Race Medals --- Why? (Read 692 times)

    As someone else pointed out, it's not just an age thing.  I'm 20 and keep very few of my medals.  I keep ones that I earned such as AG placement but most of mine eventually find their way to the garbage can, cause frankly I haven't found a better use for them.  I'd rather the races lower the cost of entry and cut the frills.

    'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'


    "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher


    "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis


      I was wondering about the origin of the finisher's medals as well. Typically, I've seen them in half marathons and marathons (I've never participated in ultras - my experience is limited).


      T-shirts are also common, from 5K and up. Who determines what the standard is? I suppose the market does.


      I recently ran the New River Half Marathon. Due to a number of logistical issues, the organizers decided to give out a square magnet (the kind you would put on your refrigerator) as a medal. Many people complained. I suppose it's because we've been conditioned to a certain standard (plus, the organizers advertised a wooden medal, not a magnet). In the end the organizers mailed a wooden medal to those finishers who requested it.


        I like the medals, but I also wish they were limited to marathons, half-marathons, and big regional races longer than 10K (Bloomsday, Bay to Breakers, Portland Shamrock, Pear Blossom, etc.). I ran an 8K that awarded a medal. I mean, I appreciated the thought and I'm keeping the medal, but it felt kind of silly to have a medal for running just five miles.


        I've also been running for only a year and a half, so my running things haven't quite accumulated like some others. Perhaps 10 years down the line I won't want so many medals!

        Current PRs:

        5K: 27:06 (11/10/12) | 5M: 44:03 (6/1/13) | 10K: 1:00:48 (7/4/12)

        15K: 1:27:53 (3/17/13) | 10M: 1:30:25 (4/13/13) | HM: 1:59:55 (4/28/13)

        Next race: Ashland 4th of July 10K


        Skirt Runner

          I have not received a medal yet... I have run 13 races at distances 5K-10 mile. I am ok with that though because my first race medal will be for my first Half Marathon in October, and I feel like HMs and fulls are medal deserving.


          However, it kind of annoys me a bit because my first HM will be a part of the Baltimore Running Festival, which hosts a 5K, marathon relay, HM and full marathon on the same day. Traditionally, everyone gets a shirt but only the HM and full marathons get a medal (relay might too...I am not totally sure) but apparently there were so many complaints last year that the 5Kers didn't get medals that this year everyone who races gets a medal. I ran the 5K last year....I didn't get a medal, and I was more than ok with it....but I have been working really hard training to do the half this year, and apparently all I needed to get a medal is to run the 5K again. I don't think 5Ks should have medals unless you place... but whatever. Done ranting. 

          PRs:   5K- 28:16 (5/5/13)      10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13)    4M- 41:43 (9/7/13)   15K- 1:34:25  (8/17/13)    10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14)     HM- 2:20:16 (4/13/14)     Full- 5:55:33 (11/1/15)


          I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to


            I have a few medals from racing.....I love all of them.  Blush


            Running is stupid

              Kristin - Does the 5k medal look the same as the HM medal? I know some races differentiate the medals for the various distances to show which one you did, maybe not all do this.


              In any case, I am noobish enough to have run very few races, so still enjoy collecting the medals. My races were all halves & fulls anyway, so I guess I am deserving. Wink Although kind of funny, I was at the same race as a fellow forumite; he ran the 5k which got no medal, I ran the HM which did. I ran a rather pedestrian mid-pack kind of time; he finished 4th overall (of >1000). Which one of us deserved a medal?


              I never really think about the medal as an "everyone's a winner" thing, more as just a souvenir like the t-shirt. Of course as much as I like the medals, they are currently residing in a (very small) pile under my nightstand.



                I sure wish they would get rid of the finisher's medals and either lower the cost ofr give more to the charities but I think this view is in the minority.  I also wish they would stop giving out the award medals in most of the races also.  It is nice to get the award but I have the medal around myneck for the 20 or 30 minutes after the award ceremony until I get to my car, the award ends up in a shoe box in a closet ( or in the trash) never to se the light of day again.  They could save the money.


                But this is an example of the third grading of America.  Everyone is special, everyone is a winner.  The country has been this way for the last twenty or thirty years and it has become more prevalent recents.  This washy some 5ks now have finishers medals.


                  Maybe more races will start making medals optional like they're starting to do for t-shirts.  I know for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, you have the option to buy the medal when you register.  It's pretty so I could see people buying one for that reason alone.


                  FWIW, I only display 3 medals at home (the rest I take into work because I don't want them hanging around) - my first marathon, my first Boston, my first Ragnar.

                  “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the fight in the dog. – Dwight D. Eisenhower


                  My blog is JT Running DC.  It's awesome.


                  Proboscis Colossus

                    I like the medals, strictly as mementos.  This may sound crazy, but I also value some of them from an aesthetic standpoint - my Route 66 medal, for instance, is just pretty to look at, and the "classiest" medal I own is my 2012 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon medal.  And when they re-design them every year, as most do, they become sort of like collectors items - but collector's items I would never, ever "collect" without having run the race in question.


