Alternatives to Race Medals/Buckles

Looking for ideas for alternatives to race medals and buckles. A good friend runs a number of trail/ultra events and we’re trying to think of alternatives to the above. Both of us don’t really care for them personally. All my medals hang pointelssly in the shed, my 100 mile buckles are in a box somewhere. But from feedback we get at the events, they’re very important to a lot of people.

These events are 50km to 100+ miles, so we’er not talking local charity style 5kms or anything. So i guess that makes the desire for people to have something to show for it that much stronger. I think (some) people also tend to expect bigger, chunkier, flashier etc medals. Buckles seem to be the in thing for 100 milers.

What are your thoughts? probably a bit of a slim demographic here again, as i guess most are in the camp of hording scores of the things somewhere.

Has anyone come across anything a little more unique or interesting. We’re not fussed on the little wooden ‘cookie cutter’ discs, but would be open to a more ‘eco’ solution.

What do you RD types do for your races? Any other thoughts would be more than welcome.


Beer tankard or coffee cup. Something you can actually use.


I know it is not what your asking but I just like a good medal. I get the time etched on a tag to stick on the back then sure I put them in a drawer but at some point, just like the thread on here a while back its nice to have a look at them & see how you did.
What I absolutely wouldn’t want (sorry FatPom) is a tankard or similar that is just tat that takes up space.

I’d agree with tankard/coffee cup, though I wonder if something like that being bulky might be problematic.

I did the Todmorden Sprint Tri a few times a couple of years ago (eek… 7+) and they gave us slate coasters that I use a lot more than any other finisher’s prize.

Same with the Snowdon marathon many, many years ago, they may still give them out but a lot more useful than a medal

I bin all my medals. I got a snood at one race which was cool as I use that a lot. And the Ballbuster hoody of course which is a) warm b) really comfy.

My brother got a pork pie at one local running race which is class. I’d appreciate that much more than a medal. For a 100 could you give them 100 pork pies?


I quite like the medal actually.

Did get a branded thermos style flask at the Fred Whitton a few years ago

Or maybe go really old school and gve the winner a ewe and a lamb or something. Ewe for 2nd and a lamb for 3rd! haha!

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Demographics is your keyword here - who is taking part?

Some demographics will like medals, t-shirts, or buckles - I’m in whatever demographic that doesn’t wear any of that, I’m more “office dad” I guess; cuff links, pin, those cock-rings-for-your-arm, hell even socks would be more welcome.

No joke - I’ve won a free range turkey, a ham and a salmon in other sporting events. So you celebrate your win with a family meal :+1:

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What Fat Pom said. I love my Cotswold 226 mug. It has to be quality though; I will be in mourning when this breaks. But I do like a nice mug.

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Some medals are getting more and more ridiculous, I completely agree. But I can’t think of an alternative I’d want cluttering up the place, and I do know a lot of people who like their bling. You would get mixed reactions to an alternative I reckon.

I quite like the coaster idea. A coaster made of an eco material relevant to the event, with a hole in the top - and if they want a string / ribbon they can have one. Dual purpose!

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That’s the issue @joex you get such a range at these events. Serial racers that run 3/4/5 100’s a year, to people that will see a 50km run as the absolute pinnacle in their athletic pursuits. both will likely view the answer very differently. That’s why it’s so hard to get it right i think.

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Bala triathlon have towels out. EPIC.
I still have mine.

Chester Tri gave out Buffs. Brilliant.

TriTalkMan did the best quality hoody I think I’ve ever owned. It’s over a decade old and still has zero holes and the elastic hasn’t snapped.
Ashby 20 also used to do hoody’s (but they were sponsored by Aldi, before Aldi was cool…so…)

Big Cow gave out reusable hot drink cups for your car/commute.

But, I’d rather just pay less and get nothing.
I do like the gels and bars you get given.
I’d be sad if I didn’t get them

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I still have a towel from Canberra HIM in 2007. getting a bit thin!

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A couple of events I have got a Towel, much more useful than a T-Shirt

Local 1000m Hill Climb TT gave us a chopping board, local cheese and a bottle of local beer - still use the chopping board

Like the idea of a cup or tankard

Perhaps, and I assume economies of scale are the limiting factor, offer two or three options; T-shirt, buff or pint glass, whatever covers the main demographics?

You can’t please all the people all of the time, but half the people half the time…I think Bob Dylan said Abraham Lincoln said something like that.

Oh and whatever it is, not made of plastic :wink:

Most of the events giving out t-shirts, buffs etc, are also giving out medals at the finish line. It’s hard to get away from a medal or equivalent (coaster, buckle) for the people that want a keep sake.

I did an event once that involved a lot of beach running, and the trophies were beach pebbles, varnished and mounted. Sad I didn’t win one of those. On the eco-theme, I did get a re-usable coffee cup from one event this year, but it’s not great tbh. ‘Useful’ items need to be top quality or they are just going to get dumped. Hence why medals and t-shirts prevail as they are cheap.

I like a nice matching collection of glasses and mugs, so if I get one of those, they go in the bin.

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How about setting up a “wedding” list at John Lewis? Each race could buy another glass or piece of cutlery until you have a set…?

Actually there’s probably something in that.

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