Participant Lists & Age group letter tattoos – guilty or not?

Training for an ironman as a woman

Do you suss out Participant lists before a race? Do you always put your age group category letter tattoo on your calf?   Mid bike-ride of the Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie race I started to think about these two things.

Yes, during the race I started to think about writing this blog when I should have been concentrating and/or pushing myself, but I started to wonder how you viewed….

  1. Participant lists
  2. Category letters tattoos

Let me start with participant lists.

I only entered the Port Mac 70.3 race on the last possible day of late entries – which was a first for me and quite daunting. A few days before the race a friend asked me “have you checked out the participant list?”

It made me smile as I responded with a “Shit no, it’s taken me this long to enter, that would probably take me another six weeks to get around to doing!”

That sounds a bit lazy, but life can be hectic and I don’t really care/mind who is racing.

HOWEVER, I have and when I do suss out the participant list, it is usually to …..

  1. see which friends I know that are racing
  2. see who is coming from other countries (this always fascinates me)
  3. count how many are in my age group. I always like to know if my AG is the biggest. Not sure why – it’s a weird thing really. Maybe I’m always hoping we’ll get that “extra” qualifying spot should one come available.

There has been times (probably before kids) where I would look to see who was racing more thoroughly.

I’m not 100% sure why I did this, as it really didn’t serve much of a purpose other than the few times I’d say to myself “Damn, so-and-so is racing, you need to pull your finger out training this year.”

I guess it pushed me a little bit…. But not really. This style didn’t really help motivate me.

But I know people who do like to let other participants motivate them.  I’ve known athletes who have googled other athletes times to help push them a little.

There’s not judgement here, I guess it’s just intrigued  to see what motivates athletes.

What pushes you?

Do you look at the participants list to motivate?

Do you even look at the participant list?

Women Ironman

Because we are competitive little creatures in many different ways, I love how people channel different things to motivate them.

Which brings me to the next one.

Age group category letters tattoo

During the run leg of the race on Sunday I noticed that hardly any women had their age group category letter tattoo on the backs of their calves.

Aren’t we (I say “we” because I didn’t either, but that was because I didn’t get one in my late entry pack) competitive little buggers.

Is that why you do it?  Competitiveness?

I would say only 30% of women stuck theirs on.

So, during the run leg of the race, I started thinking about this. Why have these women not put their AG category letter on?  I’ve explicitly said women because most of the blokes seem to have theirs on (often stuck on upside down, which another thing all together and quite entertaining)?

Maybe we don’t like to be chased?

We don’t want to be the carrot.

Maybe we don’t like anyone to use us as his or her race motivation?

Do category letters motivate you to push a little harder when YOU are racing?

I can honestly say, when I race, I personally am in my own little world and I NEVER have an idea where I am in the field until I have finished.

I find it hard to motivate myself by other people. I had a friend once call out to me during an Ironman…. “a girl in your AG is just ahead”, it only pissed me off.

I didn’t care.

It didn’t motivate me AT ALL.   It was actually a negative thing for my mind.

BUT, I know we are all different competitors who are wired differently.

Kacey says she loves seeing letters in front of her. She loves using them to push herself. I admire her for that.

I wonder if that’s why so many women are going in cognito with their category letters – we’re going stealth and sneaky.

A funny observation.

Do you put your category letter on or not?

If not, did the category tattoo just stuff up, did you lose it or are you going stealth.

Ironman race tattoo
Some of the race tattoos were stuffing up.

Funny shit racing

Love it


ironman racing 70.3 women lady

infinit for bottom of blog

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2 thoughts on “Participant Lists & Age group letter tattoos – guilty or not?”

  1. Whilst participant lists don’t hold much appeal beyond my working out whether I know anyone else who will be out there on the day, I must admit that yes, age group letters spur me on. And for that reason I also understand why people don’t apply them! I guess it depends what you’re there for – personally, I’m there to participate for myself, to achieve my own goals… each to their own and hell, whatever it takes to get you through! 🙂