interest-free payment plans now available on races

Mon 8 Jun 2020

What's in a medal? The story behind an Impact medal


The medal is recognition.

The medal celebrates the overcoming of new challenges. 

The medal is a symbol of a life changed.

The medal marks the end of the Impact Week.

The medal is the start of a new mindset.

When we started out, we knew that in order to mark the completion of what is likely to be one of the hardest race of each runner’s life, we would need something pretty special. A momento to be treasured, displayed with pride, and that innately tells the story of the community. 

The options for race medals are aplenty. Pitches fly in from factories and medal brokers all around the world, boasting inspired designs and an array of materials from the sleek and modern to the gargantuan badges that carry a weight one could correlate to the challenge the athlete is taking on. The challenge is to sift through the myriad of available options to find one that is: on budget, unique and special for the event and aligns with the company’s values. 

How is a race director to choose? 

The origin story of each Impact medal is different. And, true to Impact fashion, involves an intention, a chance meeting and a unique personality who makes things possible.

In Guatemala, that person is Carlos.  

Our home in Guatemala is the UNESCO World Heritage town of Antigua. A magical grid of cobbled streets, beautiful churches, bustling plazas and volcanic vistas. As foreigners walking the streets to our workspace and our meetings, we were regularly approached by street sellers offering the normal goods popular with tourists - Mayan fabric handbags, wooden flutes and the likes. As this is such a regular occurrence, it rarely warrants more than a ‘no, gracias’ as we go rush on.

But one time, it was different.. Team Impact-er Bex was stood on the famous Avenida 5, just near the yellow arch that is the icon of Antigua, and was approached by a man selling coconut bracelets with hand-carved Christian motifs and symbols. Knowing our challenges with finding the right medal, she asked the man if he might be able to create a custom-made necklace for our runners. And so, our journey with Carlos began.


What ensued was a series of very hastily arranged meetings where Team Impact managed to converse, negotiate and design the Impact medal, communicating with a hybrid of English/ Spanish, multiple sketches and mock-ups and what could loosely be described as “sign language”. Carlos’s  first language was one of the many indigenous languages of the Mayan population in Guatemala. So all parties were patient in the discussion, not sure how this would turn out. Very quickly, a prototype was ready and after a few tweaks we had our medal for the first Guatemala Impact Marathon.

Each one is made by Carlos and his family. Each one is hand-carved from coconut shells. Each one sold contributes to the cost of sending his children to school for the entire year. 

Each year, we return to Avenida 5 and look out for the sun-faded Impact Marathon Cap that Carlos wears with pride throughout the year. As soon as we spot each other, smiles break out and a new order is placed.  

When you return home, and you hang the medal up with the others in your proud collection, that small piece of coconut does not get lost, it doesn’t fit in - it stands out. It stands out as a piece of artistry from the streets of Antigua, it stands out in its simplicity, it stands out. 

The medal is recognition: of what an Impact Week means

The medal is victory over challenges: the toughest race of our lives

The medal is the end of a journey: in Guatemala 

The medal is that start of a new mindset: empowered and inspired

But most of all,

The medal is an opportunity: for Carlos’ children to be educated; for money to be invested into the Guatemalan economy; for a story to be written; for an impact that goes beyond the charitable fundraising; for small, local businesses to thrive, for that little coconut on your wall to be a symbol of what is possible when we replace ‘no, gracias’ with ‘yes, and…’

Related posts


Mon 26 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

impact stories: the power of unity


Thu 22 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

impact stories - desert to oasis: the greening the desert miracle


Tue 20 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

2025 Guatemala Impact Marathon: A Thoughtful Stride into the Future


Fri 16 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

impact stories: how to be powerful


Thu 1 Feb 2024 Nick Kershaw

Empowering Strides: Unveiling the World’s Most Powerful Races in 2024


Wed 27 Dec 2023 Nick Kershaw

Echoes of Impact: A Reflective Journey Through 2023's Races and Beyond


Thu 14 Dec 2023 Nick Kershaw

Petra Reimagined: A Testament to Resilience and Solidarity with Impact Marathon


Thu 7 Dec 2023 Nick Kershaw

Turn a desert green? That's Impossible!


