What To Do With All Your Race Medals

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Race medals are great reminders of your best races. But if you run a lot of races, you can quickly build up a big collection – sometimes of races you’d rather forget, too. Most of us end up with a bag or box of medals hidden in a closet somewhere.

If you’re wondering what to do with all your race medals, we’ve got some creative ideas. Instead of letting them gather dust or stuffing them in a shoebox where you can’t see them, here are some fun ways to display or repurpose them.

1. Create a Medal Display

If you love the memories and accomplishment that comes with your medals, displaying them is a great way to remember your races.

DIY Display Board

You can buy a display board to hang your medals, but doing a DIY board is more fun. You could craft hanging medal boards out of wood or create a detailed “scrapbook” board that includes medals, race bibs, and photos.

You can get creative and display your medals however you want. Hanging, pinned to a corkboard, or whatever else you want to do—get creative!

Shadow Boxes

Shadow boxes are attractive ways to display your race medals. These deeper-than-average frames give a 3D look.

Using smaller shadow boxes for special races is also a nice idea. If you have a medal, a bib, a t-shirt, photo, and other mementos from the race, they look great arranged inside a shadow box.

Medal Hanger

Hanging medals is another way to display them without taking up space. It’s also fairly easy to dust and rearrange.

Medal display hangers are available in all shapes, sizes, and materials. They can be simple hanging racks like this one, or a rack built into a shelf, like this.

Themed Wall Art

If you’re the artistic type and you have a lot of medals, you can create themed wall art! A medal mosaic is one way and it’s easy to do.

If you’ve got a lot of medals, grouping them into themes is a good idea. For example, display all your medals from one state together or those from one specific year.

2. Repurposing Your Medals

If you want something more practical to do with your race medals, you can repurpose them into something different. This way, you’ll always have little reminders of your accomplishments!

Jewelry and Accessories

Smaller medals can be made into necklaces, bigger ones into belt buckles. If you’re crafty, you may be able to do it yourself, but you can also get it done professionally.

You might also be able to sew medals into denim jackets as a “patch,” but this will require some more skill.

Turn Medals Into Unique Coasters

We all use coasters, so this is a practical and fun way to repurpose those race medals! You can easily find a silicone coaster mold, and then all you need is some clear resin. Place a medal in the mold, fill it with resin, and let it dry. There you have a medal coaster.

It might take some time to get this right, although it sounds easy! You should start with less meaningful medals and practice a bit before trying to use your important ones.

Create Fridge Magnets

Take the ribbons off your medals, stick a magnet on the back, and have an eye-catching and unique fridge magnet. Keep in mind that some race medals are quite heavy and might need stronger magnets!

Keychains

This one is simple and fun! Remove the ribbon from your medal and add a keyring. Then, hook it onto any set of keys you want!

Just remember that it might be a little heavy, and your medal might get scratched by the keys, especially if it’s in a bag or pocket. But it’s a fun way to keep a memento close by and spot your keys easily.

Wind Chimes

Love the sound of wind chimes? Use your medals to create a DIY wind chime! You can hang all your medals up using a fishing line to create a wind chime effect.

Or, if you already have wind chimes hanging up, choose a meaningful medal and hang it as the centerpiece—the piece that weighs the wind chime down.

Christmas Ornaments

If you don’t have space to create art or display your medals in your home, creating Christmas ornaments from them is a good way to give them some purpose without having them permanently on display.

Just remove the race ribbon and replace it with a shorter one that can hook over a branch. Remember, the medals are a little heavy, so this is best for robust Christmas trees that can handle the weight of multiple sparkly medals!

3. Get Creative With Home Decor

Try repurposing your medals into something practical in the house and give them a second chance at having a purpose.

Curtain Tie-Backs

There’s no need to spend money on fancy curtain tiebacks when you’ve got cool race medals! This is a great idea for larger, chunkier medals—and they’ll be proudly on display while they’re holding your curtains back during the day.

Chandelier

Swing your medals from the chandeliers! Hanging your medals from the light fittings is a fun way to include them in your decor without them being in the way. Or, if you’re a creative metal worker, you can use your medals to create your own chandelier.

Cabinet Knobs

Imagine a different medal on every cupboard door, reminding you of your accomplishments. Using medals as cabinet knobs is a unique way of putting them to practical use in your home.

You should experiment with how exactly to do this. Gluing them into existing knobs is one way, but it might not work depending on the shape of the knob. You can build your own new knobs in the garage out of wood and integrate the medals into the wood if you’re good at woodwork!

Tablecloth Weights

Love entertaining? Use your medals as tablecloth weights and you’ll be able to bring them out every time you have guests over. They could even serve as talking points!

