A hot topic in the running world today is whether or not people who complete short distance races of 5K, 10K or half marathon races should receive a finisher medal. In my opinion a finishers medal is equivalent to a getting a participation ribbon. It’s all relative to the person if they find value in that or not.
If you are new to running and just completed your first race, a finishers medal offers a small token and reminder of your effort. This can mean a lot to a person who has just started running. A finishers medal can also motivate people to get out and race again. I don’t think a finishers medal is really meant for the people that knock out a 5K because they need to burn 15-20 minutes before their lunch break is over.
I’m all for finishers medals. If the person has put in their 100% and laid it all down to complete the race for a personal record or just simply to get across the line. It doesn’t really matter that they didn’t come in 1st.
The one thing that does bother me is the cost associated with these medals. If the race is for charity these dollars would be better spent on the charity instead of handing out bling to each participant. The cost to enter some races is also getting extraordinarily expensive. If there was an option for runners to opt out of the Tech T-shirts, custom bibs and finishers medals the price of entering these races would be lower and more money would go to the actual cause. Notice I said “Opt out” as I do understand that some runners do truly value the medals, bibs and tech shirts for their own reasons.
I can tell you that I was actually quite pleased to receive my first finishers medal and it was only a 10K. One of my best race experiences was placing in my age group and there was no medal or prize. The achievement was worth more to me than receiving a medal. If I were to PR in a race… Even a training run, I get excited. Well, I guess I’m just easy to please.