Below, from left to right, are the medals from the 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013 A1A Half Marathon.
Notice a trend?
They seem to be adopting an American favorite: Bigger = better.
I'm not necessarily gonna transform this post into a Grumpelstilskin rant about how the world isn't as great now as it used to be, but I'll be honest, I kinda want to stand at the end of a driveway and throw empty beer cans at this most recent medal. It's just so...obnoxious.
Not to mention, inaccurate (there are no seahorses to be found off Ft. Lauderdale's coast).
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing that race medals aren't totally rad. You finish a race, and you want something to display that says, "BOOM! I killed it!" Medals, thus, are a wonderful, tangible symbol of a runner's accomplishment.
But...I don't think a GIGANTOR medal validates the experience more than the regular-sized race medals of yore (equally, I don't think a bigger diamond on an engagement ring means that that couple's love is better than any other couple's; the symbolism is the same -- and don't get me off topic about that because I could, for sure, take a looooooong detour about how diamonds in and of themselves have zero symbolism; it's the ring that shoulders the symbolic weight of "eternity" -- anyhoo, so much for "not getting off track").
Disney has always had their trademark character medals, which are famously large and intricate, but Disney is a fantasyland, and their races seek to continue a fantasy atmosphere in their design, so big ole medals make sense for those venues, and you expect to pay a little more* for that experience.
But, I've observed that in the last few years, race medals in general seem to be racing each other for Disney-fication and one-upmanship. To the point that I think they're starting to get absurd. The progression of A1A medals point to this evolution.
Below, is the back of the 2008 medal (which is a seashell -- fitting). Cool, right?
It's a nice, unique looking medal.
In 2010, they modified the original by making the shell open to display the interior info and design that was on the back of the original:
Ok. A cool idea and still not a Hulk of a medal.
I liked the flip flops from 2012 (only pictured in the first pic at the top), but I said last year to Jerry that it weighed "as much as Caleb." Also, notice how the 2012 ribbon suddenly got upgraded and fancified.
Which then leads into 2013's Monstro, which essentially combines a few qualities from the previous medal ideas into one: Hugeness, opening center, and a fancy ribbon.
So, the original medal got bastardized into this ostentatious sumbitch that weighs as much as Norah and Caleb combined; it's so heavy around the neck, I immediately removed it because it felt like I'd just been noosed with an albatross.
I'll grant that the design is pretty and the concept is cool...HOWEVER, how much does a mutha like this cost to manufacture?
Because, I for one (and, I may be the minority here), would rather a cheaper, smaller, more subtle medal and also pay a wee bit less in my entrance fee. (I'd also opt out of a shirt for a more affordable race fee). I want my race fees to go to the stuff that matters to me as a runner: Refreshment, safety, and porta potties. And, I'd be willing to pay less for fewer frills.
Or, at least, I'd like the a la carte option (like Bolder Boulder does).
Geez, never mind my prologue about avoiding being a Grump on this topic; looks like Grump snuck in despite my best efforts. Guess it's time to go buy some beer and get ready to yell at kids to "stay off my lawn!"
*Disney is getting redonkulous with their race fees. I wanted to run their Tower of Terror 10 Miler in October, but Christ on Crutches, do you know what the entry fee is? $135! That, to me, is a jaw-dropping fee. If the race were half that cost, I'd have registered as soon as I got the heads-up email; as it is, I think I'll skip it.