You might need to glue small hooks or pegs to the medals. Or you can replace the ribbon with a smaller one and attach the peg or hook onto that if you don’t want to get glue on your medals.

Table Centerpiece

A small standing medal hanger can make a great tabletop centerpiece. Make sure it’s not so high that it gets in the way, but it’s a nice way to show off your running achievements.

Or, just place a whole lot of colorful medals into a glass bowl and use that—it’s a quick and easy way to make an interesting centerpiece!

4. Use Them for Motivation

Yes, your old medals can be used for new motivation! They’re symbols of your running accomplishments, so they’re the perfect way to motivate you to achieve new goals.

Inspiration and Goal Board

A vision board is an amazing way to set goals and push yourself to reach them. Incorporating your previous medals into your goal and inspiration boards reminds you of what you’ve achieved before and what you can do.

Medal Games

Try a medal game to spice up your running routine! Let your medals be a part of your everyday running life even long after they were won.

Medal Match-Up

Pick a medal and run that distance. This can be a bit of a lottery because one day you might choose a 5k, and another day you might end up with a marathon! It might be best to try it on a weekend.

Challenge Yourself to a “Medal Streak”

This is similar to the game above, but it needs more prep work. Choose a certain number of medals—5, 7, 14, 30—and challenge yourself to run the medal distance each day.

For example, you can do this “medal streak” for a week—7 medals. Start with a short one, a 5k. Day 2 can be a 5-miler. Day 3 can be a 10K, day 4 can be 10 miles, day 5 can be a half-marathon, day 6 can be another half-marathon, and the final day can be a full marathon.

Or, start with one distance per week and work your way up. See how many medals you can “re-win!”

Pacing Partner

Choose a medal from a race where you achieved a PR. Use it as inspiration to try and match or beat that pace—this is a great goal to have but will also help you to push yourself to new heights.

5. Memory Lane: Creating Keepsakes

Medals are amazing memories, but some are more meaningful than others. If you want to keep them as memories instead of repurposing them, here are some ideas.

Time Capsule

This is an unusual but interesting idea! Creating a time capsule isn’t only a fun idea for you to go back to in many years’ time, but it’s also a way to leave a small running legacy for your children.

Place your most meaningful medals in the time capsule, and you can add a race bib or t-shirt from the same race if you want to. Make sure the time capsule is well sealed so the items inside are preserved. Set a date for opening it—a decade or more—and then wait!

Scrapbook

A scrapbook is another idea to preserve your medals and other running paraphernalia. If you’ve got race photos, this is particularly fun, and can bring hours of enjoyment long after your race has passed.

Memory Box

If you don’t mind leaving your medals in a box, make it a nice box! Create a meaningful memory box, including your medals and other mementos. You might have to pick and choose a few special medals instead of just throwing all of them into a box.

Choose a pretty box and keep it in a place of honor—on a shelf or a table, not hidden away underneath your bed or in the garage!

6. Share the Love: Gifting and Donating

If you don’t want to repurpose your medals around the house, why not donate them? Make someone else’s day with a meaningful token!

Gift to Schools or Youth Programs

The medal itself isn’t the real prize. It’s what’s behind the medal—the achievement, reaching a goal, doing something amazing. You can give your old medals to schools or sporting organizations to be handed out to their youth.

Educational Rewards

Medals can be repurposed as academic awards or achievements for attendance. Donating your medals to schools can be a worthwhile endeavor.

Youth Sports Teams

Sporting organizations may be happy for your old medals to give them to deserving youngsters!

Find organizations in your area that provide sports opportunities for kids and reach out to see if they’d be interested in your medals. This is a way of giving back as well as repurposing medals.

Donation to Charities

Some charities collect medals specifically and will gladly take yours and use them for something special!

Medals4Mettle

Medals4Mettle collects medals and awards them to kids and adults fighting life-threatening illnesses. This is an amazing way to give back to the community and make a difference to someone’s life.

We Finish Together

This organization is all about sharing love, hope, and kindness. In the form of medals! Consider donating your old ones so someone can enjoy being given a token of love and appreciation.

7. Recycling Race Day Medals

Organizations like Sport Medal Recycling recycle the metal your medals are made of. And they recycle the packaging you send it in as well!

Create a Digital Showcase

Finally, no matter what you do with your medals, consider creating a digital showcase so you still have all the evidence of your achievements! Take a clear, light photo of every one of your medals against a white or black background.

You can upload each one to the cloud for safekeeping or post them to your Instagram page as a running total of your metals. Get creative with this, too!

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.