I won't hide that one of my silent reasons for running is that I get big medal as a reward. Sure there is an army of other more honorable and immaterial reasons to run, but let's face it, sometimes you just want the pony. There is something special in getting a medal placed around your neck: it links your small accomplishment to the long line of human athletic achievements throughout the ages and well into the future. It's arguably my favorite moment of racing (regardless that it coincides with the end of the race).
The first time I ran a race and didn't get a medal I was upset. Really upset. Since then I've vainly made sure the races I sign up for have a medal waiting for me at the end--especially since I now tend to travel long distances to races, I need to come back with a souvenir.
With all this talk of medals you would think that I had a dark room set aside for them outfitted like the Museum of Natural History with custom spotlights on each medal and an adjacent engraved plague with a description of the race . But I live in New York, there's no such thing as a spare room. I actually--and slightly ironically--store them in a green cardboard box on top of a bookshelf:
Opening up the box you see a salad of ribbons. Underneath the medals is every bib number I've ever worn. Since not every race yields a medal I've made it a habit to hold onto every bib number I've worn over the past six years. But I digress. This post is about medals.
My favorite medals based on looks are (below, going clockwise from the pink ribbon): Flying Pig Marathon, National Half-Marathon, Maple Leaf Half-Marathon, NYCM, and Disney World Half-Marathon. The Pig and National medals are high quality medals and cool custom ribbons. The Pig has the added benefit of having a flying pig on it, which gives it +10 style points. The Maple Leaf medal is my only non-metallic medal. It's blown glass, hand made and stamped by an artisan in Manchester, VT, where the race was held. I can't pinpoint what makes the NYCM so badass it, I think it's because it the only race I've run with built in prestige and wow factor (therefore prestige + wow = badass? I agree with that algebra). It might also be the simple refined look of the medal: it doesn't have a four-color logo or a custom ribbon. It's just a good size, well-crafted, brassy medal that has a subdued ruggedness about it. Finally, the Disney medal is my "big boy" medal. It probably weighs a pound, is a real quality medal, and just reeks of "yeah, I just did that."
In going through the medals I realized that I have another kind of favorite. These are the sentimental favorites (too lazy to rotate the picture below, so you'll have to rotate your screen). Going clockwise from the top right: Breakers Marathon, NYCM, Baltimore Marathon, Delaware Marathon, Great Bay Half-Marathon, and Boston Half-Marathon.