Distance Runner Tattoos Designs and Ideas

As a distance runner myself, I understand why someone would want to commemorate distance running with a tattoo. Many distance runners see it as a way of life. Perhaps it’s due to the runners high, or maybe the activity is just seriously fun. Running is my number one hobby and the activity that I spend a majority of my time doing.

The next tattoo I get will implement running into its design. To get a better idea of what I want, I decided to research to see what other distance runners are getting inked on their body. Below I’ve compiled a collection of tattoos for distance runners.

Most of the tattoos I came across are focused on marathon distance races. These tattoos implement the number 26.2 into the design, referring to the number of miles in a marathon. Although I do not use the metric system, races are often measured in meters. Some marathon tattoos you’ll see have the number “42.2”, showing the number of kilometers in a marathon.

Another Keep Running Tattoo

One Day, 100 Miles
100 Miles in one day. What a race! Definitely deserves a tattoo to celebrate the accomplishment of completing the race.

26.2 Marathon Dots

XXVI Marathon Numerals

Do Tattoos Hurt Running Performance?

No. Plenty of world class athletes showcase elaborate tattoos all over their bodies. From professional soccer athletes to competitive chess players, tattoos are common. Tattoos may be a placebo for some though. If one believed that tattoos hurt running performance and then got one, they would blame every misstep on the tattoo.

Tattoos can be seen on professional distance runners competing at international events. Unless you have some sort of allergic reaction to the ink, a tattoo will not hurt your distance running performance.

26.2 Miles Shoe Print

Believe In The Run
The font is elegant as is the rendition of the winged-sandal symbol. I think the foot is a great place to get a bunch of running related tattoos due to the foots critical role in running. The foot carries to body through races.

Marathon Tattoo with a Converse Shoe

Why A Runner Might Want To Get A Tattoo.

  • To remember a race:

Racing is a very special thing in the running community. Some people work all year to participate in one race. If someone competed in their first 5k or marathon, it took a lot of effort to get there. In this case, someone may want to get a tattoo to remember that race.

  • Memorial to a running friend:

In the running community, it is common to bond over a long run. These long runs can develop very close relationships and friendships. I have found that people are more willing to have an in depth and more personal conversation on a long run, and thus, I have gained many close friendships through running.

It’s an unfortunate part of life, but you may lose people. If you and the person you lost avidly ran together, a running themed tattoo would be totally appropriate to get tattooed. Every time you look at that tattoo, you will remember the hours and miles spent with the person close to you.

  • Celebration of the sport and lifestyle:

It’s no secret to anybody that runs: running is a lifestyle. You live, eat, and sleep running. The food you have is to prepare you for the next run. You’re always thinking about how you can get better and improve your times. In celebration of the sport, you can get a long distance running tattoo.

  • Shows commitment to the sport:

Similar to the previous point, people may get a running tattoo to show commitment to the sport. If you have a tattoo, you’re more likely to see that and remember that you need to do your run for the day. It can act as a constant reminder of who you want to be and what you want to achieve.

  • Running is who some people are:

Running is many peoples only hobby. It’s one of my few hobbies. If running is ‘who you are’, then maybe you should consider getting a tattoo to acknowledge this!


Forrest Gump Tattoo
How could we forget about Forrest Gump tattoos??
Another Forrest Gump Tattoo
Forrest Gump Tattoo Part 2
Stick Girl Running Tattoo
I wouldn’t personally get this tattooed on my body, but I thought stick figure aesthetic was an interesting choice. This particular tattoo gave me some ideas of what I want to get tattooed next on my body.

"I Run For Those Who Cant" Quote Tattoo

I run this town.

I Run To Be.

"Keep Running" A simple yet powerful message.

Running Life at My Own Pace - A powerful message

26.2/13.1 Tattoo

XXVI.II Tattoo on a Marathon Runner

Run Fast Shin Tattoo

Run Fast and Turn Left, tattoo referring to tracks
“Run fast, turn left”! My coach used to say these words to me before my track races.

Running Abstract Guy

Fast Runner Form

Running Sucks. It really does!
Running sucks! A common phrase in the running community, because maybe it really does. Running is one of those sports where you just have to “embrace the suck” and enjoy the sport.
26.2 San Francisco bridge tattoo
The color of this piece is what does it for me. A satisfying color palate was used. The marathon mileage of 26.2 is surrounded by elements of the race or perhaps of the tattoo owners hometown.

Track spike tattoo

Yet another 26.2 tattoo. This one is much simpler than others.
I absolutely love the simplicity of this piece. The lines look like they will hold up because they are so simple. My only concern with tattoos on the feet is the fading due to constant friction with shoes and socks.
Mexican bones running tattoo with a sombrero
I’m not quite sure what the meaning behind this particular tattoo is, but I appreciate the culture behind it. This is perhaps one of the more unique running themed tattoos that I have seen.
Small track spike tattoo
This tattoo is quite simple, yet meaningful. The wings on the spikes is a common symbol in the running community.