The Participant Medal…


I ran a race on Sunday, and at the end of the race they decorated me with a participant medal.  “I hereby acknowledge that this grown-ass woman PARTICIPATED!”

Is it really recognition of an accomplishment?  Or just justification for the $30 paid to run in Central Park?

I’m a member of the generation people criticized for being “soft” because we grew up getting participation ribbons and medals.  “They want recognition for everything they do!”  Maybe…but I’d love to see the tweets following a running event where no medals were given at the finish.  “This event sucked!  They didn’t even give medals at the end!”

I actually hate that they give these medals away.  Not only is it a total waste of money, but  how terrible are you at interior decorating that it thrills you to display a medal you received for running a 5K?  Unless there’s some story that goes along with it like, “My first 5K EVER!” or “I crab-walked the whole way!”  Otherwise it just seems silly.

Please note that I’m not lumping in half marathons or marathons.  Those races ARE feats!!!

Now, maybe you thought, “Well, just don’t take a medal then,” and if so, then you’re unaware of the social pressure that goes along with it.  It’s not like they have a pile of medals that you take as part of the race’s SWAG…the volunteers FORCE a medal on you.  When you cross the finish line, they herd you into a single-file line and forcibly place a medal around your neck.  It’s better not to fight them, otherwise it looks like you’re shunning the volunteer.  “It’s not you; it’s the medal!”

I get that some people like a memento.  Let’s say you’d been training for that 5K for months, and you ran an amazing time.  In that instance save your bib number!  Bib numbers are made of an indestructible, papery-plasticy material, so save that!  It’s easily framable and/or mountable, so just write your time on your bib number and throw it in the shoebox with your divorce papers!  Call it the Box of Accomplishments!  Then the race organization isn’t wasting money on medals, and we promise to remember that grown adults don’t need participation medals.

Oh?!  You spent $30!  You should get a medal!

If that were true, then the electric company owes me a medal every time I pay my bill.

Oooo…I would like that!



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