A certain number of runners in the world really love one specific thing about racing: The Bling! While other race swag – the tech shirts, the tote bags, the stickers – is all well and good, a nice running medal on a decorative ribbon is the creme-de-la-creme of running receivables. Some runners do races just for the bling. Some runners even choose their races based on how cool the medals look. Race medals are a tangible, hard-earned, eye-catching memento of your fitness achievements.
And then they start to pile up. After your first handful of 10ks or half-marathons, you might feel a little less need to show off your race bling. So you toss them into a box in the closet, or the attic, or under your bed. Or maybe you are proud of each and every one, and want a better system to show off who you are as runner. You want to do something useful with hose medals, but what?
If your personal medal stash is getting out of control, or you feel yourself on the verge of bling overload, this article is for you! Although I definitely don’t have as many medals as some, when I started running more races, I found myself asking this exact question and trying to figure out what would make me happiest.
Read on to get some ideas!
Hang Them Up
This is the most obvious suggestion: display your race medals! They are something that took time to accomplish, and it’s fine if you’re proud of them, so hang them up for any visitors to your house to see!
You can either buy or make a hanging rack (or racks if you need more than one) to put them on. Many larger races have racks that you can buy at the expo the day before the race if you want to go that route.
I decided to make my own, because then it would be more personal. I could design it how I wanted. Mine doesn’t have a title above it, but you could write, “Born to Run,” “Winner,” “World Record Holder,” or anything else that makes you feel good about running.
If you want to highlight 1-3 of your biggest achievements, you can even hang them in a shadow box that has a glass door or a window. If you got 1st place in a race (or your age category) or participated in a dream race, that’s definitely worth highlighting.
Get a Wall-Hanging Display System
This is pretty similar to hanging them up, but if you have a specifically designed wall-hanging display system, it will look nice against the wall. You might also consider hanging them in your closet, or even on the handle of your door if you don’t have too many.
Put Them in a Military Coin Case
Another way to display your race medals is to put them in a military coin case. If you’ve run a couple military-sponsored races like the Marine Corps Marathon, then this is an even better idea.
I’ve run the Air Force 10k, Marine Corps Half, and Sledgehammer 10-miler. And I have other military items that would work great in a military coin case. Once I run more military-sponsored races (especially if I get all the branches), I might consider a military coin case.
Turn Them Into Magnets
If you’re someone who loves refrigerator magnets or wants medals to be more useful than being a display piece, make them into magnets. Display them on your fridge or any other magnetic surface in your house.
Magnets that stick on the back of objects like medals can be purchased at craft stores.
Put Them in a Scrapbook
If you’d rather keep your medals tucked away, then consider putting them into a scrapbook. Then you can show them to friends and family whenever you want. It’s a discreet way to organize your medals for display without taking up wall space.
Just make sure that you get a big scrapbook with thick pages, and don’t overstuff the scrapbook. If you have lots of medals, you might want to consider just putting your favorites into a scrapbook. Or you could do one scrapbook for each year of running.
Turn Them Into a Coaster
Another option if you want your medals to be useful is to turn them into coasters. One company that does this is Kudos.
Obviously, this isn’t going to be the cheapest option, but it could be a great birthday or Christmas gift suggestion!
Show Them Off Inside a Glass Jar
If you live somewhere that you can’t put holes in the wall to hang a display case or if that just isn’t your style, you can always get a big glass jar, arrange all your medals in there, and place it in a special corner.
Put Them as Ornaments on the Christmas Tree
There are so many ways to theme your Christmas tree—multi-colored, kids’ ornaments, white and blue, red and gold, and . . . race-themed! If running is really important to you, then you should feel free to display your achievements on the tree.
Still want a traditional Christmas tree? Get a second, smaller tree that is just dedicated to your running. Show off all of your medals from that year. You don’t even have to limit it to race medals. Display any mementos that you’re really proud of!.
Take a Fun Photo With Them
You likely have a picture of yourself with each medal individually after a race, but do you have a picture with all of them? You might want to consider putting all of them around your neck and taking a photo to inspire others.
If you do a Christmas letter every year, you could make a photo with you and your running medals a tradition—whether you just wear the medals from that year or whether you do the total number of medals that you’ve earned.
If there are medals that just don’t mean anything to you anymore (maybe you’ve run over 100 5ks and have a ton of medals from that alone), you should consider donating them to a good cause.
For example, you can donate them to Medals 4 Mettle, an organization that gives medals to children and adults fighting debilitating illnesses and who might not be able to run a race, but are in a race of their own just to continue to live their lives.
Give Them to the Kids to Play With
If you happen to have kids and don’t mind them touching your medals, they’ll definitely enjoy playing with them. If they have a good imagination, there’s a good chance that they might pretend that they are Olympic medals. Your kids will get a lot more use than you!
Play Jenga With Them
If you have a lot of medals, you might consider playing Jenga with them. Stack them up carefully (perhaps with a running friend), and the first person who causes the medals to drop loses. Or if you’re doing it yourself, see how high of a stack you can get before they start to slip.
Have a Race Medal Easter (Egg) Hunt
If your family always has an Easter egg hunt, you could hide your medals too in combination with the eggs. Or you could have a family member or friend hide them for you so that you can find them!
If you’re feeling super creative, maybe have a family member or friend put together a scavenger hunt for you where you can go and find particular medals hidden throughout the house. Better yet, turn it into a running event: have the medals hidden around town or a local park, and treat it as a running scavenger hunt.
Play Petanque or Boule
If you enjoy playing games and don’t mind throwing your medals, you can play petanque or boule with them. The object of the game is to throw them to get them closest to the ball. It might be fun to see what medals (based on their weight) work better than others.
Create a Running or Strength Workout
If you want to jazz up your workouts, then consider using your medals to change things up. If you’re trying to decide what distance you’re going to run, maybe consider randomly grabbing a medal (perhaps leave out the marathon medals) and run the distance for that medal.
Or you might consider putting running or strength workouts on the back of each medal and then randomly picking one to see what workout you’ll be doing for the day. It’s a good way to stay excited about running and get some use out of your medals.
Don’t Accept Them If You Won’t Use Them
Finally, if you really don’t plan to do anything with a particular race medal (maybe you’ve run the 5k in your home town every year for the past 10 years and you just don’t need another medal), then don’t accept it.
If you just want the experience of running the race and training for it, there is no shame in foregoing a medal if you don’t want it anyway. Just courteously decline.
Hopefully, this article has given you some good ideas of what you can do with your race medals going forward. You don’t have to store them off in the closet or corner. Proudly display them in whatever works best for you and best suits your personality!
A coaster on game day. A magnet on the fridge that any visitor can admire. A display on the office wall upstairs. The way to get some good games started. Or a fun memory that you have from searching for them like eggs. There are so many ways your race medals can be used for more than just race day.