What you are looking at here are Spartan Race finishers medals. To be specific, they are Sprint distance medals, dating back to their second ever race – held in Amesbury, MA in the early days of OCR, all the way back in 2010 – a 2011 medal, a 2012 medal and a 2013 medal. Not much changed, other than the backing (dropping the “finisher” text for an iTab slot) and the ribbon becoming color coded.
As many of you reading this know – they added a blue version, for the Super distance events, and a green version for the Beast distance events.
Apart from a few variations along the way, this medal style has looked great on medal holders and pinned to cube walls – especially when displayed alongside the coveted trifecta – a three way split of the colors, indicating you were a member of a pretty neat club and had completed and collected all three.
Like any good brand, Spartan Race are always looking to evolve. They had had overwhelming feedback in previous seasons that there are some pretty significant things that would make the athlete experience better – for example, not running out of trifecta medals at your world championship event, or having more than one finishers T Shirt style available – and I’m sure they are working on those things.
For whatever reason though, they have also decided to spruce up their finishers medals, and over the winter, a couple of different variations were posted – generally to very poor feedback. It’s not broken, don’t fix it. Someone has decided that this needs fixing though, and today they released their final design for the finishers medals in 2014.
The feedback on Facebook, and in the various groups has largely been – once again – poor.
As individual medals, these are not the Spartan Race medals people know. These are not the medals that people were inspired by. They don’t stand alone, as medals to themselves. If you are only able to run a Sprint (and many *many* people only run a single Sprint) – then you will have a 1/3 chunk of a medal. By itself, thats pretty sad.
You also no longer earn a trifecta medal. I guess this is a logistical blessing for Spartan, as they could never stock the trifecta medals properly anyway, but for the athlete pushing outside their comfort zone, they no longer earn anything for it … oh, sure, they could clip their existing medals together … it’s far from the same reward that Spartan has been touting for the past two or three years.
My real concern stems back to – it wasn’t broken, so why fix it? When people have dozens of boring, cheap cotton finishers shirts clogging up their closets, and just want a new style – when people are unable to buy race venue specific shirts because they ran out of stock by 10am Saturday – when trifecta medals are running out at their world championship, then showing up in the mail 2 months later … is a medal redesign *really* the thing to be worrying about?
Paul Jones is the Idea Wrangler for the New England Spahtens and is a frequent contributor for ORM.
*Cover story art by David Moore