Race Medal Personalization—Beyond the Norm…


Back when I was in high school and had a letter jacket, my parents always took my medals to Alberti’s in West Allis, Wisconsin, to get sewn on. If you know anything about West Allis, Alberti’s is just what you would expect—-a local trophy and award shop that is always kind of in disarray, doesn’t have a website, but has been opened for years and operates efficiently, with great prices and excellent service. When I started running road races in university, I wanted my medals to be engraved with my finishing time. Alberti’s did that too!

Below is an image (best I could take) of a mess of my early medals with the times engraved. Alberti’s charges about $3 or less per medal. They are very clear and aligned!

This was fine for my first 7 medals. These were all races I ran back home while in the Midwest. Thing is, I moved to Alberta in late 2008 and still continued doing races. As I completed these races I would take a piece of masking tape, stick it to the back, and put the time on it. I had been in Alberta for about three years when I decided to try and find my own Alberti’s here in Lethbridge. I did some research, found a trophy store, and headed over. They seemed so confused on why I wanted them to do this, and did not even have a standard price to give me! I know the amount they quoted per medal was around $8 each, and many depended on the surface they would engrave on. The thing that threw them the curveball was this beauty below:

Only in Calgary would the full marathon medal be a belt buckle. It always is. And it’s awesomely ridiculous. Anyway, this shop that won’t be named said their machine could not do the curve of the buckle. I left beaten and unsure what to do. Will my medals ever be engraved?

Fast forward to the next time my mom visited. Well, lets say her suitcase was a bit heavier on her way back to Wisconsin, as she was taking the medals back with her. A few months later during my next trip home, there were my medals, all engraved. Even the belt buckle! (I know it’s very hard to see in the picture with the glare, but below the date is my god-awful time from that race. Mountain elevation caused major upsets in my stomach that day!)

Now, I have my collection of medals I have been getting so far this year. As I am typing this today, I message my mom for the Alberti price information….she warily answered, and then asked “are you telling me I have to bring more medals home in July?” (She is coming out to visit on Saturday for a month). No, I won’t do that to her this trip…I am just going to wait until I go home next and bring home quite the box myself!

What have I decided to do while I wait for all my medals to be engraved? My future step is to have a display built in the guest bedroom for the medals to hang nicely—-many online shops make these, and so do sellers on Etsy. I am opting to have my husband build me one with reclaimed lumber. There will be pictures when that is done, but probably won’t be until landscape season is over, as that’s when he will have time to make it to my specifications! Until then, I decided to start embroidering my times on the ribbons of the medals. Sure, my earliest medals already are engraved, but by embroidering the time in you can visibly see it as it hangs. And since I haven’t been able to run since my Septoplasty surgery, I had some time to kill and decided to go back to my Girl Scout arts and craft roots.




To quote my husband, after he saw my first medal I embroidered “that looks a lot better than I expected!” I’ll take that as a compliment!




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