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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To Give or not to Give

There are many issues and problems arising from the just concluded TNF 100 in Singapore. One of them was the issue of whether to give the finisher's medal to runners who did not meet the cut off timing.
Photo from one of the albums in somebody's facebook account
One of the rules state: "only runners that finish the race within the cut-off times will be entitled to a finishers’ medal". So a runner was peeved when medal were given to everybody who completed the race regardless of their timing. So the question is, what is the rule for if it is not to adhere to?". Another runner chipped in that the gesture devalue the worth of completing the race as anybody can just walk the entire race and "earn" the medal + bragging rights. This is not unlike the perpetual debate on the finisher's tee that is given out after major race.

Does giving out the medal to everybody cheapen the race for the others who truly worked hard to earn it? 

From the organiser point of view, it make sense for them to give it away. After all, the medals have already been made and they can't recycle it for the next year so they might as well give it away instead of dumping them. For the runners who get it despite finishing after the cut off, at least there is a little memento to take away from the race. After all, the TNF 100 is a grueling race regardless of the distance and anybody who completes deserved a pat on the back right?

Does this devalue the race? Does this give the finisher bragging right? I don't think so. Unlike a finisher tee, nobody (or at least anybody I know) goes around wearing a finisher medal to show off that they complete a race. However, there are many people who goes round signing up for races with no intention of "racing" and just want to get their hand on the finisher tee for the bragging rights. Some of them will even just buy the finisher tee just to wear it to show off.  

I remembered when I was in Macau last year and saw the runners who returned after the cut off walking away empty handed. No finisher towel, no medal. The look on their face said it all. After all the hard work, to go away empty handed, what a bummer! So I support the giving of the Finisher Medal but not Finisher tee to everybody who finish a race regardless of their timing. But of course, the results will have to reflect that they DNF. That is only fair.

What say you?


  1. This is a no brainer question. Of course to give. Otherwise, dump into dustbin meh? But I know there are people who cheong so fast to finish and they are unhappy these runners who failed to meet the cut-off, also got the medal... Why bother? Just concentrate on your achievement and be happy. :)

  2. next time give medal with timing printed on it lor. maybe can bring an engraving machine to race site to do it on the spot.


  3. Hi Mark, I like the suggestions. Although I don't know how they can do it if they can't even get the timing right

  4. I think if the organiser has no intention to obey their own rules, then they should do without those rules to start with. What is the meaning of those rules if they are just there for window dressing?

    The event is a race, and a time limit has been set. Those who fail to arrive at the finish line within the time limit should not feel sore about it. The point is, they did finish the race and they can take that great achievement to their graves. Those who can finish the race within the time limit can also be proud of their great achievements, but in accordance with the rule, they get the medals too.

    I don't think this is very much about bragging rights and showing off. If I can successfully accomplish a great feat, e.g. 100km ultra marathon, I would be proud of it and probably would brag about it, even if I can't do it within the time limit. However, doing it within the time limit and getting a medal would be nicer. When everyone can get the medal, then it is no longer precious. So, yes, I would see that as a devaluation.

    The issue of the left-over medals is a separate matter all together.

    Just my 2 cents.

  5. why can't they just start to make medals only after completion of race? folks can collect both medal & finisher together

    or if medals really worthless to some, maybe provides option to choose more useful stuffs like North Face UTMB tees? hehehehe :P

  6. Then people will complain said organiser not efficient cannot give the medal immediately after completion of race and trouble people to have to make a separate trip to collect.

  7. Hi Cornelius, how the training for TMBP coming along? You are right. Hopefully, next year either they amend the rule or abide by it otherwise it makes a mockery of having all these rules.

  8. Hi Tekko,

    I've been neglecting my TMBT training over the last couple of weeks,as I wanted to make sure that I could at least finish the race in Miri last Saturday. However, we have done several jungle trekking trips, so at least we have some idea of how it's like.

    The organiser had recently revealed the race route for the TMBT, and many of us are a bit concerned that we're going up the Crocker Range where the temperature may drop very low, especially during the night. Nothing much we can do about it now. Few more days to go!