Show ‘Em Your Rack, A Tutorial

A while back, I posted about my plan to make a medal rack and share it with you, and this weekend, the planets finally aligned to allow me the time to get my craft on. Of course, there are a few things that always make DIY projects better.

Things like a snowy morning.


And Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy.

So, now that we’re all in agreement on that, let’s proceed, shall we? Here’s what you’ll need for this project:



Wood plaque of your choice                                            Chalkboard Paint                                                        Magnetic Clips

Primer                                                                                       2 Coat Hooks                                                                 Aluminum or Tin Strip

Paint Tinted color of your Choice                                Picture Frame Hook and Nails


Hammer                                                                                  Ruler                                                                              Level

Pencil                                                                                       Marker                                                                           Sandpaper or Sanding Block

Drill  or Screwdrivers                                                       Painter’s Tape                                                             Bristle Paintbrush

Foam Tip Paint Brush                                                      Fine Tipped Paint Brush for Touching Up


Step 1: Using a fine grit sandpaper or sanding block, lightly sand any rough areas on your wood piece. Pay attention to edges and corner in particular.

Step 2: Using a piece of paper, make a template for your chalkboard area to help you decide where you want it on your plaque. Once you have decided on placement, mark the corners with a pencil.

Step 2

Step 3: Using a ruler and pencil, outline the desired area. Make sure your lines are straight and centered. Tape off the inside of your area with painters tape. Later you will paint the inside of your rectangle with chalkboard paint.


Step 4: Paint your plaque with primer. Be careful not to get any in the taped off area. Let dry.


Step 5: Paint over the primer with your tinted paint. Let dry.


Step 6: Paint a second coat of your colored paint. Once it’s dry, remove the painter’s tape.


Step 7: Tape off the painted area around your chalkboard area. Paint the bare wood with two coats of primer. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly, and sand lightly between coats. This will help ensure a smoother writing surface once the chalkboard paint is applied.


Step 8: Apply two coats or chalkboard paint, allowing each coat to dry completely between coats.


Step 9: After the chalkboard paint is dry, remove the tape. Touch up any areas with a small tipped paint brush if needed.


Step 10: Affix the tin strip (or pieces, as the case may be). Decide where you want your bibs to hang, and using a pencil, outline the strip. Nail in place. I had some tin tiles laying around my house, and used tin snips to cut them to the desired shape and size.

tin Collage

Step 11: Affix the picture frame hanger on the back. First, find the center of your plaque and mark it with a pencil. Then, find the center of the hanger and mark it with a marker. Next, align the two marks and nail your hanger to your plaque.

hanger collage

Hanger Collage 2

Step 12: Affix your medal hooks. Decide where you want them to go, and mark the screw holes with a pencil. It’s easier to start the holes using a drill and a bit. Using the hardware that came with your hooks, attach them to your plaque.


hook Collage

Step 13: Celebrate because YOU ARE DONE. And you rock! All that is left to do is hang your new medal rack. Then, attach your bibs to the clips and hang your bling from the hooks. Look how awesome you are!

I had my magnetic clips a little crooked in this shot, but you get the idea.

I had my magnetic clips a little crooked in this shot, but you get the idea.

finished Collage


I am loving how this project turned out. Now, I just need more medals to hang from it!

How do you display your medals? Have you made your own rack, or anything else, for that matter? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Show Us Your Medals!

Ahhhh, medals: the tangible evidence of completing a race. They are the proverbial icing on the cake of months of hard work and training for a race.

This past week I reached out via Facebook (our own and the Run Blog Society community page) and Twitter, asking people to share pictures and stories of their favorites. And wow, did people answer the call! To quote the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

So without further ado…


Kyle at An Accidental Optimist.

“The first one is a fave because it’s a horseshoe. You can’t get much cooler than that. The Amish made it. I ran the Bird-in-Hand half with Vic. Good times all around!

The second one is because it’s from MY FIRST MARATHON, Philadelphia 2013.”


Michele at A Pace of Balance.

“This is from the Nation’s Triathlon which I completed September 2013.  It was an Olympic distance and was my first tri since 2003 BC (before children)… so really, it was my first tri.

I loved this race for many reasons.
1) I did the race with my sister and in fact, it was her birthday/Christmas/Mother’s Day gift to me.  She guided me through the whole thing.

2) The course. Washington DC. Need I say more?

