Earning a medal for a race I did not run

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02/12/2013 at 17:11

At our town market, we have a stand that sells all sorts of collectible lapel badges, keyrings, medals etc.  This weekend I found, among hundreds of others, a finisher's medal from a marathon held in our town twice back in the 1980's - now they have only held a half mara since.  I know of only one friend who ran it who has been quite an inspiration in my early running.

Now this may sound really wrong, and please note I do NOT normally ever do this, but, i bought the medal.  I felt it was wrong for such a beautiful memento to sit there getting tarnished and scratched in the box and should be appreciated by a runner who will try and get it cleaned and re-ribboned.

Upon buying, i did not know what to do with it and feel the need to somehow "earn" it as I started to feel guilty about buying a medal yet I did not race (I would have only been 2 years old!).  As I said, this marathon no longer exists so I will not be able to take part in any future races.  Instead plan to run my own, solo marathon in this city in the next week or two to celebrate it.  The original race was held in December (it even says Run In December on the medal) so I need to do this soon.  I ran two marathons in this autumn so feeling fit enough to do it, as long as I take this slow and not make it about a PB.  I would just run my normal 20 miler route with a bit extra, and may even be able to incorporate our local Parkrun into it as well (or should I find out the original race route and run that!?).

What are people’s thoughts?  Is this just wrong/odd to buy a medal full stop?  I am generally very strict about not owning any medals I did not race! Or a special way to commemorate an old race in my city that may never again go ahead?  It would mean a lot, running a marathon in my home town but this will never happen as an organised event.  The medal would then be displayed, although probably not with my general collection of own medals.  I would also not count it as one of my official marathons (in the same way I do not think of ever 13.1 mile training run as a half marathon event!).  Or can a medal only truly be earned by the person who ran it?

cougie    pirate
02/12/2013 at 17:22
Sounds a neat idea. You can award yourself a medal for a run that you've done I suppose. I think if it were me - I'd try and find out the original race route - but maybe traffic nowadays could rule it out.

Enjoy your day out ! (hope the goody bag is good for you !)
02/12/2013 at 17:30

 I just chuck medals in a draw. I recently moved house and seriously considered what to do with them for the reason that the next time I see them will be to bung another in there. 

For me, I know I did that race. Whether it was a PB, or I know that I put everything in to it, or was using it as a training/'Fun' run. 

I understand why you brought it, and after reading your post I could perhaps see me doing something similar but then only bunging it in that draw at the end of the day so doing nothing special with it. 

I can understand why you feel that now doing something to 'earn' that medal seems appropriate. Have you thought about organising a re-born race? This could just be something informal amongst your friends/club, or a wider running fraternity. Something a bit more special than just a solo training run.

02/12/2013 at 17:30

Agree, you could re-stage the event with yourself as the only entrant...  If you're going to do a goody bag then make sure it really does contain good stuff and is not full of tat...  Oh, and don't forget a really massive winner's trophy 

02/12/2013 at 17:33

Just a piece of metal. I hang my finishers medal around the neck of the first kid who wants the thing.

Steve Ovett's kids ran around playing with his Olympic medals until someone at their school told them that their dad was that Steve Ovett and that those were the Olympic medals he won.

02/12/2013 at 17:36

I think you should research the original race in complete anorak detail and then run the route in as authentic a style as possible, a bit like L'Eroica bike ride for vintage bicycles. You should find out what the runners were wearing on their feet (maybe some Onitsuka Tigers would look cool!), some tight shorts, and sport suitable facial hair as well. Some sort of Mike Gratton-style beard, maybe.

And no Lucozade Sport or gels for getting you round.  Take a packet of Spangles.

Edited: 02/12/2013 at 17:37
cougie    pirate
02/12/2013 at 17:39
Or Pacers ?
seren nos    pirate
02/12/2013 at 17:40

i would research and do the route as close to the original as possible


02/12/2013 at 17:42

Agree with philpub. Try and make it as original as possible. 

02/12/2013 at 17:50

what a great idea for the recycling of old medals. People who never got the chance to do a race can purchase a medal then go out and run the race as an independent !

 Obviously you'd have to reccy the route and  research the race history .  Then you could choose the time and date for your own convenience , maybe get friends and family to man water stations just to make it as authentic as possible. Then at the end you can be presented with the medal, you'll have earned it, you could even buy a trophy for first vet50  then throw in a pair of socks/shorts as a prize.



02/12/2013 at 18:22

My kid goes to Steve Ovett's school.

02/12/2013 at 18:33

Thanks for your replies It has been interesting starting to find out a bit more about this race!  I have found a couple of old photos and in one of them can make out where the HQ was, outside an old leisure centre that was demolished last year - which is still the start for the local half/10ks.  

As for route, so far I have found the certificate/course information but missing that all-important route map. Have emailed our local museum who hold a photo, and put a post up on our club forum

Would be fantastic to get a little group together and try this!

Cheerful Dave    pirate
02/12/2013 at 19:25

People collect old military medals but don't feel the need to re-create the Battle of the Somme to justify it.

02/12/2013 at 20:04

If you are going to get a group together you'll need some more medals  won't you?

02/12/2013 at 20:11
Start collecting all of the leaflets and take away menus that come through your door and get someone to present them to you in an old Tesco carrier bag, when you finish, to replicate the "Goody bag" experience.
Edited: 02/12/2013 at 20:12
Cortina5    pirate
02/12/2013 at 20:18
Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

People collect old military medals but don't feel the need to re-create the Battle of the Somme to justify it.

Some people recreate the battle of the Somme for fun!

Good luck with your 'race'.

02/12/2013 at 20:33

you should make up your own number and information pack  ( then post it to yourself )with the best place for parking,get  someone on standby for an after race massage, you'll need  a  race photographer who can dart between two or three key points  to snap you.  


02/12/2013 at 20:43
No IPods, they wern't invented back then.
You may be able to use a Sony Walkman but only if they are permitted.
02/12/2013 at 21:59

Can just imagine a big Walkman knocking about, it may have stopped working in 1995 though ;O)

My goody bag will include a huge tub of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, a pizza, bottle of wine and the new running top I ordered off wiggle at the weekend.  Best goody bag ever?

when I say group, i might be able to get a mate or two to tag along for about 5 miles!  After that talk to self.

More more seriously, if I can't recreate the route, I'll try and run a route that includes plenty of well known landmarks in the town.

02/12/2013 at 22:16

Just wear the medal daily and tell anyone that asks that you ran the original marathon, maybe even that you won it. With time you might start to believe it yourself - job done.

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