Let's talk medals. A completely controversial topic. You see, when I first started running races, the only people who got medals were the top 3 finishers. The rest of us usually got a crappy cotton t-shirt. And really, it wasn't a huge deal, I never really ran for the medal, I ran for the experience.
And then more races started handing out medals. And more people began signing up for races. And the running community divided between people being annoyed at "participation medals" and those who loved the new additions.
You know where I stand? I'm pro-medal. As I said above, I never ran for the medal. But this isn't about me. I know there's also a contingency who doesn't love that races have become accessible to every Tom, Dick, and Mary, but I think it's a good thing. I think it's great that people are getting out there, being active, and competing - even if it's just against themselves. And if medals encourage more people to get up and running, then medals are the perfect carrot. It's a sign of accomplishment for someone who can't even begin to imagine running 3 miles, let alone 26.2. And yes, of course there is a sense of accomplishment in the actual completion of the race, but that's completely internal. Sometimes we want something external to show too.
With that in mind, I've rounded up some of my all-time favorite medals that I've earned. Ready for a little jaunt through running history?
AFLAC Iron Girl 5k. It wasn't my first race by any means, but it was the first race I ran that handed out medals. So even though it's not so flashy, it will always have a special meaning to me. And it was also the first race I ever ran with Thatmom!
Villa Park 5k. Because they gave medals to the top 5 from each age group, I snuck in as number 5! It's the only medal I've ever actually earned because of my time and that makes it hold a special place in my heart.
AFC Half Marathon medal isn't especially shiny. There's nothing inherently special about it. It's not even all that pretty. But no matter how many half marathons I've run, this will always be my first. I can still remember crossing that finish line, and nearly crying. It was such a huge deal for me.
California 10/20 is one of my favorites based completely on the look of the medal. Shaped like a guitar pick, it is probably my coolest shaped medal. And the pretty glittery blues make it stand out.
Safari Park Half medal is also very glittery. Glittery with a cheetah on the front. A glittery cheetah. Do YOU have any medals with a glittery cheetah on them? Really, it's how I like to think of myself as I run.
The Blerch is probably my cutest race medal. How adorable is his chubby little face? And those wittle bitty wings? It's also kind of cool to get the same medal for a virtual race as those who ran the actual thing.