A little bit of wood a whole lot of meaning

What a joy it is to cross the finish line. You’ve made it through a long and painful journey that pushed you to your utmost limits and as your body cools down your emotions take control and it could be tears or laughter that burst to the surface. The feelings of pride and accomplishment can last days, months or even years but finishers also want something that won’t fade with time, a real solid thing that they can own with pride. Runners want medals. 

There just has to be something that can be worn around the neck for pictures and perhaps the trip home. A prize that can be hung on a wall with all the others that were earned through blood sweat and tears and a tangible thing that will propel them to sign up for more punishment in the future. 

adidas knows the amount of work that is put into finishing an epic run like the adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships. It’s not just a few days of strenuous exercise in the beautiful Alpine region of Gastein/SalzburgerLand, Austria, but also the many months of training, proper nutrition and personal sacrifices that have gotten everyone to the end of the winding paths of this unique team relay trail running event. And so of course, those who finish the race will be justly rewarded with adidas goodies and most importantly, with medals. 

The word medal, in this case, may be a bit misleading as these will not be your typical gold or silver coloured hunks of metal that were almost assuredly made somewhere on the other side of the world. No, these will be as unique as the event itself. 

These awards were hand-crafted from start to finish in the three villages of the Gastein valley. They were made of a beautiful lightweight wood by Rudigier Carpentry from Bad Hofgastein, strung together by cobbler Sonja Mild from Bad Gastein and finished with hand-drawn decorations by local school children from primary schools and kindergartens in Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein. 

Not only are they trophies made with love but they are another important piece in the sustainability of the adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships. The event is in every way possible, sustainable. That doesn’t only mean recycling and taking care of the environment but also using as many local sources and talents as possible. 

Everything was done right here in the Austrian Alps and made with love and a passion that was put in by people who see this as being “their” event. They didn’t only want to create a medal and put a smile on the faces of the trail runners from all across the globe but they created these awards with the purpose of sending a small piece of Gastein home with the 627 competitors from over 45 different countries. 

To put a cherry on top, several of the children who helped create the art on the awards will be at the finish line to greet athletes with a smile and a memento. Both will undoubtedly remain in the memories of those who participate. 

The hard work and dedication that these artists put into making these keepsakes is mirrored by the amazing tenacity of trail runners and at the end of the day, everyone involved from the making to the wearing, can look at these one-of-a-kind finisher trophies and say, “I did that.”