What do you do with your “everyone gets a medal” medals?

Some people, it turns out (hi Anita!), have a strict medal protocol. They bite them for photos, though I’m not sure why. They wear them the day of the race, after it’s over. And then they save and display them. They take joy in their medals.

Not me. While I’m a fan of “everyone gets a medal” medals, personally I’m not much attached to them. I let them hang off the door knobs of my closet and then after a bit, I throw them away. I know, I know. Not environmentally friendly. But no one else wants them either. And that’s the problem.

Ditto race water bottles. I use them though not usually on my bike. I’m fussy about bottles. Ditto race t-shirts. I’ve got enough pj t-shirts and camping t-shirts and backyard gardening t shirts to last the rest of my days. I also see enough of them in thrift stores to know that others feel the same way. One notable exception: This year’s race t shirt for Kincardine. Red, technical fabric, running tank. That I’ll keep.

So while I’m in favour of races in which everyone gets a medal, personally I don’t want them. To use Marie Kondo‘s words, they don’t spark joy in my life.

So here’s my question for you, readers of our blog: Do you keep participation medals, completers’ medals? How about actual winning medals? Either, both, or neither? Why? Also bonus points (sorry this university professor is planning nest year’s courses and setting assignments), what do you do with the stuff if you keep it?

12 thoughts on “What do you do with your “everyone gets a medal” medals?

  1. I used to keep them and then I just threw them all away except for my Boston marathon medal. My most recent one I think I threw away as soon as I got home ;-( I used one a couple of years ago as part of a Halloween costume. (I was Nancy Kerrigan).

  2. I know of a zero waste runner who asked the organisers not to give her a shirt or a medal.

  3. I hang my medals on a hook in my closet and if the t-shirt is made of technical fabric, which most are these days, I wear it. I also keep my race bibs. But over the next little while I’m going to need to get rid of a bunch of stuff and I think the medals will have to go.

  4. I threw away all my legit medals a couple of years back. At the time I considered them all worthless since none was awarded for a #1 national spot. Today I feel a bit silly about it. 🙂

  5. I keep all of mine. The ones from this season are on display on my chest of drawers and older ones go in a box for storage. I just think one day it will be great getting out the medals and remembering all the sports I’ve competed in, as I have medals for football, athletics, triathlon, running, swimming, badminton….

  6. I wear the technical t-shirts, I keep the medals in a little bag and chuck them if I have more than one (ie if I’ve done the same race twice). I heard of someone who uses them as Christmas tree ornaments and I think I might start doing that!

  7. I keep them all. I agree that someday they will be wonderful to look back on. They were very motivating to me in the past 18 months when I was injured and dealing with life issues and not able to compete. I have a bulletin board full of them by my bike trainer/treadmill in the basement. I have a bulletin board full of them in my home office. I have my most recent important ones pinned to the tack board in front of my computer in my home office. I do not have any at my out-of- home office. There is no sign of my sports at that office as I want to keep clients focused on discussing their tax situation. As for what to do with the participation medals that you don’t want, I would suggest just refusing it as you cross the finish line. Just cut off the source, then you don’t need to worry about what to do with them. For race shirts, I keep the most recent ones or the significant ones, and donate the rest to Goodwill. Certain race series, such as Multisport Canada, are now offering an entry fee discount if you indicate on the online registration that you do not want the race shirt.

  8. Can you not just decline to take them? That’s what I would do…..also I love the option not to get a t-shirt at some events. Like where it’s an extra fee of $5 and therefore you can compete for less and not waste resources.

  9. When I first started out, they were a huge draw because I’m a solid back-of-the-pack racer (especially in running only races). I still like them, but after a while it really is one of those “what do I do with another one?” thing

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