As you may have noticed from yesterday’s post, Chris has started running! I am super excited about this and have already given myself the title of his biggest supporter! Not only has he started running but he has also decided that he is ready to take on his first 5k! Woot!
One of the things that Chris is looking for in his first 5k is a shiny finisher’s medal to commemorate the occasion. There is just one problem with that. Most 5k races do not have finisher medals.
Take a look at my medal rack.
Not counting the mud / obstacle races, only one of those medals came from a 5k.
Interestingly when Chris Googled “5k races with finisher medals” the results produced threads from various online communities about this topic and many of the commenters were against 5k races having finisher medals. Many of them made comments to the effect that they felt finisher medals for 5k races is an insult to real runners. Yes, you read that right. An insult to real runners.
I was shocked and angered by those statements and elitist attitudes. First of all, what makes someone a real runner? I most certainly consider myself to be a real runner. I also consider a beginner runner like Chris to be a real runner. For me a real runner is anyone who laces up their shoes and goes for a run, no matter how slow or fast they may be, whether they run outside or on a treadmill, whether they race or don’t race and whether they run 1 mile or 50 miles.
As a real runner, one of the things I look for in a race is a finisher’s medal. I see it as something that I will have forever to remind me of my experience and accomplishment. Some might argue, that the participant shirt is a great race souvenir but I see it as something that I will eventually get rid of. I would never get rid of the medal.
In general, I find the running community to be a very supportive and accepting community so I know that the elitist attitudes displayed by those commenters are in the minority but I want to hear what you think about this. How do you feel about finisher medals at 5k races? And what do you think makes someone a real runner?