Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Mark Remy's column at Runner's World asked this question yesterday:
OK, Time to Retire the Finisher's Medal
They're officially getting out of hand. Can't races find a more creative memento?
IN the beginning, medals were something special. According to Wikipedia, around the fourth century BCE, the Hebrew high priest Jonathan led his people in an alliance with Alexander the Great. Alexander was so grateful that he sent Jonathan a gold button. This was already apparently customary among the Greeks.
Eventually, everyone started giving out medal: the Nobel committee, government to soldiers, people Congress thinks did a cracker-jack job for our county.
Now if you cross the finish line, even at a walk with your cell to your ear, you get a medal. It's kind of like Little League where even the suckiest team gets a trophy.
DMGH Blue Sox
Sixth place Finishers
Desert Meadows Gardens Heights Little League
1-12 Regular season
Yeah, if we don't have one of those, our kids got one.
But come on. There was a time when only the first three runners got a medal and only for the Marathon. Because there wasn't a half-marathon. Everyone else got a cotton T-Shirt and a thank you.
Mark suggests that it's getting a little out of hand. Race directors are looking for ways to make their medal special. Spinning parts, bottle openers, one women's race hands out Tiffany necklaces (little ones, but still). The Little Rock Marathon unveiled their 2013 medal this week. Here is a picture to scale:
Ok, maybe not, but it's close. At 8 inches wide and 2 pounds, 12 ounces, it's sort of comically hefty.
He had some suggestions:
Finisher's Chalice (I did get a coffee mug once, does that count?)
Finisher's Sticker (Like we get for voting or giving blood)
He then opened comment for suggestions.
A Tax-Deduction. (Heck I run enough races, the gummint would owe me money.)
Various adult beverage glasses were suggested from Pint to Champagne flute
A belt like wrestlers get
Running shoes (that might be prohibitively expensive)
Lapel pins and coins. (I like that)
"A letter to the runner's spouse that, 'Yes, I did indeed run a race that I must have indeed trained for and that all those long hours away from our bed soooo early on Saturday morning were not spent with an illicit lover... '
Or a gift certificate to Applebees."