//The Anti Medal Establishment

The Anti Medal Establishment

In our experience, finisher medal recipients are likely to fall into one of these three categories:
1. Those who love medals; they are a reason to enter an event and a special, important souvenir.
2. Those who are chuffed when they get handed a medal and then it goes in the “third drawer down” never to be seen again.
3. Those who couldn’t care less about the medal.
The medals, the maths, and the model (of PWYW). 
One of the reasons we never used to have medals for this event was because the event could not afford it. At the volumes we would have been buying, the unit price for medals was around $4.00. That was a cost of $2800-$4000 (for a field size of 700-1000 participants). The event did not even make that much profit. The PWYW Tauranga Half Marathon is, and always will be, a community event. It’s Half Marathon entry fee has gone from $35 to $69 over 10 years. Raising entry fees to cover the production of medals was too risky. Giving away medals was “giving away” the meager income we made.  When we changed to the Pay What You Want model, we had no idea how many people would pay the minimum of $5. We could not support the added financial risk of adding medals to the event. We did consider having medals as a merchandise option and those who would like them could order them at their own cost. Unfortunately that still doesn’t really work with PWYW. If someone has a budget of $50 to enter, they like the idea of a medal for $5, they are then going to pay $45 to enter and order a medal. Either way, we lose $5. Granted, this won’t be the case for everyone but it’s an added risk in an already risky business. (As an aside, we had a number of enquiries last year for branded event tees to purchase – interestingly many of the enquirers had paid the $5 minimum entry fee. Huh).

Anyhoo, maths aside…the big fat elephant-in-the-corner-of-the-room reason why we will continue to not offer finishers medals at our favourite event is that we think they are junk.
Read on below…


We’re all about experiences and not about things.

We phased out Goody Bags many moons ago because we didn’t believe they added true value to the event experience. All they added was the illusion that something tangible, no matter how cheap and useless, was better than nothing. We vehemently disagree.  When you Pay What You Want to enter the PWYW Tauranga Half Marathon you do “get” something. You get the event.

Again, we acknowledge that for a small number of people finishers medals are their thing and they have value for those people. That leaves a large number of people who don’t value what we’d need to spend on their finishers medal and perhaps might appreciate an alternative investment in their event experience.

Did you know there are organisations in the US that collect thousands of kilos of unwanted race medals each year and divert them from landfill? They remove all the ribbons by hand and send them to a textile recycling plant.  All plastic bags, air mailer bags and bubble wrap go to plastics recycling.  Then they sort the medals, most are made with zinc alloys, and take them to a scrap metal plant to be recycled. Thousands of kilos of unwanted race medals! http://sportsmedalrecycling.com/

Did you also know that each mass produced medal comes individually wrapped in plastic? All the way from China.  Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t find a single mass produced medal manufacturer with published environmental or labour rights policies. The lead in times for production and shipping are long, so organisers have to guess how many to produce well in advance of event day.  Guess too many (the logical thing to do to be safe) and you’re effectively adding to the growing medal tally in landfill.

So, there you go. Why we don’t do finishers medals.

If you like to have a souvenir of your achievement, we recommend checking out www.photosales.co.nz where you can PWYW for a professional photo of you being awesome at the PWYW Tauranga Half Marathon. Alternatively, head home, put on a cuppa, and have a great kōrero about your event experience and achievements with the people that care about you, your health and your well-being the most!

Yours sincerely,
The Anti Medal Establishment