Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Here's a great race report from a tough runner at Sunday's Lost Dutchman Half Marathon. Remember how I wrote that the medals ran out? Misty missed out on a medal she well deserved. They had 500 medals but got a lot of late registrations, and it was not the latecomers to registration, but relative latecomers to the finish line, who worked harder and for a longer time than the faster runners, who got slighted.

In the 10K, 200 medals were available. However, there was a sign noting this fact, next to the medal displayed at the Expo, so people were prepared. My friend Vickie, all the way from Michigan, ran the 10K, fighting a sore foot. She deserved a finisher's medal, but had checked at the Expo and learned that 250 were registered, so she knew it was possible she might be out of the running for a medal. Still, if medals are being ordered for and mailed to half-marathon runners, the same should be done for the 10K runners, many of whom worked harder and against more odds than some of the half- or even full-marathoners, depending on what they were up against. Again, Vickie had registered in plenty of time, but many runners registered at the Expo, and there was race-day registration for all distances except the full marathon, and no doubt a portion of these late registrants made it to the finish for one of the 200 10K or 500 1/2-Marathon medals.

Somehow, people who register in plenty of time and run a really gutsy race are sacrificing their medals to Johnny-come-lately's. Deserving though some of the Johnny-come-lately's may be.

Not everyone runs fast. However, IF SOME FINISHERS RECEIVE FINISHER'S MEDALS, ALL FINISHERS SHOULD RECEIVE FINISHER'S MEDALS. For it to be otherwise is unjust and discriminatory.

Lots of race registrations note "T-shirts to first 200 entries" or "T-shirts not guaranteed to athletes registering after a certain date." Maybe they could do the same with finisher's medals: guarantee them to a certain number of finishers or to those registering before a deadline, and state that any deficit of medals will be ordered after the race, and mailed to those who didn't get one.

Late registrants could have some kind of identification mark on their race bib -- different color bib, or some kind of indelible mark on it, or something.

Race winners would still get their overall or age-group awards on-site. It's not like they'd go home empty-handed.

Or..... they could limit the field of entrants and order that many medals, expecting there will be some DNF's and the race will just lose the cost of those medals.

I can't think of any other ways around this. Can anyone else?


nancytoby said...

Easy to solve. Most races these days put a sticker with the person's info on the bib number. Put down on there whether they should get a medal, or not (and get it in the mail later, or not at all, depending on what they do). A lot of races do this with shirt sizes for finishers, so that they have the correct sizes that everyone ordered.

Ellie said...

It would have to be something conspicuous, easily identified by finish-line personnel with umpteen runners coming in in quick succession.

Shelley said...

They ran out of medals when Wil and I did the Steelhead 1/2, but I got mine almost 7mths later..oh well!! You think maybe this race would do the same??

marathena said...

I have never run into this problem, I guess I always enter the races where there are like a million runners and the race prepares appropriately!! However there is NEVER any food left by the time I finish!! Usually only water and apples. Sufficient I guess!!

Geek Girl said...

Yeah, I've noticed that too. At some triathlons, I've seen unsupervised kids and spectators hit the gatorade, water, and food with a lot more gusto than I would have expected...often before the runners have had a chance to do so.

Cliff said...

I agree Elle.

Usually those who want a medal is the end of packers. And they are the one that will cherish the medal the most b/c they work hard to get to the finish line.

Vickie said...

Thanks for the nice words Ellie about deserving a medal. Now my run time didn't deserve a medal, but like you said, if they give them out to some, they should give them out to all. To be fair to the race director(s), the 10k is probably just an add-on distance, like sprints in a longer distance tri. The marathon and half were the premiere races, so medals are to be expected. The 10k and 8k are just add-ons for those who either cannot do the longer distances (and maybe have someone entered in the marathon or half) or are locals who run lots of races but not necessarily marathons or halfs.

It would have been nice however to have received something considering the distance traveled!

Running Jayhawk said...

that ticks me off.

Holly said...

I think if they don't make enough medals, than don't give any out at the race - Mail them to official finishers .. that way nobody gets slighted.

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

I think they either order enough, or don't allow late registrations. Or use the sticker idea and late registrants get theirs sent to them and are told that up front.

As for food I think they need to only put out so much and ensure they save some for the slower runners they often need that more than those that finish so quickly.

Comm's said...

I think not enough medals is a more common problem for race directors than we participants are aware of. I am glad nancy chimed in first with sage advice.

Misty, that is just deplorable. As a racer or spectator I would certainly cause a commotion if I witnessed non-racers attacking the food tables.