Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Heavy Medal

Back in the day (I can't believe I actually just used that term), I was a decorated runner. In high school, I ran the 100 meter and 200 meter dash, the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400 meter relays, and ran girls cross country. I won a fair share of races, and went to Iowa Girls State Track a couple of times.

I also received a fair share of medals, which were hung lovingly on bulletin boards in my teenage bedroom. They now live in a container somewhere in my parents basement in Iowa.

These days, I never place or win an event, but my medal collection is growing rapidly:
I greeted my boyfriend at the door last night wearing all of these medals and said, "Just in case you didn't know. I'm a winner." LOL! I promptly took them off because my neck was starting to hurt.

If you pay for a race and you participate, they give you a medal. Simple as that. You could come in first place, or last place and you get a medal. Some of them are kind of cool, but I always feel weird accepting one when I come in 526th place. Also, what am I going to do with these medals? I'm not going to hang them on a wall in my bedroom or office at work. That would be strange. I guess I could wear them as every day jewelry, but my co-workers might think I'm either overly confident or, more likely, insane. And, as we all know - I'm not very crafty either.

Now I can see receiving a medal for something special: placing, running a personal record, maybe your first time running that particular race, or your first time doing a particular distance. But, I'm not big on giving them to every single person - I'd rather just pay less for the race. For some people, though, not receiving a medal is a deal-breaker. People just LOVE getting stuff for free!

This year I ran two of the Rock and Roll marathon series races, and, as a gift, they gave me yet another medal. (I received a medal for both races already.) Here it is. Pay close attention to the address label:

Thanks Competitor Group for keeping the US postal system in business.

They will give a medal to anyone. . . including the person who just bought your house or rented your former condo. Even if they did nothing. This makes me sad. Seriously, is this what our school system is doing? Rewarding everyone for everything, or rewarding them for absolutely nothing at all.

So listen up race organizers! Instead of giving medals to everyone, is there a way to give them only to people who accomplished something awesome at the event (first timers, personal records, best fundraising effort) -  or at least give people like me the opportunity to save some money, or donate them to a good cause. For now, I will continue to grow my medal collection, but I'm going to try and find an organization that might need them for a kids program or something similar. Any ideas?

Now it's time to conquer the t-shirt problem.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad most cycling events don't do medals, or at least the ones I've done. The free tee shirt thing is usually the case, which is great, I could always use new shirts. And I can wear them in public to both show off that I did the event without the awkwardness of wearing a medal or ribbon, and to, well, be dressed.

    Personally I prefer when events hand out patches as the finishing prize. They look great as a collection on my travel cycle bag. I wish more events would simply hand out patches to finishers, and save the medals for the podiums. Or even charge extra for the medal so first timers or record breakers can get them for sentimental reasons.