Boston Marathon criticized for marked finisher medals| Trending Viral hub

Cathy Connor loves the Boston Marathon. She loves the camaraderie. She loves the mystique of the event, which dates back to 1897 as the world’s oldest annual marathon. She loves the idea of ​​being able to run the same course that greats like Kathrine Switzerland, Meb Keflezighi and The lime tree.

Ms. Connor, 58, loves the Boston Marathon so much that she has run it nine times. But there’s one thing she and many of her fellow runners don’t love: the redesigned medal, which will be awarded to the 30,000 athletes who finish the 26.2-mile race on April 15.

“It was kind of a disappointment when I saw the photo,” Connor, a graphic designer from Pittsburgh, said in a phone interview. “Why ruin something good? “This is not a turkey trot.”

The new medal bears more than a passing resemblance to versions from previous years. The main image, as usual, is that of a golden unicorn, the old logo of the Boston Athletic Associationmarathon organizing entity.

But the new medal has irritated purists because of one key difference: It was redesigned to include a large banner from Bank of America, the race’s corporate sponsor, along the bottom edge.

“I don’t like that it suddenly seems like it’s the Bank of America marathon,” said George Christopher, 55, of Downingtown, Pa., “and that the Boston Athletic Association barely has anything to do with it.”

The Boston Marathon has been awarding medals to finishers since 1983, a practice many other marathons have since adopted. For the Boston finalists, however, the medal seems especially meaningful. you can not enter Boston on a whim. With few exceptions, you need to have achieved a qualifying time in another marathon or be willing to raise money for a charity.

Plus, the race is tough: lots of hills and the occasional storm. Finalist medals are obtained.

Eve Lanham, 39, hopes to run fast enough in the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon in Las Vegas on Saturday to qualify to run in Boston next year.

“For dedicated marathon runners, Boston is sacrosanct,” Lanham, who lives in San Diego, said in an email. “For someone like me, running Boston will be a huge accomplishment and probably not something I can do regularly. “I want the medal to be of good quality and for the iconic unicorn to appear, not just another advertisement for a big bank as the main focal point.”

Bank of America is in its first year as title sponsor of the race, after a 38 year career by John Hancock, a Boston-based insurance company. And the bank wasted no time in making a significant change, as it is the first time a corporate logo has appeared on the front of the medal.

After local television news about the production of the new medals transmitted in February, a thread on reddit captured the general mood: “Nausea!” one person wrote.

A few weeks later, those responsible for the marathon posted a photo of the medal on Instagram. But if they were expecting praise for their commitment to sustainability (the medals and ribbons are made from recycled materials), they miscalculated. The comments section was a grease fire. Reactions ranged from “extremely disappointed” to “very sad.” The trash can emoji was used liberally.

“The BAA understands how much a finisher’s medal means to Boston marathoners,” a spokesperson for the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement, adding: “Just as they have for decades, we feel participants will wear them with pride and will appreciate them in the future. getting to the finish line”.

Bank of America representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

In October, Ms. Lanham led the Chicago Marathon, which is also sponsored by the bank. But the medal for that race, he said, was “much more tastefully done,” with the brand name at the top in a comparatively modest font.

Christopher, who ran Boston in 2020 as a pandemic-era virtual race, said he was excited to take on the race for real later this month. He also understands the collective frustration over the new medal. He has one of another breed that was manufactured by the same company.

“It’s a wonderful medal,” he said. “The Boston medal has looked a certain way for a while, though, and I think everyone was eager to get one that looked like that.”

Ms Connor, who ran her first marathon at age 39 and has finished 37 since, understands better than most the hard work involved. Last weekend, she completed her last long run (21 miles) before her 10th Boston Marathon. Is the new medal disappointing? Sure.

“Because it’s always about money,” he said.

But a piece of recycled metal with a major brand on it won’t dampen his enthusiasm, he said, and he hopes to run many more marathons, including one in France, the Médoc Marathonwhere athletes get a different prize: glasses of wine at each refreshment station.

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