Unique Medals for Local Runs and Relays
By Jenny Willden
As a kid my athletic abilities were lacking, and the coolest award I got to hang up was a science fair ribbon…for participation. No, I wasn’t a childhood soccer star and I’m not Michael Phelps, so earning a medal at my first half marathon was a new experience. It was my first time racing more than 10K and I was exhausted after nearly 13 miles of running, but I sprinted the final quarter mile, threw my hands up dorkily, and cheered as I crossed the finish line.
A male model in a fancy suit placed the medal around my sweaty neck, delivering it with a congratulatory grin. While I love everything about racing: the camaraderie, crowds, and adrenaline rush, nothing compares to that moment.
Whether you’ve never received a medal or your trophy room is packed with them, running hard to get your own success nugget at a difficult race just feels good. So I searched our local race calendar for original awards you can earn at some of the West’s best runs and relays.
Add one of these events to your race calendar, then hang your prize somewhere to remind you of your accomplishment. After all, medals look way better on your wall than science fair ribbons…I guess I should take those down now.
What’s your favorite race medal? Why? Share your response of our Facebook page (Outdoor Sports Guide Magazine) or on Twitter (@osportsguidemag). We’ll pick our favorites to win a FREE entry to one of races featured here! Deadline to enter June 1, 2013.
Provo Midnight Run
Half Marathon in Provo
June 28, 2013
Night racing is a different animal, and this full-moon event doesn’t begin until 10:00 p.m. You’ll run an out-and-back course along the Provo River Parkway Trail guided by glowing course markers and bright directional arrows. Runners get glow-in-the-dark wristbands and necklaces to prevent mid-run collisions, and you can bedazzle yourself in extra light-up gear too. Complete the race and receive a flashing custom, diecast finisher medal! Pull an all-nighter and stay for the light show and finish line festivities following the race. legacymidnightrun.com
The Other Half
Half Marathon in Moab
October 20, 2013
Avid racers rave about this well-organized half marathon held annually in Moab, and each year finishers receive a Southern Utah-inspired medal. Use this year’s rendition with bottle opener to pop the top on your FREE post-race microbrews. What other race gives out beer on a Sunday? Enough said. The 13.1-mile course offers stunning backdrops: Colorado River views, landmark sightings like Castle Rock and Fisher Towers, red rock, and much more. The popular Taiko Drummers play at the start and at Mile 12 to encourage you to finish. moabhalfmarathon.com
Most Medals in a Day
Half Marathon in Big Cottonwood Canyon
June 15, 2013
Double or triple your medal count in one day at the inaugural Drop 13 Half Marathon. You’ll begin near Brighton and run down Big Cottonwood Canyon on a course with a 3000-foot descent over 13.1 miles, making it the perfect race for an early season PR. You’ll receive one medal for finishing the race, another for losing 13 pounds from the time you start training to race day, and a third for shaving 13 minutes off your fastest half marathon finish time. The majestic scenery almost makes you forget how far you’re running…almost. drop13.com
5K or 10K in Herriman
October 26, 2013
Does the idea of running 26.2 miles scare you? Run or walk this 5K or 10K and earn a medal! Families are welcome and costumes encouraged. Kids seven and under are free, which doesn’t include a medal or shirt, but you can pay to add one to your registration. This community race is followed by fun family activities, spooky surprises, and much more. runningscaredrace.com
Most Useful Medal
Ruby Mountain Relay
184-mile Relay in Nevada
August 16–17, 2013
Channel your inner cowboy and earn a custom belt buckle at this challenging relay. RMR is similar in many way to other relays. The 184-mile distance is run in 24-36 continuous hours by a team of 12 or 6 runners, but RMR differs with its Wild West theme and remote location. The race begins in Lamoille, Nevada (about 3.5 hours from SLC) and ends in Wells. Drive in for a pasta party the night before, then round up your wagons…err vans…for a race through Nevada’s famed Ruby Mountains. Make it across the finish line first, and your team wins the coveted cowboy boot trophies! You’ll receive your belt buckle and a t-shirt when you cross the finish, then all teams will celebrate at a post-race hoedown with live entertainment. rubymountainrelay.com
Red Rock Relay
75-mile one-day relay in Park City
October 12, 2013
Overnight relays can take a toll on you. Between the lack of sleep and midnight legs, you leave the weekend proud…but exhausted. Instead of adding lengthy travel and an overnight stay to an already exhausting race, rally the troops to participate in this NEW one-day event in Park City! You’ll need a team of six and just one van for the 75-mile sunrise to sunset trip through Park City in the height of fall colors. The unique finisher medal has three lines symbolizing the three legs you must run to help your team complete the course to receive your medals. redrockrelay.com
The Pink Series
5K in Pleasant Grove
April 27, 2013;
Half Marathon or 5K Park City
October 12, 2013
When it comes to women’s race awards, this series got it right. At best, you wear your medal for the hours following your finish. If you’re still sporting yours at the mall a few days later, you look ridiculous. So you can either frame that sucker next to a pic of yourself crossing the finish, or hide it away in a box and let it collect dust. The ladies at the Pink Series thought this was silly, so they had Scott James Jewelry design cute, engraved necklaces to function as medals instead for their all-women races. Whenever you run a Pink Series race (be it a 5K or half marathon) you’ll receive a unique new charm to add to your collection. Did I mention they have chocolate treats at the finish too? thepinkseries.com
Most Likely to Get Frostbite While Earning It Medal
Salt Lake Track Winter Series
5K, 10K, 15K at The Great Saltair.
If icy roads, blizzards, and freezing temperatures don’t deter you on race day, this is your race series. But you’ll have to wait until January to get your hands on one of these unique wooden medals, and you must complete all three races, snow or shine, to get your award. All courses begin at the Great Saltair in Magna, and you should be prepared for a wet, snowy run. Exact dates for next year will be announced on the website. slctrackclub.org
Jenny is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She loves adventure and is happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Llama racing and deal finding are her secret superpowers. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden or on Google+.