3) I felt like a bit of an underdog.  I didn’t decide to do the race until about 8 weeks out.  I am an avid runner, but I had to really improve on the bike.  If you see my bike in the pic, you’ll notice it’s a hybrid and not a fancy road bike like the majority of the people had at the race.  It was my mommy bike which I converted into a race bike by getting rid of the baby seat, slapping on some cage pedals, and installing a speedometer.  Boom.  Someone actually said to me during the race “Girl, you are killing it on that bike of yours!”.  And I was.  I kept up with the seasoned crowd.  I finished in 3:01, which I think is pretty good for a first timer.  To me, the medal is a reminder that I should never sell myself short and we are always capable of more than we realize.”


Ruth at The Run and I couldn’t pick just one – so she sent along a handful of these awesome medals!


Julie at Run. Walk. FASTPASS. Repeat.

“Jost Running was looking for running bloggers to  review their Virtual Race Medals as they launched their business last year.  Each month an new medal came out for that month’s race. I was amazed at the detail and “pop” in their virtual race medals. I was not a fan of Virtual Races when I signed on, as I live in a big city with PLENTY of race opportunities, BUT I loved the idea of running the race my day, at my time, my route – and getting my bling in the mail.  I am German and yes I love beer. The Oktoberfest Medals just made me smile…who can’t use another bottle opener.  Seriously, my favorite medals in looks. Fun designs and a great reward for long training runs especially when you have a hard time getting out the door.  They converted me to a fan of the Virtual Race.”


April at Run the Great Wide Somewhere.

“I traveled alone to the race [Space Coast Half Marathon], but felt strong and got a PR.  The course was gorgeous, all the runners were friendly and polite and it was very well organized.  And the medal is so beautiful and sparkly and has a space shuttle on it!”


Meredith at Just An Ordinary Girl in FL.

“The Dumbo Double Dare race medal hold the number one spot. Not only was this an inaugural race, but also represented a huge accomplishment for me in completing 19.3 miles in 2 days!”


Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!

“I had a longtime goal to do a triathlon by age 40, and with 3 kids and a more-than-full-time-job, I did it. And I loved it!” [Athleta Iron Girl]


Summer at Running with Pixies.

“My favorite medal is the 2013 Princess half marathon medal. Even though it was my third time running Princess, and my 5th half marathon, there was something about that race that clicked and made me realize that regardless of my finish time I was, in fact, a real runner.”


Sue at This Mama Runs for Cupcakes.

“The Marine Corp marathon medal is my favorite because it is the medal from my very first marathon! A lot of hard work and time spent away from my kids for this!”


Jennifer at Rescuing and Running.

“Wine Glass Marathon, Corning, NY is a fabulous weekend getaway in the beautiful fingers lakes region of NY!  It was a wonderful girls weekend of awesome regional food, wineries, glass art,  and a beautiful 26.2 mile run through rural NY countryside.

The medal, which is actually glass, is handmade  by a local Corning glass artist. It is beautiful and very unique! In addition to the awesome finishers medal, the race swag is top notch. We got a great drawstring back sack, a good technical long sleeve tee, wine glass, and  a small bottle of Champagne made and labeled specifically for the weekend.  The course was beautiful with many supporters along the way. The post marathon food options is the best I have ever seen with offerings of pizza hot out of an oven, several hot soups, sandwiches, cookies, fruit, bagels, chocolate milk! I cannot say enough about this wonderful regional marathon.”


Sara at The Classy Crafter.

“Six months of training all boiling down to one race and truly figuring out what your body is capable of.” [Walt Disney World Marathon]


Lisa at Lulu’s Big Adventure.

“This medal is from the Canada Army Run Half Marathon, which I ran in September 2013. Not only do I love that they created a dog-tag medal in the army spirit, but this race was special to me. I knocked over twenty-five minutes off my last half marathon time, and I came in well under my goal of 2 hours. I was really nervous about how I was going to do at this race, since I am incredibly injury prone and trained in the stifling Brazilian heat all summer. So, when I had such a wonderful race experience and achieved such a big PR, it was a special moment for me.”

So there you have it, our second installation of “my favorite medal”! You can check out the first post, from Vic, here.

I love seeing the different favorites that were sent and also hearing the logic behind why each person loved their favorites the most. You’ll notice that we had no repeats – so many different races and reasons! Many thanks to all those who shared. You rock!

What’s your favorite medal? Link us to a blog post or pictures in the comments so we can check them out.