Over 11% of runners admit to wearing a pair of lucky pants to bring them good fortune during a race, according to a new survey by the Inverness Half Marathon. The poll also revealed that almost 12% of runners wear a pair of socks as their lucky charm on race day.
The number one superstition, however, was to never enter a race wearing a new piece of kit, while wearing a lucky t-shirt during the event was second in the poll. The third most prevalent superstition among the 1,500 runners surveyed across the UK was never to wear the souvenir race t-shirt until after crossing the finish line.
The survey into runner superstitions was undertaken by the Inverness Half Marathon as entries start to flood in for the 13.1 mile race which takes place in the Highland capital on March 13.
Although 13 might be considered unlucky for some, organisers say it has not deterred hundreds of people from signing up to undertake the city centre course, along with an accompanying 5K fun run along the scenic River Ness.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland says, “We thought that perhaps running 13 miles on March 13 might be a step too far for some people, and wondered if we would have to entice people to enter by handing out four-leafed clovers along with the race numbers!
“What we have discovered over many years of event organisation is that runners are notoriously superstitious people. We thought that we had seen it all, but the survey turned up some superstitions that even we’d never heard of before, particularly the chap who always runs in gloves regardless of the weather.”
The survey, undertaken by One Poll, found women to be more superstitious than men. Over 62% of females surveyed stated that they followed the same routine or superstition before a race, compared to 53% of men.
Although wearing a new piece of kit was largely considered to be unlucky by runners, 12% of women questioned admitted that they always buy something new – such as a t-shirt – to wear on the big day. Just 6% of men said that they also splashed the cash so they could limber up on the start line in a new piece of kit.
Across the UK, runners based in Scotland were found to be the least superstitious – 55% of runners based there stated that they did not follow a pre-race ritual or superstition.
Their counterparts in London, however, don’t leave anything to chance. Londoners were the most superstitious, with only one-third of respondents stating that they did not have any race day superstitions.
Malcolm adds, “Some might say that luck does not influence race day performance and that success is all about hard work and training in the lead-up to an event.
“We agree there is a great deal of truth to that, but if someone who has participated in over 100 races has eaten the same thing for breakfast before every event and believes that routine has contributed to their success, then who are we to argue?
“From seasoned athletes to those attempting 13.1 miles for the first time, we welcome runners of all abilities to the Inverness Half Marathon and wish them all the luck in the world.”
Inverness Half Marathon starts in the centre of Inverness, passing the imposing sight of Inverness Castle and following a route along the River Ness. There is a stadium finish on the track at Queen’s Park Stadium, where hundreds of spectators offer a hero’s welcome.
The 5K fun run is open to people of all ages and abilities. It follows a route along the edge of the river, and also finishes at Queen’s Park Stadium. It is used by many community groups and charities to raise money for good causes.
The official charity partner of the Inverness Half Marathon is Highland Hospice. Its team of runners will be raising cash for its Project Build campaign – a £4.5m project to overhaul the in-patient unit and dramatically improve facilities for terminally ill patients and their families.
Entries are open now at www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk and will remain open until February 23. There will be a limited number of entries on the day for the 5K event only.