Tutus & Running Shoes

I used to be one of those anti-tutu runners; not to the magnitude of SELF Magazine, but I made a personal vow to never be one of those runners. I don’t consider myself to be a girly-girl, and tutus are for ballerinas and little girls in princess costumes. I also have a deep hatred for running skirts (ironically, I wore a kilt all four years of high school lacrosse, but that’s neither here nor there). Anyway, when my sorority’s running group, Running Swans, formed a team for Ragnar Chicago, a white tutu was on the shopping list right next to reflective vests and headlamps. So I bought a white tutu, and I wore it all the way from Madison, WI to Montrose Beach. I wore it while running through a forest preserve. I wore it cheering on my teammates from the side of a country road. I wore it in a gas station Subway in the middle of the night. And I liked it. And I’m doing it again in about six weeks with twenty-three other amazing women all the way from Hull, MA to Cape Cod.

Here are some things that might happen if you wear a tutu while running a race:

1. You will be one of those runners — Nobody goes to a major race expecting NOT to see tutus. They aren’t an “epidemic,” as SELF magazine claims; tutus are part of running culture. So are costumes in general. I’ve seen everything from a banana to a team full of Wonder Women at races (and props to Monika Allen for being a tutu-rocking Wonder Woman). Runners are quirky. Deal with it.

2. But you won’t be alone — There’s typically a story behind a tutu, even if that story is “I feel like wearing a tutu today,” and most people don’t show up to a race alone in costume. In my tutu experience, the white tulle served as a swan costume (paired with a white running shirt), an ode to our sorority mascot and a symbol of unity. The tutu was our way to recognize our runners, give them support, and bring us all together.

Photo Credit

Photo Credit Monika Allen is the new face of tutus in races

3. You will become one with the tutu — It’s not about you when there’s a tutu involved. Everything becomes about the preservation of the tutu’s reputation. One tutu’s good deed made all the tutus do-gooders. People will identify with the tutu. Embrace it. Become one with it. Practice random acts of kindness. Really, it’s a whole movement.

Running Swans finish line photo as seen on the official Ragnar Facebook page

Running Swans finish line photo as seen on the official Ragnar Facebook page

4. Most of the non tutu-wearing runners will get a kick out of it — For every tutu hater out there, is a tutu friend. Wearing the tutu became an easy point of conversation while hanging out at exchange zones waiting for our teammates. “So what’s with the tutu?” And even if they were maybe making fun of you behind your back, they were probably converted into at least a tutu-tolerator after making a new tutu-wearing friend (how many times can I say tutu in one post?). Other runners were also able to alert us if our one of our girls was going to be making her way to us shortly, or if we’d just missed her at a support stop.

5. You will get called beautiful — While running, and subsequently sweating and all the other gross things associated with running. As evidenced by a catalog of horrible race photos, it’s hard to look beautiful while running. Enter: The Tutu. I swear in the 40+ races I’ve done in the last 5 years, I’ve never received so many compliments while running. And not the generic “You’re almost there!” pity calls. I’m talking personalized, and often tutu-directed, compliments. And in that regard, yea, the tutu helped me run faster, because I felt good about myself. Even on my third leg.

Tutu = Instant Beauty

Tutu = Instant Beauty

6. Above all, you will have a blast — As evidenced by the video below. Enjoy!

Have you ever worn a tutu at a running event? Was your experience just as positive???



6 thoughts on “Tutus & Running Shoes

  1. Kami is not a girly-girl either, but has a strange affinity to the running skirt. She doesn’t run. Or own a running skirt. But likes looking at them at the store at times and wishes I would wear mine more!

  2. Pingback: Connect, Conquer, Celebrate | Whole Me, Best Me

  3. Nicely written! I too had a Ragnar Team that donned tutus but it did not win me over. It might be because I am 4’10” or maybe because of my relationship with so many professional ballet dancers. Tutus just aren’t fun for me.

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