Tue 24 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: The Crevasse


Mon 23 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: From Turning Points to Learning Points


Sat 21 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: How Just ONE Meeting Changes Everything


Fri 20 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: Starting from Zero in Kathmandu


Thu 19 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: The Unfolding Origin of Impact Marathons


Mon 16 Oct 2023 Nick Kershaw

A Bucket-List Marathon: Why Jordan Should Be Your Next Running Destination


Thu 12 Oct 2023 Nick Kershaw

5 Reasons the Nepal Impact Marathon Is More Than Just a Race


Tue 26 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Regenerative Travel and the Nepal Impact Marathon: Running for a Better World


Mon 18 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Why Guatemala Is the Perfect Adventure Destination for U.S. Trail Runners


Thu 7 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Why Team Up For the Guatemala Impact Marathon?


Tue 5 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Running with Purpose: The Synergistic Impact of SERES, Youth Leadership, and the Guatemala Impact Marathon


Thu 31 Aug 2023 Nick Kershaw

Adapting to Tropical Conditions: An Evidence-Based Approach to Training for International Marathons


Tue 29 Aug 2023 Nick Kershaw

A Beginner's Guide to International Marathons: Why Start with Guatemala


Thu 10 Aug 2023 Nick Kershaw

Running with purpose: the Jordan Impact Marathon partners with the Invictus Games Foundation


Fri 14 Jul 2023 Nick Kershaw

Lessons from Love Trails: Celebrating Obsession with Experience Creation in the World of Running Events


Fri 23 Jun 2023 Nick Kershaw

Exploring the Enchanting History of Antigua: Our Home for the 7th Guatemala Impact Marathon


Tue 20 Jun 2023 Nick Kershaw

Run the Extra Mile: Impact Marathons and the Journey to Social Change


Mon 19 Jun 2023 Nick Kershaw

Women on the start line: Integrating SheRaces into our Impact Marathons


Thu 25 May 2023 Dave Melody

Why Impact Marathons are changing the face of global charity events


Wed 18 Jan 2023 Nick Kershaw

ChatGPT wrote a poem about our run in Guatemala...


Wed 21 Jul 2021 Nick Kershaw

One goal to rule them all : A lesson learnt in our pursuit of The Global Goals


Tue 15 Jun 2021

Dropping pebbles, investing in yourself and making an impact


Fri 12 Feb 2021

Introducing: Impact Stories with Nick Kershaw


Fri 12 Feb 2021

Going Green in Malawi: An unexpected challenge


Fri 12 Feb 2021

Impact 101: Conversation with 'We Got The Runs' Podcast


Fri 27 Nov 2020

Ultimate Gift Guide for the Ethical Runner


Mon 2 Nov 2020

How do you create a new race route? Meet the Impact Pyramid


Thu 15 Oct 2020 Dave Melody

4 ways to maximise your impact (that don't involve any running)


Sun 27 Sep 2020

Green World Programme x Impact Marathon


Thu 6 Aug 2020

Impact in 2020: Step sideways, to leap forward


Wed 15 Jul 2020

RunTalkRun x Impact Marathons: Global running movements join forces


Tue 7 Jul 2020

How to be a change-maker - a conversation with the RunTalkRun podcast


Fri 3 Jul 2020

Coach Gabriel's winning culture: How Kenyan world records are made


Wed 17 Jun 2020

Silent Motivations - A conversation with the Evossi Explore Show


Thu 20 Feb 2020

Guatemala Impact Marathon: From dream to reality


Sat 1 Feb 2020

Runners Recipes: Charlie Watson's Avocado Bread


Fri 31 Jan 2020

Impact Runner Stories: Kit Garnett @ Nepal Impact Marathon 2019


Tue 17 Dec 2019

Pablo: The main man of Guatemala Impact

Tue 29 Oct 2019

Kelsang: The unsung hero of Nepal Impact


Wed 2 Oct 2019

Team Impact: Through the eyes of an investor


Mon 9 Sep 2019 Nick Kershaw

It takes a village


Thu 29 Aug 2019

Meet the storytellers


Wed 14 Aug 2019

Why a flash storm in Kenya is exactly what your company needs to thrive


Wed 7 Aug 2019

Team Impact: Through the eyes of our volunteers


Tue 16 Jul 2019

Nepal Impact 2019 to be led by an all-female race director team


Tue 14 May 2019

Building resilience: Permaculture and sustainable development


Mon 4 Feb 2019

4 reasons to run up an active volcano


Tue 8 Jan 2019

MarathonTalk - Martin's trip to Kenya


Wed 26 Dec 2018

The best brands for ethical running gear


Wed 26 Dec 2018



Wed 26 Dec 2018 Nick Kershaw

Asante Sana, Kenya, For the Memories