Ever wonder how race directors come up with their awesome medal ideas? Michelle Kempton shares the stages– including the initial sketches.

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The difference between a standard finisher’s medal and spectacular race bling is creativity. This requires imagination. Of course, having artistic ability is an asset.

I have a lot of ideas, but unfortunately I can’t draw. Luckily, we have talented artists who volunteer in the pirate crew.

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One of the exciting features at Maritime Race Weekend is that ten runners win a pair of Brooks sneakers when they cross the finish line. In order to be fair, it’s important to us that this prize is given at random. A runner will know whether they won the prize when they get their medal.

When distributing the medals, volunteers don’t know which are the winners. If they win, they see a message hidden inside. We’ve had a treasure chest, a pocket watch and this year, we have a “message in the bottle.” When the medal opens, the message that every runner sees says “Run Happy” — but ten medals will have a red sneaker indicating that they won.

As a double-race weekend, we also require two other medal designs. These will have spinners celebrating our five-year anniversary and encouraging pirates to “GO EAST.” Check out the design sketches for this year’s medal!

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