This link is to an article which originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Level Renner. The article is a little tongue-in-cheek, but calls into question why every one who finishes a race receives the same finisher’s medal.
The author compares runners to childhood soccer or basketball players where everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. I know some runners run races just for the medal or just for the party afterwards. However, most people I know put in an honest effort at each race.
The medal and cold beers after the race with friends is a bonus. Most of us train on a regular basis and when it is race time we give our best effort. 98% of us will never finish first in a race and probably 90% of us will never place in the top three of our age bracket. So what?
Most of us run because we love it, it keeps us in shape, helps us meet people and we love to compete. But most of us are competing with our selves, and no one else. Most of us are looking to set a new PR and never dream of breaking the tape at the finish line.
All of the things we love about running keeps us out there on the roads and trails, and helps keep us healthy. For many of us running is a hobby, just one that happens to be good for us.
I do not need a finisher’s medal for every race I run. The first medal is great but eventually they start to pile up. I do expect a finisher’s medal for a half-marathon or marathon as those races are major undertakings and generally cost a few bucks to enter.
Give the article a read and let me know how you feel.
Finisher medals are ruining this great country. It’s not necessarily the medals themselves, but what they represent. The medals just seem to reinforce the notion that the act of finishing is good enough. A good friend of mine once told me, “It’s all outfits and finisher medals these days.” Sadly he was dead on with his analysis, and there’s something very wrong with that.