Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Medals gallore

Marlene posted her medals back in July and issued a challenge to other bloggers to show her their own cache of medals. I was in the process of moving so I could not respond right away but when it came time to put my Hamilton Marathon medal away, I remembered her challenge. While I may not have as many medals as her and her husband, I think I still have some decent ones to talk about.

Here are all my medals, arranged in chronological order:
My first medal ever was a running medal. Appropriately it was also one of those rare placement medals as opposed to a participation medal. It remains to this day my only placement medal for running. It was way back in grade school and it was for a local cross country run. I don't even remember how I placed, whether it was second or third, but I do remember that my coach/gym teacher was quite angry that I had stopped to chat up one of the teachers that was manning one of the booths to supervise runners :)
I remember those running years fondly and I regret a bit stopping my running once I moved to a different city and changed schools. I think that this early running experience planted a bug in me that re-awakened a decade later and continues to fuel my passion for the sport.

My second medal is not even sports related. The geeky side of this runner earned this medal at a mathematics championchip called Concours Pythagore. The medal is dated 1991:
Again, I don't remember how I placed but this was a very significant event, where the brightest mathematic students of the entire province drove to Rigaud for testing and calculating. I was in grade 4 or 5 and this felt like quite an experience competing with all these brainy and glasses wearing kids. I'm glad I only had to do it once :)

This medal I didn't even remember I had. It must have been a participation medal or otherwise there must have been only 2 or 3 of us competing in my category because I was never really that good at Judo:
I can't believe there is a 10 year gap in medals before I earned my next one. The next one is significant because it is my first one of the recent era of running. Nothing shorter than a half marathon would suffice to introduce me to organized races with the ING Ottawa Half Marathon 2006:
This medal is not the prettiest of the bunch, but it holds a special place in my hearth. I had a very ambitious goal of finishing under 2 hours which I thought was uber fast. At 2h08 I didn't meet my goal but I had an awesome time and I was hooked. I found the next local half marathon and immediately signed up!

The Ottawa Falls Colours half marathon medal is not the nicest one of the bunch but at least it is event specific and features the year. The pink necklace gives it an extra distinction :)
I was able to breach the 2 hour mark for this one. In fact, at 1h46, I totally destroyed my previous time!

Fast forward a few months and I was ready to try myself against the ING Ottawa Half-Marathon once more. The 2007 edition saw me improve my time some more with 1h43.
An injury prevented me from running a fall half marathon that year. I was determined to get back to running despite a painful Plantar Fasciitis injury and signed up again for the ING Ottawa Half Marathon which was becoming somewhat of a tradition.
My running career was back on track even if it wasn't a new PB with a time of 1h50. I really liked that medal at the time, it was my first "rotating" medal.
I then decided to set my sights upon a mythical distance: The Marathon. I had promised a few years ago that I would run a Marathon before I turned 30 and, well, the clock was ticking. So I jumped in and trained with what I felt was an adequate training regimen of 2 runs a week combined with a biking regimen of about 150km while I was commuting to work. That kind of training was not adequate for a Marathon and I suffered through one of the most painful 2 hours at the end of race. But I did finish (4h37m) and earned this beautiful medal:
I like how heavy and sturdy it feels. The imitation gold color is great
And the necklace is silky and heavy at the same time:
This is one classy medal and still to this day one of my favorites.

I decided to switch things up a bit after that and start training for a triathlon. I still ran the Ottawa Half Marathon (ING stopped supporting the race in 2009) and achieved another PB with 1h40m24s.
Ottawa kept improving it's medal with another "Rotating" medal and a nice thick necklace. This is a medal that still stands out in my collection.
My next event would be a triathlon. Something called a sprint which is about half of an olympic distance.
This is where I earned this medal. The medal is not event specific and the year is only featured on the necklace. A bit disappointing to be honest. I didn't race another triathlon since, not because of the medal, but rather because training for Triathlon is a bit of a challenge with the swim times, bike maintenance and other travel commitments for all the equipment.

Going back to running felt like a bit of a let down so I decided to go back to the Marathon distance. I picked a destination that would motivate me throughout the training: Los Angeles.
I'm not sure why anyone would care that this is the 25th edition. In their defense this medal features my favorite necklace ever. It's smooth, thick and features the route along with some pictures of the icons alongside their scenic route:
I thought a bit about what distance I would do in Ottawa. I really enjoyed the half marathon and could have locked in a really decent time, but I was also very fit and wanted to take advantage of my fitness level and see if I could break my newly established PR at LA.
I think that this is still my best overall medal. The necklace could use a bit more work but the medal itself is beautiful. It's shiny, it rotates and is also colorful.
As you know I ran the Hamilton Marathon about 2 weeks ago. I locked in a new PR even if I couldn't achieve the most revered BQ. The medal was a bit disappointing:
Not only is the medal generic and not dated as well as not event specific, even the necklace is barely dated and not event specific.

These are the medals that I have earned until now. I have big plans for 2011, starting with the Miami marathon. I'll write a post to discuss these plans soon...

In the meantime, if any race organizer or medal designer is reading this, here is what I look for in a medal. I want something that is special and that stands out. I want the medal to clearly say what I did (Marathon, Half Marathon, etc) and where I did it (City, Disney, whatever). I also want it to be dated (the year is enough unless the event is reoccurring multiple times during the year). The medal should be thick and made of quality metal and if possible have some room to engrave my name and time. The necklace should be thick and yet feel like silk or velvet. I really like the LA one where they feature the route and some key icons that we passed by while running.

What about you, what do you look for in a medal? What is the coolest medal you ever received?


  1. Great bling! Thanks for playing along. I definitely recognize some of these.

    And yes, the R2H medal was REALLY disappointing! They are going to have to improve on that if they want to maintain a really good name for themselves. The shirts were pretty bad too.

  2. Nice bunch of medals!! I'll be doing a medal run-down later, too. I do agree the LA marathon had an awesome ribbon. But I hated the "25," too. I totally agree with you about what makes a good medal good, too.