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Types of awards change over time

Moe Johnson Running with Moe

Types of awards change over time

Sunday, February 12, 2023

I have almost retired from being a race director but still act as a consultant to organizations that want to put on a fund raising event and want some direction. One of the questions that groups ask about putting on a race is what age groups should they include and what type of an award for the winners in these age groups. Looking back at some of the awards I gave to runners and some of the awards I received when I ran in races it seems the difference is how many of the awards are still around. Early races were mostly a wooden or tin column of various height with a figure on top. The figures were of a runner or a victory woman standing with her arms above her head. Occasionally the race came up with a unique figure that represented the name of the race. I had some that were horses, longhorns, and half-moon figures if the race was in the evening. There were races that gave out various sized medals that you could hang around your neck. The medals ranged from a nice 4 inch diameter with a design logo on it to a small 2 inch medal that had the standard runner logo on it. I was never one to have a trophy shelf for the various awards so different locations in the house were temporary spots for them. With house renovations and moving furniture the trophies have been lost.

Then some races gave useful awards with the name of the race and the place finish engraved on it. One race I tried to hand out a small bath towel with the race logo on it. My thought was I had so many race tee shirts a race towel would be of good use after a race. It was not a popular substitute for a race tee shirt for n ewe r runners that did not have shelves of tee shirts. The towel award for a couple of years later was still requested if I had any left over from the race. I saved one for myself and it is still used today.

McCoy’s Lumber sponsored the first eight years of Moe’s Better Half Marathon. One of the ‘goodies’ that was placed in the registration sack was a bandana with McCoy’s logo on it. This was in 1983 and there is still a McCoy’s bandana in my back pocket today. A very useful item for a runner. For a number of years at the race we gave finish ball point pens to runners. The pens were good quality pens and not the $.25 variety. I have one pen from 2009 that still writes. I have heard from runners that still use the I I have heard from runners that still use the pens from the race today.

For the last eight to ten years we gave 15-ounce coffee mugs with the race logo on one side and the race sponsor on the other side. To this day these are almost the only coffee mugs I use. Being a race director I often had a number of mugs left over. I gave coffee mugs to friends, new neighbors, and relatives. I am finally down to only a few mugs left out in storage. The thought behind the coffee mug was that it was something most people would use every day. With the race name and logo and the sponsor logo the advertisement was a reminder every time the mug was used. I have seen some of the mugs that were used for holding pens on a desk or flowers in the kitchen. Another useful award for runners that helped promote the race and the sponsor.

I have a desk clock in a small wooden box that was an award at the Country Roads Half Marathon. The clock inside the box needs a new battery but that is an easy fix. Another very handy and useful award. For several years we gave out runner’s caps with the race name on it. A nice cool runner’s cap can always be used. I have seen posts on media outlets of runners at other races wearing a white runner’s cap with ‘Moe’s Better Half Marathon’ on the front. Another good advertisement for a race.

Another award that is useful is an insulated large travel mug with the race name and finish place on it. Runners that are traveling to out of town races will find this a very useful and handy award. I think the Bobcat Prowl 5K in April will use these mugs for awards. They are actually more expensive than a medal or small plaque and much more useful for everyday use. Some runners like the trophies or plaques for an age group award but after race day they will be on a shelf gathering dust or be misplaced after a few months. The pen, coffee mug, runner’s cap, travel mug, or desk clock will be used more, be a good reminder of the race, and the sponsor will appreciate the advertisement for years later.

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