October 14, 2015

Race medals - do you run for bling?

While doing a short run this morning, my medal and running display came to the forefront of my thoughts. We had house guests over the weekend and when they saw my "shrine" of medals and plaques, I honestly became embarrassed despite it being in our bedroom.  Before we moved last December, my closet was a perfect spot for lots of my race memorabilia and photos.  My desk area was also in a secluded spot where I enjoyed my running stuff, but it was not in a main part of our home.  Now, my medal rack and photos, Boston poster and other items are hung across one wall in the bedroom.  And yes, it is obnoxious.  So, this weekend, my plans are to rearrange my closet and put the medal rack and plaques on the wall so they are viewed by my eyes only.



My family calls me a collector. Hadley Pottery, Pandora charms, Hummel figurines, you name it and I probably collected it at some point in time.  Over the last few years, my singular collection is running medals and prizes.  While race medals are fun to collect, many runners put their medals in drawers and under beds in a box,including lots of places other than on display.  My sister is the perfect example of someone who never puts anything on display.  Actually, I have not been to her house since we ran Boston together in April, but my guess is that medal is in a drawer.  I kinda hope it is on display, since she worked so hard with me to complete the race, But my gut tells me her modest self has the medal hidden away.

Over the past decade, participation medals and trophies for many sports are now the norm.  In the past, you had to be either an age group winner or overall winner to earn medals at running races. As a child, a participation trophy was given to Christine for tee ball, I thought it was quite strange. The teams did not keep score (although every kid knew if they had won or lost) and a dinky trophy was certainly not going to make the kid who struck out every time feel better about his baseball skills.

While medals are not my motivation to race, there is an amount of enjoyment when I look at my medal display and realize how much I have done over the past 5 years.  That being said, I would prefer a cheaper price tag for 5k and 10k races instead of a participation medal.  In my opinion, the longer races seem to merit a medal, but those smaller races should only give age group awards.

Tell me your thoughts on medals. Do you run for the bling, or the race experience?  Have you ever won an age group award?
(Pam)

36 comments:

  1. I don't really consider myself to be someone that races for medals. However, I have a medal rack near my treadmill. In this home it works out well because that space isn't the center of attention when guests come over. But, thinking back to our last home, I never had them on display just for that reason. Who knows where our next move will have my medals? I've won a few local race awards and I definitely tend to feel just as much pride in those as say my first marathon medal. So, I guess I would say it is all about the experience for me.

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    1. I love the idea of a medal rack near your treadmill. Great motivation when you are struggling on a run. We left our treadmill behind when we moved to Wilmington since we have a gym in our neighborhood. I would copy you if we still have a machine!

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  2. I'm a medals in a shoebox under the bed kind of person. I appreciate the idea of medals for races, because it is a big accomplishment and it's a nice way to celebrate at the finish and have a memento, but I don't display mine - partially because I don't have room and partially because like you said, it sort of feels weird. If I ever have a bigger place that we have an "office"/ spare room it, not sure if I'd decide to hang some, we'll see!

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    1. Somehow I knew you were the shoebox type and I mean that in the best way possible. It's kinda like the competitive Yoga mindset!

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  3. Personally I don't think you should be embarrassed by your display-it looks nice AND you worked hard and earned every one. I say OWN IT :)

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    1. Sure, I wouldn't put a trophy case (had I any trophies) in a room where houseguests frequent. But I think race participation medals are different. They are made deliberately attractive as decorative pieces and are more a beautiful record of your running history than a statement of "how great I am." I see them as more like souvenirs than trophies, and I have no problem displaying souvenirs. I have my half-marathon and marathon medals in a rack in our TV room and I'm not embarrassed by it at all. I'd love to see your rack hanging on a wall so I could look through it and see what kind of medals different races give, and how the Disney medals change over time/place. Just like I'd peruse any souvenir shelf. In fact, if I left your house, and later learned you had a couple dozen marathon medals you hid from me, I'd be annoyed! - David T.

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    2. Oh, and I have a couple age group awards, but I don't display them. Those are in fact trophies.

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    3. Thanks Monica. I guess moving the medal may be more work than my husband wants to do and I can always say my bedroom is messy if someone wants to see the house! You made me laugh with your reply David. I would not hide marathon medals from another runner, but I do think non runners don't quite get all the medals and awards. However, if someone has golf or tennis awards, it really is no different.

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  4. Daughter has a bunch of running medals but the only ones she hangs are the ones for winning her age group. (And this cute little turkey trophy for being first at Turkey 5k that she name Gerald is on her dresser.) She usually only wears the T-shirts out in public of races she placed in, the rest are pj shirts. I proudly hang my 1 race finishing medal in my room from a Disney 5k. Do whatever works for you!

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    1. I love the idea of a turkey trophy for a Thanksgiving race. We have run Thanksgiving races many times, but they just gave sad little medals for the age group awards.

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  5. I'm mostly in it for the race experience overall (especially shorter distance races) - but I'll be honest...there are races I register for because I'm enticed by the bling! :)

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    1. There are some pretty cool medals Karen. I love the one for the Castaway Cay Challenge.

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  6. This is an interesting question. I don't pick a race because of the bling, but I want bling from the races i pick! I'm running Big Sur in April, and I cannot wait to get that handcrafted ceramic medal!

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    1. Oh one of the girls in my running group ran Big Sur this year and she loved the experience. And yes, that medal look super cool and very unique!

