These medals do a little more than show off your accomplishment.
As organizer of a “by runners, for runners” half marathon in Philadelphia, Carl Ewald and his team put together the ODDysey Half Marathon not even sure they wanted to pass out race medals.
“We weren’t going to give out medals at our race because we wanted to give out something more practical,” he says. “We wanted it to be something you could actually use instead of something that goes in a drawer.”
The race medal, though, is entrenched in the runner experience, and Ewald and his team quickly realized that many runners like them and want them. So the strategy shifted from “something more practical” to “a practical race medal.”
For the first few years of the event, ODDysey incorporated a bottle opener into their medal, and it was well-received. But races all over the country were doing it, too. So Ewald’s team took it a step further.
The result is impressive—their 2014 race featured a race medal with two holes in it that allows it to be screwed into the wall to serve as both a plaque and a mounted bottle opener.
“We thought we’d take it to the next level,” Ewald said.
What he may not have expected is that it would take his race to the next level. The medal went viral online and people from all over were asking about obtaining one. The ODDysey team decided to set up an online remote race program for people to run 13.1 miles on their own to receive an ODDysey medal and T-shirt.
The ODDysey team is on to something—race medals aren’t going anywhere as a popular race-day perk, but they’re not for everyone. So why not make them practical to broaden the appeal?
We combed the country in search of the best multi-purpose race medals out there—medals that celebrate the hard work that went into completing a race, but with a clever-enough design to be a little more than sentimental.
Here’s what we found: