|Ultimate prize: A rum barrel! (sadly it contains no rum)|
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?