The Real Reason Why Runners Run


The medals of Dashing Dad and Dashing Wife

The medals of Dashing Dad and Dashing Wife

People always ask me, “Why do you run so much?” I probably tell them that I enjoy the camaraderie of the running community, I am trying stay in shape so I can keep up with my kids, I like the challenge, I like the runner’s “high,” or so I can eat what I want while I watch football on Sundays. But, in all honesty, those statements are a bunch of lies. Those things are all by products of why I run.I run, so I can run races. I run races for the medals. I’d run for a belt buckle or plaque too if it is cool looking.Yep, I will admit it, I love me some medals. Why else would I pay $150+ dollars for a certain race? Because the medals are pretty cool. There are other races out there in the world that I want to do, just because of the medal.  Space Coast Marathon is one of them.  That race is one of my few regrets about leaving Florida. If I still lived out there, I would be doing that race every year. Big Sur is another race with a great medal, a hand crafted wooden one.  Big Sur is also a gorgeous course.

Space Coast 2012 - It's a Space Shuttle! - used with permission from Angie Fontes

Space Coast 2012 – It’s a Space Shuttle! – used with permission from Angie Fontes

Big Sur Medals 2013 - used with permission

Big Sur Medals 2013 – used with permission


American River Parkway Half Marathon Medals

American River Parkway Half Marathon Medals

One of the races I have done the last three years has kept to the same theme of their medals.  They look almost identical, but with different dates and the X annual race.  The 5th annual is bigger, obviously.  But they change the animal, the tree, and the flower each year.  The first year medals were wood, I wish I was running back then, and that I was in CA to run the race.One of the local race companies, A Change of Pace, has really upgraded their medals in the last couple years.  Our first year back in Northern California, the medals we got from their races were… well…. crappy.  But in 2012, their first half marathon of the season, Davis Stampede, celebrated their 30th anniversary, so put out a pretty good medal for the race.


A Change of Pace Medals from Davis Moo-nlight and Stampede 2011

A Change of Pace Medals from Davis Moo-nlight and Stampede 2011


ACOP medals from 2012

ACOP medals from 2012

I ended up running all their races in 2012, and all the medals were pretty good, and the Davis Moo-nlight medal was downright awesome. In 2013, while I have only run Moo-nlight for ACOP, the pictures they have posted of the other medals are great.  They also offer participant medals, so for $5 you can get a medal if you run the 5k, 10k, or the kid’s race (or if you want extra bling, for the half marathon).

I even have some age group awards, which are cool because I never place in my age group.  The thing is for both of these races, my age group didn’t show up. If I had not been a 35-39 male, my time wouldn’t have placed in the top three, unless I was over 70.

Some of my not so great medals.

Some of my not so great medals.

Of course, here is the problem, my best races always seem to have the worst medals.  The half marathon I PR’ed at, the medal was just okay. My best race last year, a hot and hilly race, but still my fastest time, probably the worst medal I have. Even my epic triathlon, the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, the medal was just okay. But even though the medal isn’t great, the memory or accomplishment of the race will make up for the lack of pizazz on the medal.My favorite medal, just for pure looks, would have to be the Davis Moo-nlight medal from this year.  It is big, it is colorful, it has cows on it, and it glows in the dark. All it needs is a spinning doo-hickey and it would be out of this world. But the EFAT medal was my hardest earned medal, which makes it my favorite, just for sentimental reasons. I had to swim 1.5 miles across the “shark-infested waters” of San Francisco Bay (this is a misnomer – Alcatraz guards would pay fishermen who snagged great whites in their nets offshore and pretend they caught them in the bay to discourage escapes.

Dashing Dad's favorite medals.

Dashing Dad’s favorite medals.

The Dashing Wife’s favorites are from her first marathon, California International Marathon 2010, and for biggest accomplishment/sentimental was her Goofy Medal (which she was able to complete, I got dysentery before the Marathon).

Dashing Wife's favorite medals

Dashing Wife’s favorite medals

While it might seem that I have quite a few medals (about 35, the Dashing Wife has about 20), my collection is paltry compared to some. The folks that run races every weekend have hundreds of medals.  Their hangers of medals cover entire walls (yes, walls, plural) of their house. So I asked somebody who has hundreds of medals what their favorites were. Endorphin Dude has over 300 medals (115 half marathons, 101 marathons, plus many other races from 5k to 100 miles)

A section of one of Endorphin Dude's medal walls.

A section of one of Endorphin Dude’s medal walls.

This is what Endorphin Dude had to say:

“How does one choose his favorite finisher’s bling? This is quite a daunting task, and it really does have a Sophie’s Choice feel to it. How can I possibly choose one of my children over another? So many different criteria goes into choosing the best bling, such as visual aesthetics, degree of difficulty of the event, and sentimental value. I have over 300 races under my belt and roughly 250 or so medals, medallions, belt buckles, plaques, and trophies on my mantle.

“To choose one is difficult. Would it be the 2010 San Francisco Marathon medal because it was my first marathon? Or would it be the 2013 one, which is the medal I received when I crossed the finish line of my 100th marathon? Clearly, these two San Francisco medals hold a very special place in my heart, and they both fall in my top 5. If I were going straight for visual aesthetics, I would probably choose my Little Rock Marathon medal. I can assure you, there is nothing little about that rock. That bling is the size of a dinner plate, and it definitely ranks high on my list. How about my two 100 mile belt buckles? These two ralso ank way up there on the list.


American River 50 medal (and map bandana)

American River 50 medal (and map bandana)

“At the end of the day, if I had to choose the best medal in my collection, I would have to go for the one that tugs at my heart every time I look at it: American River 50 Mile Endurance Run. This was my first point to point 50 miler, and I worked the hardest to get to that finish line. I barely made all the cut offs by seconds, and was in serious danger of that much dreaded DNF.

“Those final 10 miles were brutal, and I kept seeing the game over sign blink away. Never once did I allow myself to give up. With the help of my incredible pacer (Dashing Dad – of all people) for the last 9 miles, I was able to cross that finish line with two tiny minutes to spare. I then dropped to the ground, curled up in the fetal position, and let out every emotion within my soul. [Dashing Dad here, I laughed at him when he fell to the ground crying. I am male, we typically don’t handle public displays of emotion well, and laughter seemed the appropirate way to handle the situation.]

“Finishing the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run is one of the proudest moments of my life. Every time I see this medal on my wall, I am reminded of the tough as nails fighter I have become. For this reason, this medal is #1.” – Endorphin Dude

What are your favorite medals?

One thought on “The Real Reason Why Runners Run

  1. […] Endorphin Dude at the American River 50 race over a year ago.  He talks about it in my post about The Real Reason Why Runners Run.  I was waiting for ED at Rattlesnake Bar, the last cutoff for AR50 before the finish.  He was […]

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