Have you seen this medal?
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!|