Bibs and Medals from My Running Career

by Lauren E. Carnahan

Bibs and medals have changed over the course of time. Some people hold onto bibs for keepsakes and some just rip the gross buggers off and toss them in the trash as soon as the race is over. Me, I like to look back sometimes and keep them in a binder. In plastic sleeves, as a matter of fact. I know, nerd alert! Or…is it the teacher in me? You can decide. Either way, it’s fun to look back and see what joy or hell was had on that day and what the merch game was too…or lack of. Medals on the other hand, some think they are cool or they just collect dust. Others like more practical things like a t-shirt that everyone else wears or socks that just get dirty with holes in them. All in all, we all like different things and we all have memories attached to our races.


How many bibs do you have and what is the date and name of your first one? Last one?

I’d say I have close to 80 bibs. I know I am missing some of my bibs from early days when I first started racing and my first race. My last bib was from the Thacher Park Trail Running Festival in 2023 (10K).

Has there been a change in the design of the bibs over the years? If so, what changes?

There have been many changes over the years. Some of the first bibs have you attach the chip to your shoe, lack design and color, some are giant, and some are just not very creative. Some races re-use old bibs from other races (not a big fan of that, I can’t remember what race I ran). Over the years, I love how the information is pre-printed on the back, the chip is embedded, the bib doesn’t cover your entire body, and some are creative in style.

Which bib brings back the best memories–why? Which brings back the worst – why?

Bibs that bring back the best memory are probably my Ragnar bibs. I loved running on a team with 11 other women and developing a wonderful friendship and conquering such a great feat of running 200ish miles! And we won the women’s division multiple times!

A bib that brings back the worst, but an empowering memory is Boston 2018. That was my very first Boston and it was pure hell, but guts. It took everything I had to finish. The freezing rain, cold air, and lack of feeling in my body was by far the worst race experience. I still refuse to run in the rain today.


Where do you store them?

I store my medals in my workout room on 2 racks handmade by my dad.

Has there been a change in the medals over the years? If so, what?

There have been some changes over the years. It depends on the race and of course the cost. I like the races where they are handmade out of wood/clay. In my first half marathon, it was a tiny little medal. Today, they are much bigger and heavier.

Which is your first and your last?

My first medal (Saratoga Palio). Last medal (Hudson Mohawk Half 2022)

What prizes or trophies were unique?

My unique prizes/trophies are my gorillas from the Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon at Thacher Park! They are so cool and creative.

What is the most meaningful to you and why?

The most meaningful medal is the Thacher Park Trail Running Festival 50K in 2017- it was my first 50K and I won it overall for the women. It was a true test of patience for me. After that, I continued to run that distance and that race when I was able to.

*Lauren took all the pictures except for the top one that is courtesy of ARE Event Productions


Lauren Carnahan grew up in rural Western New York and now calls the Capital Region home. A member of Willow Street AC, she enjoys running, trail running, cycling, good music, traveling, craft beers, and meeting new people. Outside of running, Lauren holds a BA in Social Studies Education, 7-12, and a MA in Special Education. Additionally, she holds a coaching certificate from the RRCA. Prior to working at the New York State Education Department, Lauren was a Social Studies teacher.




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