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What Do The 13.1 and 26.2 Bumper Stickers Mean?

Bumper stickers are a fun and creative way to add a little style to your vehicle. Many people like to go for something personal while others enjoy flaunting their achievements. Most of the time though, you’ll look to see numbers that usually don’t make much sense. Many people get confused by what the 13.1 and the 26.2 bumper stickers mean.

Since 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers are everywhere, they couldn’t possibly point to an anniversary or a birthday—that’s too big of a coincidence. No worries, this guide tells you exactly what these stickers mean and where they come from. Read on to learn more!

bumper sticker 13.1 or 26.2 mile with picture of men running marathon

What Do The 13.1 and 26.2 Bumper Stickers Mean?

Fun fact: a marathon is 26.2 miles long, and a half marathon is 13.1 miles long. With that in mind, you can guess that having those numbers as bumper stickers indicates that the person has successfully run those miles. Marathon runners put up such stickers as a way to show off their achievements and appear proud.

In other words, both 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers serve as proof that runners have successfully run a marathon—or at least half a one! By displaying the distances these people have covered, they’re reminding themselves of their hard work and extensive training. In short, think of 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers as souvenirs that marathoners earn at the end of the race which means a lot to them.

Not only that, but did you know that there are bumper stickers for triathletes and those who have conquered bigger athletic challenges, such as a 50-mile journey? For runners of these events, they’ll get awarded with a 50 bumper sticker. A 100-mile athletic event, on the other hand, gets a bumper sticker with the number 100 instead. Or, if you are running the longest distance ever record, and your name is Dean Karnazes, you could put a 350 bumper sticker on your car. Yeah, he ran that far.

Where Did 26.2 Miles Come From?

The history behind the 26.2 marathons is both inspiring and incredible. For starters, not many people know that the race itself is named after a great Greek town called Marathon. Additionally, the marathon race was originally 24 miles long before becoming 26.2 miles like today—this happened in twentieth century.

What’s more, Pheidippides was the Greek messenger and strong runner behind the creation of the marathon. As the story goes, back in 490 BC, Pheidippides was known for his ability to tackle harsh terrains and for his military performance as a fast courier. These were the reasons why the army generals chose Pheidippides to seek help from the Spartans during the Battle of Marathon.

The Persians were about to attack the town, and the Athenians were short on soldiers and needed more men. In 36 hours, Pheidippides was able to run over 140 miles to reach Sparta. Unfortunately, the Spartans couldn’t spare any soldiers and Pheidippides had to carry the bad news back; that would be another 140 miles. Luckily though, despite being outnumbered, Athens was able to defend itself and triumph over a sea of fallen bodies.

Pheidippides was tasked to carry the good news back home and so had to run 25 miles. Having over exhausted himself, he died upon his arrival at Marathon, so the 1896 Olympics decided to commemorate his sacrifice.

Why Do People Run 13.1 or 26.2 Miles?

Individual people’s motivations for running a marathon are as unique as they are, however common threads are for a sense of purpose and pride in accomplishing something so difficult. Setting a huge goal like finishing a marathon, and completing it, is a very rewarding experience.

Marathon training can last for more than five months and requires the runner to fully change their daily routine to adjust themselves for the long race. It’s due to these facts that many people wonder why anyone would want to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles in the first place.

For starters, finishing a marathon is one of life’s many milestones that challenge people to go beyond their limitations and do their best.

As of now, 1.1 million global runners take up the marathon journey every year, which makes up around 0.01% of the population! Due to this fact, most people decide to run the marathon as a way to achieve a hard-earned goal and thus rebuild their confidence. It may also be a test to see if they could finish such a challenging race.

Additionally, there are no rules or bounds to how you complete a marathon, which means you don’t have to run at a certain speed or even finish first—what matters is that you gain more than you lose. Passing that finishing line means that you’ve overcome multiple obstacles, both mentally and physically, and a bumper sticker on your car is a reward that speaks for itself. There are many challenges to running a marathon that you may not even think about beforehand.


What do the 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers mean? Well, to put it simply, any bumper sticker with a number on it is typically an indicator of how many miles the owner has successfully pulled off. The 13.1 stickers are given to those who completed half marathons, while the 26.2 ones are awarded to runners who have managed to finish a full marathon.

In other words, both bumper stickers are a great way to show off one’s achievements in a humble manner while also serving as a good reminder of such a notable accomplishment as running the marathon.

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.