Race Medal Engraving

by Stephanie on March 27, 2012 · 1 comment

in Gear & Equipment

This post is kind of a rant though not a super angry one.  It’s just something that I thought of again recently due to all of my recent talk of race medals.

Twice I’ve run a half marathon.

Twice I got a totally cool medal.

Twice I chose to pay extra money to have my name and finishing time engraved on the back of that medal.


I’m not even kidding.  I have never heard of this happening to anyone else and it happened to me twice in one year.  What is that??

For those of you who haven’t had a medal engraved it is usually a booth at the post-race party that does it for a fee of about $15ish (I think, my memory doesn’t serve me well on the exact price).  The people at the booth can look up your finishing time by your bib number and engrave your medal while you wait.

At the Seattle half I didn’t know my official time until later when I looked on the website so I didn’t question the time they engraved on my medal.  But it doesn’t match that official website time.  Nope.  It was off by 9 seconds.

At the Disney Wine & Dine half I went up to the engraving booth with my 3 friends that also ran.  The guy actually wrote down my time correctly.  I watched him because of what happened in Seattle.  Then, feeling relieved, I went to sit down and had my friends wait for the medals without me because I was in so much pain.  The next morning I noticed that despite writing down the right time, they engraved the time wrong!  Only on my medal.  My friends all had their correct times on their medals.  This time it was off by 55 seconds.

Now, I don’t know if they could have fixed this if I’d caught it while still at the post-race party.  Once engraved, I’m pretty sure you can’t un-engrave.  Maybe they have a way to handle this though?  I’d be curious if anyone knows.

Needless to say I’ve drafted numerous strongly worded letters to these engraving companies in my head.  In the grand scheme of things this is not the end of the world.  But when you work hard for something and you pay to have your accomplishment documented, you want it documented correctly!

I know I’ll continue to have medals engraved from time to time because I like being able to look at them and see my (approximate :-\ ) time.  I figure my luck has to change and eventually they’ll get the correct time on one of my medals, right?

Has this ever happened to you or anyone else you know?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

EJ April 3, 2014 at 3:40 PM

I know this is an old post, but I was looking for information on medal engraving and found your site first, making me wonder if diy isn’t a better option… then I found an instructable on it that I plan on using to engrave my own medals. From online sites it looks like they want to charge between $10 (USD) and $20 a medal, and the $10 is just for a dumb sticker with your info on it (though you could use that to fix your old “incorrect” medals. For the cost of 2 engraved medals, you can buy your own engraving tool, and you’re less likely to put the wrong time on (since you’re not trying to do the same thing for hundreds of exhausted, cranky, waiting people at the same time). Anyway, figured I’d share. Here’s the site: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-do-engraving-easy-and-make-it-look-decent/ Happy racing!


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