Race in this Bill Rodgers-Inspired Tracksmith Kit

The new collection, which also includes a jacket, hat, gloves and rugby shirt, pays tribute to a Boston running legend.

4/20/2021 12:19:00 AM

The new collection, which also includes a jacket, hat, gloves and rugby shirt, pays tribute to a Boston running legend.

The new collection, which also includes a jacket, hat, gloves and rugby shirt, pays tribute to a Boston running legend.

Related StoryThe Best Workout Shirts for Runners“[The Tracksmith brand] was a brilliant move,” Rodgers said. “Matt identified something special in our sport—the history—and he understood the gear wasn’t always so good. It was terrible.”Taylor and his team have preserved the history of distance running and reimagined it with high-quality clothing and accessories.

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The BR kit (singlet and shorts sold separately; men’s shown here) is available in navy or red.TracksmithThe kit (women’s shown here) is inspired by what Bill Rodgers wore when he ran the 1979 Boston Marathon.TracksmithThe Bill Rodgers line features the 79 singlet and shorts, Boston Billy Jacket, Eliot Lounge Rugby, and BR Gloves and Cap.

And each piece, in true Tracksmith form, has a backstory.The race kit, Taylor said, is the iconic must-have in the collection.“The image of Bill winning the 1979 Boston Marathon has been hanging in our office since we opened the Trackhouse,” he said. “We wanted to start by paying homage to that race.” headtopics.com

The lightweight singlet is designed for racing fast, thanks to its breathability (and signature stripe).Rodgers waves to the Beantown crowd after his triumphant ’79 finish.Boston GlobeTaylor understands that accessories tell a story, too.Rodgers is known for his trademark painters gloves, the ones his brother bought at a hardware store in Hopkinton just before the 1975 Boston Marathon because the runner was cold. Rodgers won his first Boston that year, and set the course and American marathon records (2:09:55).

“Even if his hands heated up, Bill never ditched the gloves,” Taylor said. “I didn’t know until later that he was superstitious about them. He felt he needed those gloves to race well on a cool day.”In fact, Rodgers once toldSports Illustrated: “No gloves, no good race.”

Bundle up wearing the BR gloves, cap, and jacket.TracksmithThe late 70s and 80s screamed track jackets, even among the non-running crowd. Taylor, in his research, came across Bill Rodgers & Company matching tracksuits, and he knew he wanted to create a jacket for the collection. Rodgers said his own company was one of the first sportswear brands to include reflectivity—a feature included in the Tracksmith piece.

The Boston Billy Jacket also has a water-repellent shell, mesh lining, and a detachable hood.Related StoryThe Best Rain Jackets for RunningPerhaps a favorite in the collection is the striped rugby shirt, designed for post-run. Its inspiration, however, doesn’t come from a victory in Boston—completely the opposite. In 1977, Rodgers dropped out on the Newton Hills. He found his way to the Eliot Lounge where Leonard gave Rodgers a green-and-yellow-striped rugby shirt to warm up. headtopics.com

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The perfect top to wear during post-race R&R? This co-ed traditional rugby shirt, which is striped in navy or gold.Tracksmith“I just hit the wall,” Rodgers toldRunner’s World. “I dropped out at Heartbreak Hill and said, ‘Get me to the Eliot Lounge.’ I knew Tommy would be there.”

Rodgers and Taylor hope the new collection inspires a new generation of runners, regardless of whether they’re of Boston Billy-caliber.“Running is a sport where you make yourself,” Rodgers said. “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.” Read more: Runner's World »

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