Finisher’s Medals. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly!

Ahh, posting has been hard this week. Work has a big event on Saturday which is consuming my life right now.

So, I’m participating in a conversation in a Facebook group about finisher’s medals. I like to avoid controversy on Facebook, mainly cause it is a waste of time. However, if you are here and reading this then you must want to read my opinion.

In this other discussion someone brought up if they would get their medal at Disney if they got “swept” (swept means pulled off the course for not being in front of the cut off time). Of course Disney gives the “finishers medal” to everyone but is it right?

For starters, I agree that getting off the couch and moving is the most important part. However, no I do not think you should get a “finishers medal” if you don’t finish. Yes, I know you paid for it, technically, but you knew the times and the risks when you started. With Disney you have a 16 minute per mile time to finish. I do not feel that anyone deserves their medal just because they A) Crossed the start line or B) Trained really hard or C) paid for it. I do feel like this belittles those people that also trained hard for it, pushed themselves through the pain, and crossed the finish line.

I know everyone runs their own race but I believe far too many people get “rewarded” just for trying these days. Times are tough no one gives you a prize for “just trying” in any other aspects of your life. I am not a parent but I feel we coddle kids these days. I never got a trophy for just joining a sports team. Now people grow up expecting to be rewarded for just trying.

Please know that I am not a fast or elite runner. I run a 3 hour half marathon and I am proud of that accomplishment, and yes I hope to get faster one day. I just feel strongly that a half marathon or a marathon is an achievement and it downgrades your achievement if everyone that simply tries gets the same reward as those who finish.

I know you may be on a fitness journey, as am I, and I know you are working your butt off. GOOD FOR YOU! YOU ARE AMAZING! But don’t downgrade your journey and your effort. Want to push yourself to the finish. Know your limits before you begin and be safe about your health. It is ok to be slow and it is ok to not finish and it is ok to not start. This is your journey. Just don’t plan to fail! Don’t ask what happens when you don’t finish. Believe you will finish! Why are you asking “will I get the medal if I get swept?” Why are you not asking “How can I avoid getting swept?”.

So I’ll open up for the criticism now. What are your opinions on Finisher’s Medals?

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4 thoughts on “Finisher’s Medals. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly!

  1. Pam says:

    Oh I love your post! I am not a fan of everyone receiving a finisher medal because they started a race. It is only for those who actually finish the race, IMO. However, at Disney races, I do think they should have something like a key chain to hand out to those who got swept. The medals should only be for those who finished the course in the designated time, which as you mention is quite generous at the Disney races.

  2. Betsy says:

    I am with you on this. A finisher’s medal is just that a finisher’s medal. And in order to be a “finisher” you have to finish within the guidelines of the race. If you don’t meet those guidelines you shouldn’t be entitled to a finisher’s medal. If that makes some people mad, then I think they should have looked at the guidlines of the race more before they assumed signing up made them entitled to the medal. In addition to that, I would never want a medal for something I didn’t really earn.

  3. Harold L. Shaw says:

    I agree, I am a proponent of the Yoda – There is no try, only do. If a runner, competitor, whatever doesn’t meet the criteria to earn a medal, then I don’t believe that they should get a medal. I am very old school on this.

    Instead of having so many things “given” to participants in life, I believe we have to earn more of what we want. If a runner doesn’t get a finisher’s medal one year, perhaps that will focus the individual to work harder and do what is necessary to achieve that medal. The times or criteria are there as motivations, not as a punishment.

  4. Jenny P says:

    I’m definitely with you on this, Kim. I have an interesting story behind my particular POV on this subject, and I you’ve inspired me to write my own post about it to share.

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