On November 1, Stanley Biwott of Kenya blazed through the famed New York City Marathon in 2 hours 10 minutes 34 seconds. In 2015, there were 50,530 finishers in the New York City Marathon and, while the official numbers haven’t yet been tallied at this writing, all bets are on this year’s marathon being larger than the last.
But what do nonwoven fabrics have to do with the New York City Marathon? I can think of a few reasons why this marathon, and many other athletic events, always brings nonwovens to the top of my mind.
- Bib numbers. Every single runner has a number. Bib numbers allow race officials to time each runner and to keep track of the progress and location of each runner in every race. Each bib number is made of spunbond polyethylene nonwovens. These sturdy numbers are designed to pin onto runner shirts and to withstand weather, sweat, and tears while moving with the runner’s body. Over 50,000 runners in the November 1 marathon sported a flag for nonwovens on their chests and backs.
- Athletic footwear. Lightweight but strong nonwoven fabrics are sometimes incorporated into athletic footwear to help provide foundation for the runner’s foot while also eliminating odor and fungus.
- Medical support. Marathon runners can often encounter some unique medical problems during the course of a race. Emergency personnel are on-hand to administer aide to these runners and are stocked with a variety of medical nonwovens, including masks, bandages and absorbent pads to provide assistance to road-weary runners.
- Signs and Often, nonwoven fabric banners are used in race events to provide signage and barriers to keep crowds away from the runners. These durable signs are often printed with race sponsor logos and can last for more than one race.
Stanley Biwott may not have been aware that he was running a race filled with nonwoven fabrics. But the New York City Marathon is a reminder to us that nonwovens are, indeed, everywhere.