Invisible medals become a running joke as 10km competitors brand the move ‘woke tokenism’ 

Invisible medals become a running joke as 10km competitors brand


Gone in a flash! Invisible medals become a running joke as 10km competitors brand the move ‘woke tokenism’

  • Running club said the 650-strong race will feature ‘unique’ and ‘invisible’ medals
  • One participant in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, said medal has been tradition of the race
  • Organisers said they want to be greener and not import the medals from China 










Charity run organisers have been accused of ‘woke tokenism’ by offering ‘sustainable invisible’ medals.

Runners completing the 10km event in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, usually get metal alloy medals. 

But the town’s Striders running club, which organises it, said that for its next event on January 2 – with 650 runners – ‘our unique medals will be invisible’.

Finishers will receive sports shop vouchers but one participant, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Runners love getting a T-shirt and a medal at the end of an event – it’s one of the traditions of running events.

‘This sounds like a bit of woke tokenism to me.’ 

Another said: ‘The idea of being more sustainable is good. But runners, like me, do love a medal.’

Runners completing the 10km event in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, usually get metal alloy medals. But the town's Striders running club, which organises it, said that for its next event on January 2 ¿ with 650 runners ¿ 'our unique medals will be invisible' (file photo)

Runners completing the 10km event in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, usually get metal alloy medals. But the town’s Striders running club, which organises it, said that for its next event on January 2 – with 650 runners – ‘our unique medals will be invisible’ (file photo)

Organiser Dean Ovel admitted the move was controversial but said the club no longer wanted to use metal medals made in – and shipped from – China.

The event was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19.

This year’s run was due to take place last month but was also affected by the pandemic.

It will now happen on January 2, when 650 people will take part.

The club’s website revealed the runners, who will cover three loops of Leigh-on-Sea, will have to wear environmentally-unfriendly headtorches, which run on batteries, ‘because, to add a little more uniqueness, our race is held after sunset’.

Mr Ovel said: ‘Rather than the medals, which are manufactured from metal and made in China with the shipping, we’ve gone away from that, controversially.

‘We want to give the runners something that will firstly be worthwhile to them, rather than hanging on a wall or just stick in a box.

Finishers will receive sports shop vouchers but one participant, who asked not to be named, said: 'Runners love getting a T-shirt and a medal at the end of an event ¿ it's one of the traditions of running events' (file photo)

Finishers will receive sports shop vouchers but one participant, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Runners love getting a T-shirt and a medal at the end of an event – it’s one of the traditions of running events’ (file photo)

‘We’re hoping to give a voucher for our partner, RunActive. Then they have something to spend in the shop or online.’

In a statement announcing the revised awards, Leigh-on-Sea Striders said: ‘After 11 years of running this even we are taking a more sustainable approach and, among many other aspects, our unique medals will be invisible.

‘Instead, we will have something a little more useable for everyone who crosses the line.’

The run, which has raised more than £30,000 for charities since it was first held, will support Cardiac Risk in the Young and Southend Hospital this year.



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