Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do it for the medal

I have a small collection of medals hanging off the corner of my bookshelf from the several full and half marathons that I have completed. They differ in size, shape, and color; each is unique and brings back its own special memories. Not too long ago, I began to consider a life goal of running a marathon in each state, which thankfully, my wife has endorsed for the time being. That goal brings some notable challenges in deciding on which races to run. 

The May/June 2011 issue of Marathon and beyond has given me something additional to consider in making my selections though. In this issue, they recap the top medals of 2010. The article also includes some great background material on the design and manufacturing processes as well as some of the considerations made by race directors as they make their plans for the race and the after-party. This year's sizable panel of judges includes running rockstars like Dick Beardsley and Katherine Switzer, Master's runners, young bucks, and average Joe's covering all geographic areas of the US. The top 25 only had about 33% repeats from 2009.

Many of the top 25 were "spinner" medals, which seems to be a (relatively) easy way to make your medal stand out from the crowd. I am not a big fan of this "feature" and would rather have the focus on a medal that is well crafted and attractive. Two of the top 25 were actually made of glass, each of which ends up being a completely unique medal. Number 1 and 4 were both from Florida, and while running more races in Florida will not get me any closer to a "50-state" goal, I was really excited about #4 (ironically, a spinner medal). That medal is from the Apalachicola "Running for the Bay" medal which features a Spanish coin on one side and a green glass impression. Not only is it a great looking medal, but it is from such a small town, that I would bet that most Floridians do not even know where it is. Hrm, now that I look at it though, the race also has a half, 5K and 10K. Maybe I have a plan for a Fall race after all.

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