Tips & Techniques

Race Medals and Memories

Megan Sloan 
April 27, 2023

If you’ve ever run a race, chances are you’ve received a medal after crossing the finish line. I’ve learned over the years that there can be a large debate over medals. You either love them or you really don’t care much about them. Either way, I do know that most people have one medal that means something very special to them. Here’s what everyone had to say:


“I think it would be my Ragnar medals. You can put the entire team’s medals together. It’s a cool concept to commemorate working with a team.” - Cori 


“My favorite is the 2021 Chicago Marathon finishers medal. It was the first major marathon I have completed and the first biggest race that came back to Chicago post COVID. The people that came out to spectate SHOWED UP and it reminds me that even though the road was rocky to get there, running the streets of my hometown with people cheering for runners regardless of who they were, we were PROUD to be a Chicago Marathon finisher!” - Tara


“My favorite medal was from the Disney Marathon as it was my first marathon. It was more symbolic to me which meant I could ‘do hard things.’” - Becky


“Chicago Marathon 2017. I signed up because it turns out I turned 40 the same year as the Chicago Marathon. It also served as my marathon PR and I was able to dedicate it to my nephew Cash who had passed away 2 weeks prior to the marathon.” - Michelle


“Ironman Chattanooga 2022 for me! Little Debbie is the main sponsor of this race and who doesn’t love Little Debbie? It was also my first full Ironman, I finished, and didn’t die. Plus, I was able to have a support system of close friends and my beautiful bride on race day!” - Tom


“The Coast to Coast medal after racing in Disneyworld and Disney Land in the same year is my favorite medal! My mother raced with me in Disneyworld in January, and when the race in Disney Land came around, she was injured so I decided to push her in a wheelchair. We were able to complete all the races together and it meant so much to me. It was one of my favorite races of all time!” - Kam

Personally, I can look at most of my medals and can be flooded with great memories. A few that stand out are my first marathon medal, The Illinois Marathon. I crossed the finish line of my first marathon as a senior in college and then graduated a week later. It was quite special. Another would be my first Ironman medal from Ironman Wisconsin. Training for an Ironman is an experience in itself, so making it to the starting line AND the finish line is pretty emotional. Finally, my Crystal Lake Half Marathon medal from 2020 is one that I will always hold close to me. It was the only race that happened in 2020 and after an extremely difficult year for most of the world, it was so wonderful to feel that sense of normalcy again. 

So the next time you look at that box of medals that's collecting dust and think about giving it a toss, maybe sift through them and take a trip down memory lane. I bet you surprise yourself. They might take up some space in your house, but how wonderful does your heart feel when you recollect all those race day memories? After you've taken your trip down memory lane, you may consider a donation to Medals 4 Mettle. Medals 4 Mettle receives medals earned by endurance athletes and gives them to children fighting a serious illness to encourage them during their difficult journey. If you are interested in learning more information, you can visit their website by clicking here.

But we're curious, what is your favorite race medal and why?

Meet the Author
Megan has been apart of the Smith Physical Therapy & Running Academy family since March of 2021, taking the title of Director Special Programs, Run Coach, and Running Technique Specialist. Megan has been coaching runners since 2014 and enjoys working with runners of all ages.
You were made to move!