Everything from my waist down was in agony. And for the past three hours the sun had been shining down on me unforgivingly. So much for the rain that was forecast. As I reached the finish line I could see hundreds of recent finishers swarmed on either side, their medals winking in the sunshine. And, disregarding the pain in my feet as much as I could, I pushed myself into a sprint to cross the last marker measuring my first marathon. Because I really wanted to get one of those medals. And when I bowed down to let the race official place the medal around my neck I beamed, admiring the weight and the shine of the piece. “Wow, I wonder if PinMart could make something like this,” was almost my first thought. Go figure.
Last weekend I ran my first marathon, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It was easily one of the most challenging, craziest things I’ve ever done. But also one of the most rewarding. And it seemed like everyone was running with some sort of talisman or charm. I saw people with medals from previous marathons. Runners with cancer awareness pins attached to their hydration belts. I even saw two members of the military running in full fatigues, complete with their military pins jangling across their chests. Personally, I made sure to attach the winged shoe pin given to me by my PinMart coworkers to my sneaker. I’d look down at it now and then and see it glint up at me and know that I had people cheering me on all the way back in snowy Chicago.
And after everything was said and done, all of us who ran, regardless of why or for whom, left with the same beautiful medal around our necks. The next day I saw many people sporting these pieces, and t-shirts and pins and hats, and I was too, and we would nod and smile, shout congratulations at each other and it was almost as cool as the event itself. We’d all been running for our unique purposes the day before, but in the aftermath we all had the marathon in common. And a really cool memento to remind us of our accomplishment.
If any of you have done something like run a marathon, or participated in an event that you worked hard for, and got something like a medal, pin, or other award, I’d love to hear about it!