One of my favorite pastimes is reading other peoples’ running blogs. I call it research, but in true runner fashion, it’s actually scoping out the competition. I like to see who else is writing recaps of what races, who’s an expert on any given subject from nutrition to technology, and to check out who has the latest in fancy equipment. It’s digital voyeurism in its purest and most innocent form.
During one of my recent perusals, I came across a blogger (who shall remain nameless) who threw out the age-old question about what runners do with their mementos from races. Usually this topic centers around where race medals are hung and on what apparatus.
In this case, the blogger was referring to actual plaques and awards for age division placement, and even first overall in a race. The blogger took photos of the awards laid out on an obscure piece of furniture, described each award and the race in which it was won, and then described unceremoniously throwing away multiple awards because they took up too much space.
My first reaction to the blog? If you have room for that furniture, you can find someplace to put a half-dozen plaques. But that’s just the beginning of my quandary with this situation.
I’ll admit that I rarely place in races, and the two plaques I have for placing in my age division are among my fastest marathon times. After receiving my plaque for my first place age division finish in the 2011 Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, I asked the race director if there was a mistake and then double checked to make sure I wasn’t the only person competing in my age division. Having said this, I have now qualified my feelings that follow by showing that I place a high value on being recognized for an achievement, no matter how big or small.
Everything that goes in to the production of medals and awards takes time and energy put forth by race organizers. Months of planning, designs, and drafts are gone through in order to get those finished products produced and in to the hands of stand out performers at the event. As someone who understands on a professional level what goes in to putting on even the smallest production, it pains me to see those awards publicly being discarded as refuse.
As training for another running season approaches and the summer months dwindle, more medals and award will begin to line shelves of athletes everywhere. When I first ran a marathon three years ago to earn my first medal, I framed it to hang it in a prominent place. My initial intent was to run two or three races at that distance, so I bought matching frames to await filling them with medals.
Now, with many more marathons and half marathons under my fuel belt than I can name off the top of my head, I have more medals than the wall of my meager abode can handle. They hang on the side of a CD rack or from the top of a glass apothecary jar on my kitchen counter. I treat each as their own piece of artwork, and many are just that; however, there is no way each can be displayed in an appropriate way to justly note what they stand for and the achievement associated with each.
I like talking to friends who have their medals thumb tacked to their office walls to allow their coworkers to look on in awe at their accomplishments. I also think it’s a subtle way of them saying “Don’t tick me off, or I can easily run you down without the use of a car.”
So that brings me to asking you “What do you do with your awards and race mementos?” I’d love to get some tips on how to properly display them in both a proper, yet space sensitive manner. These items may be disposable to some, but to many I believe they are held in the esteem that they deserve.