Race medals - they are a symbol or hard work, sheer determination, courage, heart, passion, countless weeks of training, sweat, possibly a blister or two, and the mark of an accomplishment. Runners wear them with pride and cherish their growing collection. Whether your race medal collection hasn’t started yet, you have more than 50 of them hanging above your mantle, or you donate your medals to charity (http://www.medals4mettle.org/), there is something to be said about receiving one on race day. However, have you ever received an award that wasn’t a medal? For example, Badwater Ultra Marathon finishers receive a belt buckle.
In 2008, I ran in a local 5K that supports the Sheriff Explorers, the Chino Hills Challenge. Not only did I come in first in my age group for this race, it is also my 5K PR time to date at 21:44. After the race I stayed around enjoying the festivities and waiting for the awards ceremony to begin. I was rather shocked, and pretty excited, when I saw what they were giving to the top three winners of each division.
When my name and time was called for first place in the 20-24 female division, I walked up to the podium and proudly accepted my engraved 32oz beer mug. It is engraved with a law enforcement star and handcuffs. It says “Chino Hills Challenge 2008 Award Winner.” Winners from the 19 and under division groups received medals, which I thought was pretty funny because the awards ceremony was packed with on and off duty Sheriffs officers.
Have you ever received a race award that wasn’t a medal? Or have you received a particularly cool medal?