A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 20, 2019
“If you can read this, I’m not last!” (runner’s T-shirt)

"If you can read this, I’m not (in) last (place)!” is a jocular saying on the back (and/or front) of runners’ T-shirts. “If you can read this, I’m not last” was printed in the Daily Press (Newport News, VA) on May 19, 2005. “If you can read this I’m not in last place” was posted on Twitter by Sean Kennedy on October 11, 2009.

“Just finished the #Army10miler! Army Strong! Hooah! (We spent much of the race behind a guy wearing a shirt that said ‘if you can read this, I’m not last.’😂)” was posted on Twitter by Ivanka Trump on October 7, 2018.

There are other similar T-shirt sayings. “@runnersworld I have a shirt that says ‘if you can read this I’m ahead of you’ haha” as posted on Twitter by Jackie S. on April 17, 2010. “ I wish #Disney had marathon shirts where the backs said ‘If you can read this, I’m ahead of you’” was posted on Twitter by Charles Lee on January 8, 2012. “Reminds me of the best shirt for marathoners...on the back: ‘If you can read this, I’m beating you’ and on the front ‘hey, wait up’” was posted on Twitter by Romy McMaster on June 27, 2014.


19 May 2005, Daily Press (Newport News, VA), “Fitness Group: Running for Fun, Slowly” by Jill Winkowski, pg. C13: 
At a typical Peninsula Track Club 5K run—that’s three miles—you’ll find Arna Majcher, and the back of her T-shirt will read, “If you can read this, I’m not last.”

16 April 2007, Vancouver (BC) Sun, “I did it...and it feels great” by Karen and Yette Gram, pg. E6:
Well, I’ve done it. The Sun Run is over, and now that I’m sitting down, I feel great. The run itself was not the piece of cake that I found it to be when I ran the route with mom two weeks ago, but it wasn’t impossible. At the beginning, I was propelled along by the crowds, my mother’s will, and a few amusing tee-shirts. My favourite read “It’s rude to count how many people you pass out loud.” Another good one said on the back, “If you can read this, I’m not last!”

Google Groups: Front Royal Striders
Edward Jones 5K Results
Daniel Pesta
3/24/09
I noticed that the race results have been posted: http://www.warrencoalition.org/EdwardJones5KRaceFundraiser.html
Congratulations to Seamus and Bernadette for very nice races.  This race gave me an idea for our club shirts.  On the back they should read:

If you can read this, I’m not last,

Twitter
Richard Goldberg
@richardgoldberg
Getting ready for the Army Ten Miler tomorrow. Gotta find my shirt that says, on the back, “If you can read this, I’m not last.”
10:41 PM - 3 Oct 2009

Twitter
Sean Kennedy
@stkennedy
Getting sigs at the chicago marathon. There’s a guy with a shirt that says, on the back, ‘if you can read this I’m not in last place’
9:41 AM - 11 Oct 2009

Twitter
Jackie S.
@yekohs
Replying to @runnersworld
@runnersworld I have a shirt that says “if you can read this I’m ahead of you” haha
8:08 PM - 17 Apr 2010

Twitter
lindsay bukiet
@booolinds
Best shirt at today’s race: “If you can read this, I’m not last.”
3:36 PM - 12 Sep 2010

Twitter
Sarah Schneider
@ThriveWithSarah
Great #quote I read on a t-shirt during my race today.  “If you can read this, I’m not last!”
11:50 AM - 19 Sep 2010

Google Books
The Newslife: from Arkansas to Aruba
By Stephen Cohen
Bloomington, IN: iUniverse
2011
Pg. 231:
It befit my T-shirt, which declared, “If you can read this, I’m not last”.

Twitter
Christine
@prplgrl247
...like If found on ground, drag to finish; If it weren’t for me, you’d have no one to pass; If you can read this, I’m not last (shirt back)
4:26 PM - 9 Jan 2011

Twitter
Lesley
@RacingItOff
@squirrelgirl44 Bwahahaha!!!  Right up my alley.  That’s the day to wear the “if you can read this, I’m ahead of you” shirt.
10:41 AM - 19 Dec 2011

Twitter
Charles Lee
@Goofyfan_Chuck
@adamrucker I wish #Disney had marathon shirts where the backs said “If you can read this, I’m ahead of you.” How sore are your legs?
5:53 PM - 8 Jan 2012 from Radcliff, KY

Twitter
Trish
@vballnut26
Current favorites: “Easier said than run” and “If you can read this I’m not in last place!”
5:58 PM - 12 Nov 2013

Twitter
Glynis F
@Glynis_F
“Race Official: Run behind me” and “If you can read this, I’m not last” also made me laugh.
8:41 PM - 27 Apr 2014

Twitter
Running Royalty
@XCtrackFlorida
Long hair and cocky shirts are a way of life. “If you can read this I’m running faster than you”
7:34 AM - 14 May 2014

Twitter
Romy McMaster
@romymcmaster
Reminds me of the best shirt for marathoners...on the back: “If you can read this, I’m beating you” and on the front “hey, wait up”.
8:13 PM - 27 Jun 2014