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  7. Now I LOVE my medals! But it's not the reason I will choose to run a certain race. My medals are all in my bedroom as well. So most people that come to my house will never see them. I do agree that smaller races should stick to just medals for age group winners. And yes! I've won AG awards! I won last fall in two 5K's! Never thought that would happen to me!

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    1. Mindy you have gotten so fast that you will win lots of AG awards in the future. I do like keeping the medals out of the main living spaces.

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  8. I don't choose races based on the bling but I do like having it as a nice little bonus :) I hang my medals on a rack in our little workout room and it serves as a nice bit of motivation, but I'm pretty much the only one who ever sees it in there.

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    1. Having medals near your workout space is the perfect spot. Unfortunately, I don't workout at home any more other than maybe a Yoga DVD or some Bosu ball work.

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  9. I definitely run for the bling. If a local race has a finisher's medal, I'm there. However, I run a lot of races that don't offer finisher's medals too. It's not the sole reason I pick a race, but it is nice for everyone to receive a token of their achievement. Many runners will not place overall or in their age group, so finisher's medals give them something to remember the race by and be proud of. IMHO, it's way better than a t-shirt.

    Most of my medals are from placing in my age group or overall, and I love those too. I've also been the person at a race who hands out the medals and I will say that is a very rewarding volunteer job because you see how much people treasure it (FWIW, a lot of front of the pack people don't even take the medal! What's up with that?).

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    1. Oh I do think a medal is better than a t-shirt although recently I have been wearing my cotton 5k shirts around the house as my comfy clothes!

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  10. I could have written this post. I have A LOT of medals. I finally hung them in our guest room. Luckily we haven't had any guests cuz I am kind of embarrassed by the display.

    I would prefer to just get medals for half & full marathons. And age group medals are nice but I don't care if I get any. I would rather get something usable like a gift card or food.

    I am thinking of just hanging up my half medals but what do I do with the rest???

    Ideas?

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    1. Good point Darlene. Gift cards are very useful, but I have only gotten one as an award. We always get little medals for AG placement at local races.

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  11. While medals are certainly a factor in the races I decide to register for, they aren't my sole or main motivation behind the races I choose to run vs. the races I choose to pass on. I have gotten medals at some 5ks and 10ks, but those medals are usually much smaller than the ones from my longer races. While I hang all of the medals that I've earned, the medals from my longer distance races are certainly more meaningful because of the hard work that they represent.

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    1. I agree that certain medals for the longer distances hold a much bigger value than those for the 5k and 10k distance. Yet for a first time runner, a medal could be what keeps them going to future races.

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  12. Like you, my medals are hanging in our bedroom. I have a serious display of half marathon medals. It takes up a lot of space. But, I also have a collection of plaques, trophies and medals for AG placing that I don't really know what to do with. I don't expect a finishers medal for a 5k or 10k. I think you should be proud of your collection and I wouldn't put it in the closet.

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    1. Holly I am now rethinking what to do about my collection. I just feel bad for my husband, although he has a designated room for an office in the house and I have a little desk area in the kitchen. So his golf trophies/awards are in a cabinet in his office.

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  13. I love that you display your medals and you shouldn't be embarrassed by them! I don't have many and they are still sitting in my office but I will be buying a medal holder and displaying them proudly. I haven't always been a runner so they are a great accomplishment for me. And I can't lie I have chosen some races specifically for the medal but who would say no the awesome medals you receive from Disney races, Space Coast, and the A1A.

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    1. Thanks so much Kayla. The Space Coast series medals are really beautiful but sadly that is not a time of year when I would go to FL to race.

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  14. When I first started running, I was all about the bling. Now I'm all about a good tech shirt or hoodie. I'm certainly not going to turn down a medal. I enjoy the collector aspect of getting a finisher medal. It's a keepsake I enjoy having. I do have my NYCM and Ragnar medals on my mantel because they were huge accomplishments. I put all of my other medals on a standing coat rack in my room.

    The same goes for horse show ribbons. There's a few I'm extremely proud of that are on my mantel and I've hung the rest up in my room. I live by myself, though, so I figure if I ever get married, I'll rearrange.

    As of right now, only my cats have to stare at my accomplishments. And to be honest, they should be proud of their mother. ;)

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    1. I knew you had alot of horse show awards and ribbons and I totally understand the value placed on certain awards over others. My Boston Marathon medal will always be on display because it was so hard to earn!

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  15. At one point Scott wanted me to hang my medal rack in the living room and I said "No way"..lol. I like them in my dressing room even if no one but me sees them ( and the occasional friend who wants to borrow clothes)!
    When I signed up for my first Disney race I had no idea we got a medal ( I had no social media back then). We did it for the experience but the medals certainly make things special! -M

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    1. That is hilarious he wanted your medal rack in the living room. That is a very supportive husband M., I agree that the Disney medals are very special.

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  16. I think we both know that I run for the experience. Otherwise, I would be the most blingiest (and brokest) person out there!

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    1. I used to go berserk over the runDisney medals, but now I value medals earned from a hard fought race. I understand exactly what you mean about the experience. That is why I am running NYC Marathon!

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  17. I definitely don't pick a race based on the bling, but it's a nice bonus :) The experience is what matters most for me!

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  18. yes yes yes! i have all of my disney medals in the living room-i need to buy more curtain rods for all of my medals!

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