Medal Mania

Before my move only some of my medals were hung on the wall. One of my medal racks wasn't anchored well and fell down, and I never re-hung the medals that were on it. But I kept adding new medals to the racks that were hanging, and they became quite overloaded. So I decided I needed an additional rack before hanging all my medals in the new place. It arrived this week, and I hung everything today.

My completed medal hanging project with expansion available for 2017 and beyond
Some races have coins instead of medals; here's my trophy case with coin collection (only some of the coins are race coins)

Some people "run for the bling" and other people donate all their earned medals to charities like Medals 4 Mettle, or to gold star military families in honor of the fallen. I'm in the middle of this spectrum. I won't lie: I have been nudged to run a race or two after seeing the medal or of hearing legend of the medal. I used to be incentivized by challenge medals (run two races in one weekend, earn three medals) and I do have my share of those. The medal is less important to me than it used to be, but I still enjoy earning them. Every medal hanging on my wall comes with a memory. Having the visual reminder within easy access is somewhat comforting to me. I am not sentimental with a lot of things, but I am with my medals. I'm not a collector of many things, but I do keep my medals.


When I set out to hang my medals today I had to decide how to group them. I have five medal racks, and each can hold quite a few medals if they're hung in layers. Did I want to fill up the racks evenly, or did I want to leave room for expansion? Did I want to hang the medals chronologically, by distance, or by location? Did some medals deserve to be spotlighted above others?

I chose chronological grouping without placing greater importance on any one medal. I counted my medals from each year and evenly distributed them across four of the racks, leaving the fifth rack for 2017 and beyond. I have the following quantities of medals by year:

  • 2005 - 2
  • 2006 - 3
  • 2011 - 3
  • 2012 - 47
  • 2013 - 35
  • 2014 - 35
  • 2015 - 18
  • 2016 - 24
  • 2017 - 1
An interesting distribution, no? Here's how my racing resume supports my medal inventory:
  • I started running in 2004, training for my first marathon: the 2005 Mardi Gras Marathon. Then I also ran the Dublin Marathon in 2005. (2 medals)
  • In 2006 I ran Columbus Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon and St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon. Incidentally, I qualified for the Marathon Maniacs this year without even knowing the club existed. (3 medals)
  • From 2007 through 2010 I took time off from distance racing. At first I was recovering from plantar fasciitis and didn't run at all. Then I came back and only ran shorter distances: mostly 5Ks, with some 10Ks and 10 Milers thrown in. But not much racing, and no races with medals. (0 medals)
  • In mid 2011 I decided to get back into distance races and in the fall I ran the Hartford Half Marathon, the Marine Corps 10K and a virtual Veteran's Day race. Although I have never run another virtual, and I don't really like the idea of buying a medal for a training run, back in 2011 it was novel and it was an incentive to run 11K. Also this year, I was introduced to the Marathon Maniacs and joined based on my 2006 qualifying races. (3 medals)
  • By 2012 I was back. I had an aggressive plan (for me) to run 6 marathons in 6 months from January through June. First on the list was the Walt Disney World Marathon, and in fact, I was registered for the Goofy Challenge. I completed all 6 of the planned marathons, while also running several half marathons and shorter races. I qualified for the Half Fanatics in February of this year. In the fall, I went crazy running my first (but not last) "double": two marathons in two days. I tagged along with Scot on many of his double weekends as he was working on his goal of earning Titanium in the Marathon Maniacs. (47 medals, a handful of them challenge or bonus medals)
  • In 2013 I was still trying to keep up with Scot (a little bit). And at one point I realized I could earn Titanium (30 marathons in different states/provinces/countries within 365 days), so I added more marathons in more new states to my schedule. I earned Titanium status in August. (35 medals)
  • In 2014 I focused on knocking off new states, as I was getting closer and closer to becoming a 50 States Marathon Club finisher. I ended the year at 48 states with the last two scheduled for 2015. (35 medals)
  • In May of 2015 I finished my 50th state marathon in Oregon. This year I deliberately chose to run fewer races, and it shows in my medal count. (18 medals)
  • For 2016 I wanted to focus on adding international races and World Marathon Majors to my schedule. These were more expensive events and so I didn't schedule as many marathons. But I did run several half marathons and shorter races. Many of these were local or regional races, or in Columbus where I had family to stay with. (24 medals)
So far we're almost two months into 2017 and I've only run one race, and it came with a medal. I have several marathons and half marathons on my calendar for this year, and I'm sure more will follow. I expect this year's medal count to be on par with 2015: probably no more than 20. We'll see.

Jack helped me with the medal project - of course he did


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