From fun run, half marathon, full marathon to ultra marathon, every finisher medal tells a story. A medal that tells either a tale of triumph, or an intimidating encounter, is more than just a piece of metal.
In running, a finisher medal has become such a significant symbol of accomplishment that some runners get motivated and exhilarated when they simply finish a hard hitting race. Most of the time, the distance matters. The longer the race is, the more important a finisher medal becomes.
Is receiving a finisher medal really important? Why at the completion of the race, runners are always seen to be proud and joyous hanging medals around their necks, not because they have won the race, but simply because they have finished the course?
There are many reasons why runners sign up for a race. Whether or not it’s their first 5K, first 10K, first half marathon or first full marathon, they run and strive for a cause. Some people run because it’s a new year’s resolution. Some people run because it’s a challenge from their family or friends. Some people run because they’re constantly going for personal best. At the end of the day, whether or not they have succeeded or have failed, they are entitled something because they have tried their best.
A Motivating Force
Finishing a race with a new personal best can mean beyond just a number to any athlete. With an accomplishment that requires so much intensity, tenacity, and perseverance, even though he is not the champion, but having a finisher medal can be a real trophy. It is because of a unique achievement that motivate and propel him towards a better performance.
There will always be return participants in an event. They are sometimes derided for the same kinds of reasons. Some runners show up at the same event for consecutive years. Perhaps, finishing one year, or five, or ten years of the same race is a remarkable and special accomplishment to them. And therefore, collecting the finisher medals also becomes an important purpose every year.
Of course, not everyone joins an event merely for the medal. Some people work just for the satisfaction of a good time on the clock. Some people think the medal as a remind of their commitment to their body after months of training and of what is possible.
A finisher’s medal recognises you for the hours of work, the self-discipline, the time management, and the grit during all your training and during the race when everything does not go as planned, like unexpected body conditions.
Finally, you cross the finish line as a volunteer offers to drape the medal on your neck. Sipping a cold drink while holding the medal, your thrill starts to kick in, and you smile in triumph, “I am a finisher.”
Looking backward, finisher medals hold memories. Every completion of race, good or bad ones, helps you remember small details like leg cramps, upset stomach, nasty blisters, or new goals during your race. Even though you may not remember every tiny details but holding the medal from the flag-off to the finish line imprints forever on your memory.
A finisher medal, is a piece of glory that we all share as one. Having the medal placed around your neck, we share a common experience and a common success. Every race from 5K to an ultra marathon, we are finishers because we beat our own limitations. We do that as a single community symbolised by the medal we earn when we finish.