Races: It’s All About the Medals – Or Is It?

Races: It’s All About the Medals – Or Is It?

Last year my wonderful running friend and I raced three half marathons in the Rock ‘n Roll series, Portland in May, Seattle in June and the Vancouver inaugural one in late October. We received seven great medals (see the photo), spent many hours training, some hours shopping and drinking après run coffees and lots of time talking. All in all, a very productive year in the medal department. Big run expos, gigantic numbers of entrants, lots of hoopla!  Oh, and a fairly large financial investment, close to $300, just on entry fees alone.

This year we have signed up for a local MEC run series that includes two 10 k runs, two halves and an 8 k. In contrast to the three runs of 2014, the grand total cost for these five events is $60. There are no medals, no shirts and a small group of entrants, meaning we, or at least I, will likely be one of the last finishers. Just drop by the local store to pick up your run package, no hoopla.  We have spent a reasonable amount of time training, but in between, there have been vacations for the two of us, some colds and some minor injuries.

I love my medal collection, I love receiving them and I really love how proud my family is of me. My father-in-law made a beautiful rack to hang them on and everyone who comes in the front door gets to see them.  I joke with my kids that I want to be buried with them. I have my favourites, ones that I worked extra hard to get and others that are just cool looking.

But are they the reason I run and enter events? Not really. While it is important to have a training goal for motivation, I run because I love it.  It means I can spend time with a very good friend, sharing laughs, advice, stories and sometimes some tears. It helps me keep me in some semblance of fitness, enjoy the great outdoors in almost all kinds of weather, test shoes for Kintec and justify a mocha after a long run.  Sure, the medal is a tangible reward and I love them, but I won’t be receiving any this year and that’s just fine with me.  The training will still occur as will the events. Running should be about the pure enjoyment and satisfaction of the physical activity, the bling just an added bonus.

Now, about next year…

Laura Olson, Kintec Race Team

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