What Does the 13.1 Sticker on a Car’s Bumper Mean?

If you’re like me, you probably get a kick out of bumper stickers. I’m constantly looking for new, funny, or interesting ones when I’m sitting in traffic daily. Though most are straightforward enough and easily understood, a number of them get past me and I have to wonder what the meaning behind them is. 

One example of these types of bumper stickers is the 13.1 sticker. I’ll admit that I had no idea what that represented or signified the first few times I saw them. As I became aware of them and noticed others such as 26.2, I decided to look them up online. 

It turns out that the 13.1 bumper sticker signifies somebody who has completed a half marathon. A marathon distance is 26.2 miles. So a half marathon is 13.1 miles. This finally answered the question for me as to why I was seeing so many 13.1 stickers on vehicles.

I live in an area where you frequently see 13.1 and 26.2 stickers on cars and trucks. We have a pretty solid runner’s community in our part of the country. So I started to wonder where someone who has competed in these marathons and half-marathons gets these bumper stickers.

After looking into it, there are a number of answers. This is what I found out.

I Thought They Gave These Out After the Races

I discussed this topic with my wife, who enters races periodically. She mentioned that local running shops usually give them out if you enter a race and pay for your entry fee through their store. While this certainly seems possible, upon further review, this doesn’t seem to be common. 

I did a bit of research and looked on a few websites about marathon and half-marathon runs, and I couldn’t find even one post that mentioned these bumper stickers being given out upon the completion of races. While I’m not saying they are never given out, the posts I read clearly indicate that this is not some common, usual occurrence.

So Where Do People Purchase These 13.1 Bumper Stickers?

It turns out that you can easily purchase 13.1 half-marathon stickers or 26.2 full-marathon stickers in many places. After delving deeper, I easily found places to order them online.  There are more than the ones I’ve mentioned, but these were the top hits.

Here are 4 places where you can purchase 13.1 Bumper Stickers online:

1. Amazon.com It doesn’t get any easier than ordering on Amazon. When you use your Amazon Prime membership, there is no shipping charge on eligible items such as this.

Check Price on Amazon!

2. Zazzle.com This option is awesome if you don’t want to stick a bumper sticker on your car. This is a car magnet, and it doesn’t cost much more than a sticker. 

3. Playtristore.com This website is cool, as it features things regarding triathlons. This sticker also comes in a shiny, silver finish. So it really stands out. 

4. Etsy.com Etsy is a great option to order from, as it supports printers running their own business. This site offers to sell with no sales tax charge. 

One thing that was pretty awesome was the ability to customize them on many sites. I saw a number of options in which you were able to add your race name and other customizable characteristics (like bib number or finish time) to your sticker.

Most items seemed to range in price from as low as $3.95 up to $15, for most advanced customizable options.

What Are Other Runners’ Thoughts About 13.1 Stickers?

Most people in the running community seem to be pro-bumper sticker, as it relates to these half-marathon and full-marathons stickers being displayed on vehicles. Though there may be some that act a bit elite or snobby regarding the topic, most fellow runners know the time and commitment that is put into training for and competing in these longer types of runs.

The fact that these 13.1 stickers do not have to be given out by race organizers or sponsors, and can be purchased from just about anywhere online, does leave a bad taste in some runners’ mouths. Mostly because anyone who feels so inclined to buy one can obviously display it on their vehicle… regardless of whether or not they have actually competed in a race. For that reason, some runners are skeptical (although I think that’s a small sect).

Do They Have Other Distances Available For These Bumper Stickers?

I wondered if 13.1 and 26.2 stickers were the only options available in terms of bumper stickers for the running community. So I turned to Google and found that there are other distances frequently available for purchase to display on your vehicle… although they are less common.

For instance, a 3.1 bumper sticker represents finishing a 5k distance race. Likewise, having a 6.2 bumper sticker would indicate that you’ve finished at least one 10K race.

Having a 13.1, of course, is the signal to everybody in the know that you’ve completed a half-marathon. There are also 31 stickers, for instance, for those runners who have run a 50K ultra distance race… as well as a 50 sticker for a 50-mile race. A 100 sticker is special for very elite, committed runners who have taken on the challenge of a 100-mile ultra-marathon distance race.

Final Thoughts on the 13.1 Bumper Sticker

If you are a runner and proud of your accomplishments, there is no reason why you should feel shy or guilty about displaying a racing distance sticker on your vehicle. It doesn’t make you a snob, it just means you’ve checked an item off you list of goals.  Plus, it’s not even that noticeable, since many people have no idea what the numbers on these types of bumper stickers represent. 

For me, it’s more like a secret code with other longer-distance and marathon runners. When somebody that also competes in these races sees your sticker, there is a bond and often mutual respect.

If you have completed in any of the lengths of races I’ve mentioned, order yours today! You deserve to display it with pride on your car, truck, or SUV.

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