When I first started running, the allure of the medal was heavy. Never having received a sporting award in my life, the medal signified entry into some elite club. I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon solely because I loved the tiara medal so much. I went all the way to Little Rock, Arkansas for the HUGE medal. I proudly displayed them in beautiful medal hangers. Until one day … I just lost the thrill of collecting medals.
The medals from races that I had worked my butt off meant more to me than the other medals. They started collecting dust and when I started spring cleaning (an annual event that last several months at my house!), I started wondering what to do with them. I found out about some organizations that will accept your race medals and repurpose them.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to give away your medals, but if you ever find them sitting around out of sight, there are a few options that you could pass the medals on to.
Probably the most well-known of the medal donation programs, Medals 4 Mettle has been around since 2005. They give donated medals to both children and adults fighting cancer, chronic illness, trauma and other life challenges. Medals 4 Mettle has awarded over 55,000 medals through its 70 chapters in 80 hospitals around the world.
What They Accept: Earned half marathon, marathon or triathlon medals. Remove the medal from its ribbon before mailing; this cuts down on labor, as medals will be rebranded with a Medals 4 Mettle Ribbon. Donors should fill out a form telling about themselves and what the medal means to them.
Where: Mail the medals to the chapter nearest you. You can also find Medals 4 Mettle at some race expos and finish line areas, if you would rather save shipping costs and the associated carbon emissions.
Founded in Boston in 2012, the idea behind We Finish Together is to connect people with the power of a medal and message. Donors share messages on the medals themselves to give them a unique, inspiring message to the recipients, who are all ages and walks of life.
What They Accept: All medals! Every distance, and not just limited to running. We Finish Together also takes participation medals, academic medals, and everything in between.
Before sending the medals off, use a black or dark colored marker to write “#wefinishtogether” on one side of the medal ribbon. On the other side, write a positive mantra. Finally, attach a card or tag to the medal with an uplifting message on it. The tag is your chance to get crafty with stickers, glitter or drawings.