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…’