inclusiveness · triathalon

Why It’s a Good Thing that Everyone Gets a Medal


One thing I forgot to mention when I blogged about our triathlon that became a duathlon was that everyone got a medal.


And you know what? I appreciated that medal and despite coming 30/36 in my age category (!!) I felt like a damn well deserved that medal!

I realize that there are some who would say that medals ought to be reserved for those who actually place. And I do believe in prizes for those fast athletes who are actually competing and do well. They deserve recognition.

But the trend towards rewarding effort and recognizing that, regardless of where you place, it’s an achievement to commit to the race and finish it strikes me as positive and affirming.

I remember reading that since marathons have become more popular and “accessible” the average time to complete has gone up. That’s because there are more people who are in it just to finish, not to win.

I didn’t do so great in the duathlon timewise. But I felt pretty awesome doing it. I have never been in an event before that had timing chips, so it was kind of cool to be able to get my own benchmarks for the future.

Everyone whom I interacted with worked hard that day and pushed themselves in ways they normally do not.

Few people went into it for the prizes and even fewer expected to get a medal. But everyone seemed as thrilled as I was to get theirs as they crossed the finish line.

Only a very small percentage of the people in the world are elite athletes. Recognizing non-elite athletic performance is a good thing because even those who don’t win accomplish something.

For me, it was the sheer sense of accomplishment from staying out there, constantly moving, for an hour and 22 minutes. I never do that. And I appreciated getting a medal for it.

Thank you.

9 thoughts on “Why It’s a Good Thing that Everyone Gets a Medal

  1. Great post Tracy and I agree. Finishers’ medals are a terrific idea. So many race to finish, rather than to win, and all efforts ought to be rewarded.

    I think this is something that running and multi sport culture does well, that cycling does not so well at. The Grand Fondo rides are a good first effort at this combining racing with mass participation. “Let the racers race and let the riders ride.” I like that.

  2. The concept of participation medals are very much a multisport/marathon thing. This goes to the event being one of communal activity. Congratulations on completion the tri.

  3. As a triathlete who has come in dead last in my age group on more occasions than I would like to admit, I agree that finishers medals are a great idea. For a 5k, maybe not, but for an event that takes as much dedication, training, and mental preparedness as a duathlon, marathon, half-marathon, or triathlon (and I’m sure there are others), it really is an accomplishment just to finish. I’m actually doing a duathlon this summer just for the finisher’s medal, so I guess it can be a marketing technique as well!

  4. My 9 year old daughter is in agreement with you. She wants to play games at Wonderland where she gets a small prize simply for participating, for otherwise she feels she has to win and is very upset when she does not. The small prize gives her a sense of accomplishment just for participating.

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