On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Do you save your medals?
Your bibs?
Your mylar blankets?

Why or why not?

I've recently come to the conclusion that I have too much crap from races, crap that doesn't really mean anything to me.  I don't save bibs, except for special races (I have Mt. Washington and the ESBRU on my wall at work).  I don't save blankets, unless I'm planning a Halloween costume and need them for that.
The medals from my first five marathons are stuck in this tin.

My favorite bibs are taped to a bookshelf
in my office. Right above a shirtless picture
of Frank Shorter. So I like me some eye
candy, you have a problem with that?
Okay, so I came to this conclusion abruptly when the coat rack I'd been sticking my medals on sort of maybe started coming out of the wall from the weight.  I didn't know that you couldn't just slap one of those up anywhere into the drywall and expect it to hold pounds and pounds of weight.  I've since learned that the word "studs" can mean more than just my mother's passe way of referring to hot guys.

My last few medals are stuck on the rack
where I hang my keys next to the door.
So I moved my medals to hang on a bookshelf.  It's a cheap bookshelf that I got from IKEA, and in addition to books and medals it also houses my printer.  Every time I print anything the bookshelf jiggles a little, which rattles the medals and freaks out my cat and dog.

Here are all the rest. On a corner of a bookshelf.
The best medal I ever got was years ago from the Philly Distance Run, and I don't have it any more.  The medal came off of its lanyard and could be used as a keyring; how ingenious is that?

I'm considering getting rid of some medals.  None of the marathon medals, mind you, but maybe some of the medals for lesser races?  On one hand, each represents an accomplishment of some sort.  But on the other hand, I'm not at the point where I really need a reminder that I finished a 5m race.  I think running is cool, but I don't think that I'm a winner just for getting to the finish line.


  1. No. I save almost nothing, unless it has actual utility (mugs, clothes, XL T-shirts to use as rags). I'm not a memorabilia person - never have been organized enough to really save tchotchkes. I'm about to throw out a load of trophies I've won, actually. Just not sentimental about those things, I guess.

  2. donate them to "Back on my Feet" or a similar organization like Medals for Mettle - that way you pay it forward :)

  3. I have most of my marathon medals and a handful of the bibs. The rest get chucked.

    I also still have a little plastic box full of memorabilia from HS track and XC... just a few things from the important milestones. Letter awards, the baton my relay used at the state track meet, etc. Ah, talkin 'bout glory days.

  4. This is so interesting - I really expected more of an "OMG YOU HAVE TO SAVE THOSE THINGS!!" response. I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in wanting to get rid of some of this stuff.

    I still need to *have* my glory days in order to save the important stuff from then :)

  5. Save it if it matters to you, toss it if it doesn't. I saw a woman wearing the NYCM mylar blanket as a spectator at the Seattle Marathon and snorted out loud, thinking "hope I am never that pathetic" but then again the medal from my last 10K is still hanging off the window crank. It *was* a PR, but mostly I'm a sucky housekeeper and never pick things up once they land.

  6. I guess I don't race often enough to have amassed enough stuff to be bothered by it. I am not much of a pack rat though, so I bet I'll be tossing a lot of it if I end up racking up of a lot of races in my lifetime.

    I'm still too attached to old training logs to throw those away though.

  7. My most recent medal is hung on my dresser mirror. My husband has all of his medals hung on the back of our closet door. I had a stack of bibs that I tossed a couple of years ago, I regret doing it now. I had written the dates and my times on each and every one of them. I'll never toss them again.

    My MIL had all of my husband's wrestling medals from high school mounted and framed together. I've always thought that was a great idea and I've considered doing the same with our running medals.

  8. Nice post! Fun stuff... I have never brought home a mylar blanket, let along save one! I have saved all medals and all bibs however.

    I put the bibs in a manila folder, after writing the race date and time. It is visually fun sometimes to flip back through them and remember old races, and this doesn't take a lot of space in a file cabinet. The only ones missing are from the time when NYRR assigned you a consistent number for all races (mine was 477), if you owned a chip, so they didn't have to print new bib numbers for each race. This was obviously before wave starts were introduced a few years ago.

    I have 3 hooks in my bedroom where I hang medals. One for NYC Marathons, one for other marathons, and another for all other random ones. I will likely need to add another hook or start paring down the non marathon ones.

  9. You might never read my blog again after reading this, and put me on top of your creepy creep list, but my medals are:

    hanging along the top of the urn that holds my grandma's ashes.

    Yep, that's right. Why? There's a quite handy nop on top of it, and my mom and I kind of like decorating the urn for special occasions. Christmas, etcetera. Plus, she's never run a marathon. Now, at least she has the bling to show off. ;) :)