Race Medals and Swag – Part 1

This is a topic that comes up at least once a month on my group runs, and one I think about every once and a while. Most races that are a Half Marathon or farther (and some shorter ones) give out a medal for covering the distance and crossing the finish line. It doesn’t matter if you finished first or last, you’ll get the same medal.

If you’re a distance runner/racer you likely fall into one of two categories. Either you display your medals on some sort of hanger or medal rack, or you toss them in a box and never look at them again. So let’s talk about these two types of people.

I’ll admit, I fall into the category of hanging my medals. Not on a fancy hanger, mind you, just on hooks attached to my plastic storage shelves I bought from Lowes. Still, I like my race medals. Not because I want to flaunt the races I’ve done (that’s what social media is for…obviously), but because they all tell a story. And maybe this is me being a journalism major here, but there is a story behind everything, and the medals, I think, go a long way in telling them.

Now, if we’re sticking to the display category, there is another type of person. The one who will run the races to get the medal. Not for time. Not for the competition. For the medal. And I understand part of this. I get wanted to show that you accomplished something that very few people (especially if we’re talking about a marathon) have or ever will do. And that’s fine. But I’ve entered races where we get something other than a medal (more on that later) and some runners are audibly upset about their lack of medal. Come on people. If you want a medal that bad, you could run 13 or 26 miles on your own and make a medal. It will cost less. Then there are those who enter a race because the medal looks cool and for no other reason. Again, I don’t get that.

Like I said, I like my race medals. I think they’re all unique and have a cool story to tell. I like it when I get non-medals better, because it is something different. Because at the end of the day, a race medal is something you will likely wear for a couple hours after the race and never again. Who cares what it looks like. The accomplishment is really what counts. Your runner and non-runner friends won’t really care if the medal is ugly or cool, they’ll care about what you accomplished.

Tomorrow in part 2, we’ll talk a bit about those who don’t care at all about race medals. And if my rant isn’t too long, we’ll dive into races that give you something other than a medal.

Run: And now that my rant is over, let’s talk about my actual run yesterday. For the third straight day, heat and humidity were the story. The morning rain gave us a bit more humid than Tuesday did. I definitely had less energy than on Tuesday, but hit about my normal pace, maybe a little slower. My main goal, though, was to hop on some single track trails in Ames. Trails are always a nice break, and after rain in the morning, they were nice and muddy. For me, the run was tougher than most, but a trail run is never a bad run. I also had the opportunity to take a different route back home. Until tomorrow, friends!

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