Medals For Non-Finishers?

RunDisney revealed the three medals for their Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend this morning. This race is on my bucket list- it’s held in November during Disney Wine and Dine Festival in Epcot. I’ve been to the Wine and Dine Festival once while visiting my sister. Disney has a ton of mini stands featuring small bites of food (and drinks!) from several countries and regions around the world. The stands are special in that, they are not available year round, and in addition to the featured countries  in the World Showcase, the stands represent many other countries not usually available. The Wine and Dine half is run at night, and ends with a late night celebration around the world in Epcot. Along with the half, RunDisney also offers a 5K and kids races that weekend.

2014 Wine and Dine Half weekend medals

2014 Wine and Dine Half weekend medals

While I was admiring the medals posted on Facebook, I was skimming through the comments and noticed a slight debate going on regarding Disney giving medals to non-finishers of their races. One person stated that she was angry RunDisney did this. Another person stated that her sister did not finish a half at Disney, and they wouldn’t giver her a medal. Said she was really angry because the sister became injured on the course and couldn’t finish, but had spent the money and logged the miles and that’s really what it was all about. There were several other comments back and forth around this subject. But it got me thinking… should races offer medals to those that DNF?

I’m kind of torn on this subject. On one hand- I’ve been injured before, and forced myself through a couple races because I had put in so much work to get there, not running the race was not an option. Had I not finished one of those races.. I would have wanted my reward anyways. Most recently, I was fantasizing of offering my race entry to a friend for one of my challenge races that I couldn’t run because of my foot. I thought oh, she can run for me, then she can pick up my premium for the challenge (not the race, I would have let her keep that premium/medal, but the challenge premium for completing all three races in the challenge.) but then I thought to myself- no, I wouldn’t have earned it. And as much as I wanted the premium (I DID finish 2 out of 3 races for the challenge!) I knew it was impossible.

I understand what it’s like to work so hard for something, then have an injury take you out. It sucks. But I still can’t bring myself to ask for the reward. Yes I logged all my miles, yes, I paid to enter the race. But I didn’t finish… and what’s the point of showing off a medal (or premium) for something that I didn’t accomplish.. it doesn’t feel right. I would feel like a fraud.

HOWEVER.. I’ve also seen people run in honor of other people- I did that with TNT. I know someone who had a friend who was supposed to run a race, but was diagnosed with cancer and couldn’t. Her running partners were able to run the race and secure her an honorary medal. This action is an exception to the rule that I can get behind. Would I expect my friends to secure me a medal because I hurt my foot and couldn’t run. NO. But an unsolicited token of kindness and compassion in exceptional circumstances is so endearing.. and I think races should condone this kind of act.

What do you think? Should races strictly give out medals/premiums to finishers? Or should everyone who makes it to the start get one? Should there be reasonable exceptions? Has anyone witnessed Disney giving out medals to non-finishers? Or has anyone seen anyone been denied a medal? I’m just curious to the opinion climate amongst the running community.



2 thoughts on “Medals For Non-Finishers?

  1. I don’t even want to wear the shirt for a race I had to back out of because I was injured. I would not expect a medal for a race I DNF. It’s a finisher medal, not a “I worked hard in training” medal, IMO.

    • I definitely share your opinion. I was surprised at the comments on the FB post.. and wanted to throw the idea out there to see what other people thought. Some people seem to have the entitlement mentality because they put in the work.. but they call it a “finisher’s medal” for a reason. I’m always open to hearing the other side of things though!

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