Running is a pretty easy sport for posers to infiltrate. They can’t fake a jump shot or connect with a fastball, but it just takes a pair of bright sneakers, a few jogs, and a couple inflated anecdotes for someone to join the fold. So in their everlasting quest to prove that “Running Deserves Better,” Tracksmith, a premium athletic apparel brand out of New England, isn’t going to let you just buy their new Boston Marathon singlet: You have to earn it first.
The crimson BQ (Boston Qualifier), made of high-quality performance mesh, is reserved only for those who’ve both qualified and registered for the 118th edition of the world’s oldest marathon. “It’s a way to tip our cap to that elite amateur ideal of training hard for something that’s very difficult to achieve,” says Matt Taylor, Tracksmith CEO and a former Ivy League runner. “Getting a BQ is at the top of that list.” And since each order is manually cross-referenced against the BAA’s entrance database, there’s really no way around it.
Similar to the idea that these vintage singlets might become a badge of distinction in the running community, the diagonal sash across the front is a reference to the late 1800s when Cornell University would honor those who had scored in the Ivy League Championships with a similar slash. There’s also space to hang your safety pins between races for some added function. If you don’t think you’ll qualify for Boston next year (they’ll be back for 2016), or you just happen to be a bigger fan of the New York Marathon, there’s no official restriction on getting the equally cool navy jersey, which pairs well with the brand’s Van Cortlandt shorts.
But if red’s really your color, you’ll just have to train harder. [$70; tracksmith.com]