDots but fortunately, they’re powerful enough that you really only need to use three in the first place. In fact, RaceDots recommend that runners use just three anyway – two on the top and one on the bottom (in the middle) – because it reduces scrunching. Still, bring all four to an event. Just in case.
It should said be mentioned that they’re not indestructible, but RaceDots will provide a replacement if the magnetic ring breaks. Just send them a photo.
RaceDots start at US$19.99 – or $25-$29 at MEC – for a four-pack which is more than the “free” safety pins that you can get from races. But nothing at a race is truly free – costs are passed along to participants and are baked into the entry fee in order to keep the livelihood of the event afloat. And more often than not, safety pins are not reused from one event to the next, and they pile up in your drawer at home.
Because RaceDots can be customized, they also make for a great gift for the members of your local running club, or as age group or door prizes at your race.
You can learn more about RaceDots and see all of their designs at racedots.com.