I used to be Queen of the Medal Nerds: If a race or an event didn't offer a (nice, big, good quality) medal to all finishers, the chances of me entering or participating were slim to none. I'd spend hours drooling over bucket-list event medals, and even based my bucket list selections on races with the flashiest bling. Looking back I know exactly where my love for medals came from: After a school- and varsity career marked by being above-average in a lot of things, but never the best in anything, I loved finally being able to build up a collection of stunning awards. It fanned my running flame.
You can imagine my surprise then, when suddenly sometime after my children's births, I started skipping local races (with medals) for a chance to do normal neighbourhood stroller runs. I even started passing up the opportunity to do destination races while on holiday for the sake of running with new friends, or doing parkruns. Gasp. Cue medal nerds everywhere to hang their heads in shame.
|Celebrating an everyday stroller run.|
So what has changed? And why? Perhaps it's a case of having learnt to appreciate running just for the sake of running - no more flashy side-benefits required. Or perhaps it's a sign that I'm getting older? (My dad always says that once you start enjoying dark chocolate and blue cheese, you know you're all grown-up... Perhaps running is the same?) I'm convinced that parkrun also had something to do with it: Showing me that simply experiencing a run with fellow runners in a beautiful setting is a great reward in itself.
|parkrun, I love you.|
Whatever the reason, this former medal nerd is looking at running with new eyes. Here's to the everyday stroller runs with our kids around the neighbourhood; to the Saturday morning long runs with water bottles hidden in the bushes at the halfway mark; and to runner's highs after nailing a good interval session. 'Cause every run should be celebrated.
Do medals motivate you to run/race? Or do you enjoy running just for the sake of running?