Twitter
aprilhauck
@aprilhauck
ha! saw a running shirt that says “if you can read this, I’m not last!” and it cracked me up. Some of my runners would love it! smile
1:25 AM - 6 Sep 2014

Twitter
Fuel Running
@fuelrunning
If you can read this, I’m not last. http://bit.ly/1yO39Av
8:04 PM - 10 Mar 2015

Twitter
Pamela Nash
@pammieluccia
TA DA!  “If you can read this I’m not last” tshirts now available on tee spring!  ALL sizes available!  XOXOXO… http://fb.me/4f0RD5H4n
8:47 PM - 25 Apr 2015

Twitter
Boring Pittsburgh
@BoringPGH
“I run to look good naked” Good Luck Runners! “If you can read this I’m not last” #gameonpgh #PGHMarathon #Pittsburgh
8:55 AM - 3 May 2015

Twitter
Lauren 🏃🏼‍♀️ 🤰🏼
@laurafee
Replying to @westcot667
@westcot667 right?! haha trying to decide if I want to do something fun that’s non Disney too. like “if you can read this I’m not last” lol
1:41 PM - 2 Jun 2015

Twitter
Jessica Maple
@TheGreatMapes
A favorite shirt-back I saw at today’s 5K race read: If you can read this, I’m not last. OOOOOOOHHHH.
10:53 AM - 23 Aug 2015

Twitter
Fido2Dogs
@Fido2dogs
The runner in front of me is wearing a Compton 40 tshirt. On the back, it says, “If you can read this, I’m not last!”
I am the tail cyclist.
9:52 AM - 18 Oct 2015

Twitter
Hike for Hope +5k
@ALFAH4H
If You Can Read This I’m Not Last
What would your running shirt say? http://fb.me/61WaOEQLF
11:25 AM - 8 Mar 2016

Twitter
rubbertapper
@rubbertapper88
If you can read this I’m not last!
#desasenadincharityrun#firstrun#6.6km#4.4mnt#finisher https://www.instagram.com/p/BD__bWnuF8u/
8:37 PM - 9 Apr 2016

Twitter
Really Nice Guy
@yaneezy__
When I did track in junior high the track team had shirts that had “if you can read this I’m winning” printed on the backs
6:47 PM - 8 Jun 2016 from Iowa City, IA

Twitter
Summer Knowles
@WESH2SummerK
I couldn’t get my phone out in time but 1 shirt on the back said: if you can read this, I’m not in last place😂🤣 #Corporate5k @WESH
6:33 PM - 13 Apr 2017

Twitter
T Kelly, MBA ♞
@DaJediMaster
More T Kelly, MBA ♞ Retweeted BibRave
A5: “If you can read this, I’m not last” or “shine bright like a diamond” #Bibchat T Kelly, MBA ♞ added,
BibRave
@BibRave
Q5: If your shirt/running top had a phrase that glowed in the dark, what would it say??? Be creative! #BibChat
9:49 PM - 12 Sep 2017

Twitter
Louie Lichtenberg
@76sweetlou
Replying to @GeneWillis @black_ishABC
“If you can read this I’m not last” at the #plaza10k this year #G5QS
10:26 PM - 10 Oct 2017

Twitter
Bay
@Iyankrnk
If you can read this, I’m not the last ☕️
6:51 AM - 13 Oct 2017

Google Books
Title If You Can Read This I’m Not Last: Composition Notebook: Wide Ruled
Volume 437 of Composition Notebook: Wide Rul
Author Jeryx Publishing
Publisher Independently Published, 2018
ISBN 1729235417, 9781729235416
Length 202 pages
Subjects Literary Collections › Diaries & Journals

Twitter
Brett Fischer
@brettfischerDPT
Favorite shirts from the @brkgsmarathon (I’m only half crazy not full crazy.):
“If you can read this, I’m not in last!”
“I thought this was 1.31 miles...”
1:35 PM - 12 May 2018

Twitter
Shiirts
@shiirts
If You Can Read This I’m Not Last Back Side Logo T-Shirts https://shiirts.com/shop/reading-t-shirts/if-you-can-read-this-im-not-last-back-side-logo-t-shirts/
6:55 PM - 22 Jun 2018

Twitter
Ivanka Trump
@IvankaTrump
Just finished the #Army10miler! Army Strong! Hooah!
(We spent much of the race behind a guy wearing a shirt that said “if you can read this, I’m not last.”😂)
11:37 AM - 7 Oct 2018

Twitter
DarrenPC
@Darren1Cotton
More DarrenPC Retweeted The Shit Runner
Size M
“If you can read this I’m not running fast enough!!” DarrenPC added,
The Shit Runner
@TheShitRunner
Do you want a free tech tee in long sleeve (black or blue)? You’ll get your reflective t-shirt in time for Christmas. (UK only)
All you have to do is RT and comment your size as well as what text you’d like.…
5:32 PM - 4 Dec 2018

Google Books
Title If You Can Read This I’m Not Last: Mileage Log Book
Volume 437 of Mileage Log Book
Author Jeryx Publishing
Publisher Independently Published, 2019
ISBN 1798625849, 9781798625842
Length 104 pages
Subjects Literary Collections › Diaries & Journals

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityExercise/Running/Health Clubs • Saturday, April 20, 2019 • Permalink