Medals for Mettle

By Kim Welk

As an active endurance athlete, I toe the line several times throughout the year and with most races comes a medal, a shirt and many times a hat or other token of the event. For all of us, each race that we participate in carries a different reason. Our “why.” And the tokens at the time carry an amazing value. Over time, the pile of tokens grows and we eventually come to a time when we have medals hanging from lampshades and hooks throughout the house, a drawer overflowing with shirts and more hats than a person could wear in a lifetime. Does this sound like your house?

This December, I was introduced to an organization called Medals 4 Mettle. This organization accepts donated ½ marathon, marathon and triathlon medals, affixes a new M4M ribbon to the medal, and “joyfully awards them to children and adults who must run a much more difficult race as they struggle to save their lives. These medals are awarded to honor the mettle and courage it takes to face the challenges of the race we all share together: the HUMAN RACE.”

The introduction to Medals 4 Mettle could not have happened at a better time. I have spent a good portion of the fall sorting through my home, donating, selling and clearing out many of these tokens that I have held onto “just in case.” Medals were something I had left untouched to this point as I knew there were places to donate but hadn’t investigated the process to do it. Committed to deliver my medals to the Colorado dropoff site, I decided to not only pass on my own but run a drive, as many of the people that I am connected to have a similar “medal problem” around their homes.

As I gathered my medals together today, it provided a walk down memory lane. I have opted to hold onto some of my medals awarded for my accomplishments over the years. A finish line or a distance that I never thought possible. Celebrations of firsts. My first ½ marathon (boy was that a crazy story), my first marathon, my first 70.3, my first Ironman and many other milestones along the way. As I went through the medals and reflected on them, I found myself torn for a few. Do I need to keep them, “just in case?” – what if I want to put together a frame to celebrate the series? The hesitation did not last long when I remembered the vision behind Medals 4 Mettle and embraced the opportunity to share my joy from finishing the event with one of the children or adults who will be honored.

I removed the race ribbons and set aside the medals that I will deliver to the Colorado donation site next week. I will pick up other’s medals in several places over the next few days and hope that our miles and medals will carry onto others. The medals will continue their journey and the memories of the race day, the milestone and the celebration will remain as my journey continues on.

If you would like to donate your medals, here’s how:

Contact me directly to determine a pick up location or visit to find a drop off near you as well as information to ship the medals directly to the organization.

Thank you in advance for your support.

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