Sunday, March 2, 2014

Does size matter?

Have you seen this medal?

This is this year's medal for the Little Rock Marathon. I wrote this blog post before the race actually took place. I'm sorry to hear that it was cancelled half way through because of the weather. This post is NOT about that race. Or that particular medal. I'm writing about medals in general. Please don't flame me!

Maybe I'm a party pooper, but what the hell? That thing is ridiculous! It's bigger than my head! You could eat dinner off it! And yet people are going crazy for the bling these days. 

Don't get me wrong, I love a good race medal. I have a few myself. 


My favorite medal? This one, from the Madison (Wisconsin) Mini-Marathon:

Attractive, yet practical, with the bottle opener. But nothing extreme.

My least favorite medal? This one, from the North Shore Half Marathon:
This was the cheapest, crappiest medal I've gotten.  I'm really not in it for the bling, but if you are advertising as "the best goody bag ever", you better bring it. Plus this was one of the more expensive races I've ever run. I expected a little more for my money. Don't even get me started on the ugly man shirt that I got. Which went right into the Goodwill bag.

Run Disney has really upped the ante with bling. There is the medal for the marathon and the half marathon. It used to be if you ran both, you were considered "Goofy" and got a 3rd medal. Now there are medals for the 5K and the 10K. And if you run all 4, you've done the Dopey challenge and get a medal for that. 6 medals in all.

Ok, this is going to sound curmudgeonly but COME ON! My email is filled with messages from race directors beckoning: "best bling" "biggest medal" and so forth. While I'm not above being rewarded for my effort with a medal around my neck, I don't pick a race just because of the medal.

After seeing the Epic medal, I had to say something. My fellow blogger Marcia, at Marcia's Healthy Slice wrote about this a few weeks ago. You can read that post here. The comments were mixed. Some people LOVE the bling. And others, old school runners like me, would run for no bling or small bling.

I'd not discounting rewarding people for their accomplishments. Long distance racing is hard, requiring dedication and training. If the lure of earning a medal gets more people moving, that isn't a bad thing. I like when the volunteers put the medal around my neck and congratulate me at the finish line. But what do you do with the medals when you're finished showing them off? Where do you store all your medals? Are they on display? Or do they go in a drawer, like mine?

And think about this: the cost of the medal is included in your race fee. These medals aren't cheap. And race fees are going up, up, up! Those Run Disney Races? Start saving your cash now...

Last year's Chicago Marathon medal was small. I heard that people complained about it.
I don't know. Finishing a marathon is a pretty big deal in itself. And now Chicago is so popular, there is a lottery for entry if you don't qualify. So maybe the race promoters don't have to try so hard and sell the race with "bling". 

That's my kind of race.



I've seen the question come up before, and I want to bring it up here. Would you run a race if there were no medals? Do you choose a race because of the bling? Is bigger really better?



I'm linking up with MCMmamaruns, NoGuiltLife, and Run the Great Wide Somewhere for this one!







23 comments :

  1. My BIL ran Chicago in 1997 I think?? His medal is miniscule. I suspect few people will readily admit to running only for bling. I appreciate unique and well designed bling. And I have come to expect decent medals when I layout a lot for a race. But when I started running halfs there were no medals and I never had any expectation of one. Agree Madison has always done a fantastic job with their medals. Also agree the North Shore half medals are crap.

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    1. Agree too! But don't you feel like medals are out of control?

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  2. That medal is a little crazy. I am not even sure how I would display it?! I like to get the medal though I must confess. I ran my first triathlon and there was no finisher medal (only medal for the ppl who placed) and I must admit I was kind of disappointed. The bling makes you feel good post-race!

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    1. I have to agree with you. It's fun to get medals! But I sure wouldn't pick a race on the basis of a medal!

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  3. I am not a bling chaser, I could really care less..I mean what am I supposed to do with them?! I think that one is awesomely cool...but after about 5 minutes I'd be like well now I guess it goes in a box?

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  4. I like the opportunity of getting a medal for a race, but I honestly don't get people who choose races based on the bling. I'd rather have a more modest, well made medal and a lower admission fee, than these EPIC types of medals, yikes!

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  5. The EPIC medal is SO funny! I don't chase the bling. Do you know, I've actually given away all my medals except one (my 1st Chicago Triathlon.) I too love a good medal but I use other ways of remembering my races.

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    1. What do you do with your medals? Who do you give them to?

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    2. People who I feel are Rock Stars. My mom has one. A friend or two. I've even given one to a very special patient of mine. I keep my race numbers and those go into a scrapbook, but otherwise the medals have been given to people I feel would appreciate them and deserve them for some accomplishment other than racing

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  6. Hi! Just saw your comment on Marcia's blog and came over. You must be local-ish to Chicagoland, with those medals!

    I had commented on Marcia's post, but a medal is nice to have, but I don't need one. And when I get one, I am happy to have it, at all. I don't complain about it's size or how ugly it is. LOL, I am always surprised when people get so worked up about it!

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    1. I completely agree! And yes I am local to Chicago. Altho I'm going to add a Florida medal to my collection in about 10 days!

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  7. I like my medals, but I didn't choose any of my races for them. Oddly though, my crappiest medals also coincide with two of the crappiest races I've ever run. Hmmm....

    Which Florida race are you running?

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    1. I'm running the Sarasota half in March. Want to join me?

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  8. For the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, you pay extra for the medal, and I never do! I think that's a fair way of doing it, especially with race entry fees getting higher and higher these days.

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  9. I really think that it's interesting how much BLING has taken over the conversation for running. I like medals, but I don't chase them! I think it's something I've grown to accept, so I would actually feel a little cheated if I didn't get a medal. I do think 5K medals are a little bit of a stretch....

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  10. For a half marathon, I want a medal. You train hard and it's a big deal. if I ran a marathon, I would feel the same way. I didn't choose a half this year because there was no medal (& then they added one because people complained. For other distances, it's a bonus if you get one. I wouldn't not run one if you didn't get one.

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  11. Wow that is one huge medal! I wonder why they didn't reschedule it? Hopefully all that registered will be able to do it next year. Races are too expensive to not be getting awesome bling -L

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