Well, I’m going to answer this question straightaway with a huge resounding “No”!!! You see, I’m discovering that there’s an international community of thousands of people working towards challenges through walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling and much more, and I’d love to tell you about this.
How did you discover medals, Erika?
Back in February when I weighed 329 lbs, I couldn’t walk more than 100 metres without being puffed out. Part way into this weight loss journey, I pushed myself to do Couch to 5K and in fact completed nearly all of it whilst morbidly obese. But I wanted something to celebrate my achievement, something tangible and I discovered this beauty below. But I’ve now also discovered there are LOTS more medals out there!
What medals are there?
So, yes, there are medals for real events like running marathons, etc. However, I’m discovering virtual events where you use your phone or tracking device to progress through predetermined routes, such as walking the Inca Trail in Peru, walking Route 66, walking 160 km to Mount Everest base camp, etc. Once you’ve achieved the distance, you submit your evidence and, whoop, a shiny medal drops through your letter box. My favourite websites are My Virtual Mission (I LOVE their medals), Virtual Racing UK and Ace-Races UK. But a word of warning…they’re addictive!
How does working towards a medal help?
For me, I love a target. Something to aim for. Something I can achieve. I’m not just exercising for the sake for it and some websites/apps actually show you how far you are along the route, sending you virtual postcards, etc. Like on My Virtual Mission, I can see where I am on the map but there’s also a brilliantly supportive Facebook group. Tonight, I’ll be covering some more distance as I work towards my next medal. It’s much cheaper than going to a gym!
Which ones have you got to far and which ones are you planning?
So far, I’ve got medals for Couch to 5K, 50 miles of running in July, 100 miles of running in August, a 31 day challenge through August where I was set daily fitness challenges, the width of the English Channel (34 km which is below), the Inca Trail (42 km) and Hadrian’s Wall (165 km). I also got a medal for walking 5km along a local route that I’d been too unfit to even try. When I accomplished it, I deliriously jumped onto the app and claimed the medal straightaway!
I’m currently working towards a 290 km New Zealand-based walk and, separately, a 160 km Mount Everest one. In under 5 weeks, I’ll be running the official 2020 Virtual London Marathon that will result in a medal (hopefully!)….and so many more.
Once I have quite a collection, I’ll share lots of photos! Some medals are coming from the US so it’ll take a bit of time but who doesn’t like something shiny! I might even put a ‘wall medal holder’ on my birthday present list. Get me, I love working out!
Love Erika xx