                    So, yeah, while I'm as critical of anyone else of the "Everyone's A Winner!" mentality, I don't mind everyone getting a medal, as long as some thought is put into it.  I can absolutely verify, there are many, many people (*cough*membersofmyfamily*cough*) who enter races solely for the "bling."  I've never understood it, seems like a LOT of work for something they could buy the equivalent of easily, but that's why they pay their money toward whatever charity benefits.


                    If I ever place in a race, maybe I'll take some of the MONEY they usually give for that and buy myself a "special" medal denoting my accomplishment.  But I doubt it.


                    MTA: Hmm, that link to the OKC medal shows one from 2011, but it looks exactly the same as the one I received last year.  Guess they didn't re-design for 2012.  2013 was different, though, and IMO, had more color, but less class.

                    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                    Queen of 3rd Place

                      For Pete's sake, of all the things to gripe about...so then DONATE your medals! Make someone's day. While Medals4mettle is probably the most famous charity, there are others, including Medals of Courage, the random guy in the picture below thought it was an ok idea...



                      Ex runner


                        I only run two marathons a year, so my closet is not overflowing.   I like 'em and enjoy them as souvenirs--each one means something to me:  from my first finish to my first BQ, they are nice reminders of what I am capable of during times that my training isn't going as well (out 6 weeks at the moment). Angry


                        So, yeah, it may be "third grading", but I don't look down on anyone who treasures their race medals.

                        Will run for scenery.

                          I guess it depends on how important finishing is to the runner. For a 5k or 10k, I'd feel a bit silly.  But for me finishing 10 miles, 15 miles, or more with dignity intact is still a big deal.  I like the ceremonial moment as you cross the finish line and someone is there to put something around your neck.  I also like a beer, and some tasty post-race snacks.  It all costs a bit, but for me it adds something.


                          There are races out there that don't spend money on medals or food or beer or tech shirts or chip timing or prizes or web sites or advertising.  But not many people hear about them and even fewer people participate.  I think in various ways most of us want a certain amount of ritual.  Otherwise it ceases to be an event and just turns into a bunch of people who happen to be running on the same day.

                          Stupid feet!

                          Stupid elbow!

                            I am fairly new to running, but I have been involved in martial arts for years. I have a slightly different view about the "everyone's a winner" mentality. As a martial arts instructor, I see a "new" group of students at the beginning of every testing cycle. New "white belts" come in every shape, age, color, and skill level. My desire is for EVERY student to drag themselves off the floor after a workout, and it is never "easy". I push everyone to their limit, because I want everyone to perform at their personal best. I find that award ceromonies are very emotional, because my students know that they EARNED their awards. Even though everyone may get an award, it is something that everyone cherishes.


                            As for translating this into running, for many, a 5k is a serious challenge. For others, it is a walk in the park. I actually felt discouraged because I did not get a medal after last weekends race, (as weird as that sounds,) I took 91st place out of 396, and it was the HARDEST race I have ever ran. I really wanted a momento. But, they got rid of the medals, because of the complaints from those who didn't want them, last year.


                            It is all a matter of opinion, but I love to know that I put in the work, sacrifice, sweat, (and sometimes blood), to prepare and train. It is very inspiring to post that picture on facebook, with a medal around my neck. I have had friends start to race, because of accomplishments I have made. To me, that is the most important part of any sport. A stack of medals / trophies hanging on the wall, also reminds me of where I began and how far I have come.

                            100K or Bust

                              It took me 45 years before I received my first finisher's medal. I value it almost as much as my first trophy for placing in a race, but for very different reasons. I earned that trophy by training and racing my butt off and had to out sprint another runner to grab that last trophy. I was one of the last finishers in the marathon and had to sprint like crazy over the last 100m to finish in 5:30:00. I worked as hard during that race as I did for the trophy, the difference being I was nowhere near as well prepared. The reason I cherish it is that it is a tangible reminder of an incredible weekend meeting with forum friends, racing in a well organized race with enthusiastic volunteers to the end, and enjoying the support and cheers of both my friends and the volunteers. It wouldn't have bothered me if medals weren't given out or even if I hadn't got one through a snafu, but it changed my mind about finisher's medals and why so many runners value them.

                              2017 Goals: for races not to be exercises in futility

                                There are races out there that don't spend money on medals or food or beer or tech shirts or chip timing or prizes or web sites or advertising.  But not many people hear about them and even fewer people participate.  I think in various ways most of us want a certain amount of ritual.  Otherwise it ceases to be an event and just turns into a bunch of people who happen to be running on the same day.


                                Seriously, who wants the obvious disappointment, zero commraderie and lack of joy from this non-event:


                                When you can feel super special and unique like this:


                                "Events" have their place, I guess, but "a bunch of people who happen to be running racing on the same day" is the heart and soul of the sport imo.

                                Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                                We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes