Runner’s Ink and Race Tattoos

3 Jul

Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved tattoos.  I was the alternative kid in middle school…secretly dreaming of the awesome Bettie Page tattoo that I would get the day I turned 18.  In fact, by high school, I had even started telling my mom how I wanted to be a tattoo artist when I grew up.

Much to my mother’s relief, by the end of high school, I had set my sights on being an engineer…though I never lost my fascination with tattoos.  I did, however, move past my overwhelming adoration of Bettie Page. While I still loved her, I realized that maybe I didn’t “need” a portrait if her emblazoned on my upper arm.  I decided that a tattoo should be something that means something to you…something that no one can take away.

After my first marathon in February of this year, I decided that one day, no matter how long it took me to finish, that my next BIG goalwould be to complete an IronMan competition.  Completing a 140.6 mile triathlon is a massive undertaking.  This would be something that I would have trained and sacrificed for, committed to, and to wihch I would have given every fiber of my being to finish.  The completion of an IronMan competition would be worthy of permanent inkage on my skin.  (Sorry, Bettie Page.)  🙂

I suppose a lot of other competitors feel the same way, as I have several friends who proudly sport their runner’s ink.

My friend, Scott Bagwell.


My friend, Denver Benton.


In fact, my running buddy, Brandon, recently got this sweet tattoo to show off his #RunLA (Run Louisiana) pride.  It is pretty amazing, and I’ll be honest…I am a little jealous.

Here are a couple of other race/runner tattoos that I have seen that I love:

Black Light Tattoo!


Fleur de Lis IronMan!


Grim Reaper IronMan tattoo!


One day, I WILL proudly display an IronMan 140.6 tattoo.  Hey, at least it is an upgrade from a heart with “MOM” written across it, right?  🙂

How do YOU feel about runner’s ink?  Would YOU ever get one?  What distance or competition would be worthy of permanent inkage on YOUR skin?

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12 Responses to “Runner’s Ink and Race Tattoos”

  1. Sarah S @RunningOnWords July 3, 2011 at 5:35 PM #

    If I was going to get a tattoo, it would probably be a running tattoo. I feel like 13.1 (or 26.2 or Ironman, etc) is something you would never get sick of, unlike the various symbols that may not hold the same meaning in 10 years. I’m too afraid to get a tattoo, though, cause I’m convinced I’d hate it after a month. I think they are awesome, though and I love all of the ones you posted.

    • katieRUNSthis July 3, 2011 at 5:36 PM #

      True. At this point, I haven’t actually decided what type of tattoo I would get. I think I just need to complete the 140.6 miles…and then I’ll start getting picky. 🙂

  2. Chris July 3, 2011 at 8:08 PM #

    I have a bunch of tattoos including the classic mom…and gonna get a run tattoo eventually.

  3. Megan July 3, 2011 at 8:41 PM #

    Wow, I love the fleur de lis ironman and also the grim reaper one!

  4. Steph July 3, 2011 at 10:41 PM #

    I have 3 tattoos already, none running related. My next one will definitely be about running…I have marathons #5 & 6 on the books. My plan is to have 26.2 written next to a cross…or something like that. I’m so excited about designing it!

    • katieRUNSthis July 4, 2011 at 5:21 PM #

      Man, you’re a boss! What are you other tattoos of? I love them! I can’t get one while I’m pregnant, but I will definitely get one, one day. 🙂

  5. Kirsten July 3, 2011 at 11:07 PM #

    I have a 13.1 and just got my 26.2 ink. Love ink in general and puffy heart love race ink. We work hard training. I’m proud of what I’ve done. Why not show it off a bit.

    • katieRUNSthis July 4, 2011 at 5:22 PM #

      That’s super awesome! Is it just the number (mileage) or did you decorate around it a bit? And you are right, when you work hard for something like that, why not brag a little? 🙂

      • Kirsten July 5, 2011 at 7:42 AM #

        My 13.1 is embedded in a purple Celtic knot – purple because I got it after completing s half through Team in Training with 14 friends. My 26.2 has Mickey ears because I did it at Disney World. Never thought I’d ever do 26.2. There will be more in the future.

  6. Kerry July 3, 2011 at 11:11 PM #

    I have 2 tattoos from 18 that I don’t like, but have always wanted more when the time was right. 15 years later and on the verge of competing in my first 100 mile race, I’ve decided the time is now. When I finish, I’m certainly getting something to commemorate the achievement.

    • katieRUNSthis July 4, 2011 at 5:24 PM #

      Umm…YEAH!! 100 miles is ABSOLUTELY deserving on permanent inkage on your skin! That is amazing! What race is your 100-miler?

  7. Jordan Trump July 3, 2011 at 11:15 PM #

    I’ve always thought that IF I get a tattoo my first one would be an Ironman tattoo, pretty much exactly the same as your friend Denver but probably with color. Of course, I haven’t done an Ironman yet, so we will see if I feel that way once I have finished!

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