Monday, 28 September 2015

Rum runner's relay and the personal trophy

On the weekend I was part of the winning team for the Rum Runner's Relay (A Few Good Men). The team award has gone to HRC (Halifax Running Club) for ten years straight so yes, we are breaking history.

Ultimate prize: A rum barrel! (sadly it contains no rum) 
Since my time in Halifax is growing limited (assuming I find work in Montreal next spring), it was a good time as any to experience part of the coastline on foot from the HRM to Lunenburg. Beautiful weather and a fun 12-hour day overall. I'd like to be back, if possible. We'll see.

And now for a digression: One enjoyable aspect of the Rum Runner's relay was it's relative simplicity and lack of frills. The organization was good, but it didn't have any extra keepsakes beyond some coffee samples, merchandise for winning groups, and food. Notable besides the 'victory barrel', there are no finisher's medals. Not having medals saves a lot of money. By contrast this year the Maritime Race weekend spent $42,000 on finisher's medals, or about $10/medal. Worse is that for anyone who signed up and never ran, those medals will never be used, and probably never see the light of day.

It got me thinking how one might apply the trophy-on-loan idea on a mass scale. We as a team do not keep anything permanently; rather our name is inscribed and permanently added to the collective winners. Think how no-one gets to keep the Stanley Cup forever either.

How can we try something similar for finisher's medals? Here's is a sketch of an idea: Let us say the race fee includes a deposit ($15, say) for each medal. But if you return you medal instead of keeping it, you'd get the money back. Take photos at the finish line, carry it around for a while etc, but at the end of the day (or year) you have the option of giving it back. While signing up for next year's race, upon returning the medal mean you don't have to pay for it again.

The basic idea is you, as a repeat customer, don't accumulate medals, and race organizers can re-use their bulk purchases. Less waste overall and there could be shared history if the medals have previous finishers engraved on them. Yes, the medal will fill up eventually with names. But you could have a removable back, or something.

I'm sure there are lots of possibilities. The final goal is to save everyone some money while adding a little community sharing to boot. Has anyone tried this? Could it really work?



  1. You're definitely on to something. How cool would it be for a young runner to get a medal with their "idol's" name and time (or simply year participated if that's easier) engraved on the back? Or to see who ends up with the medal from the winner of the previous year...or who gets the medal with the oldest date? If you want to keep it you can...if you want to trade it back in to the "medal rotation" you pay less on your registration, or some other incentive. The removable back is a good idea, but then the medal should have its production year engraved permanently (bringing up similar feelings or thoughts to when you find particularly old coins). Definitely a neat concept to give more thought to...


    1. Yeah, I was thinking about how old library books you could see the last person who checked it out. Always missed that since bar codes came into being. I like the idea of engraving the year on back. Like finding an old coin.