If the medal is already spoken for with any of the above options, but you still want to preserve the ribbon, try this: Use the ribbon itself as a lanyard after you remove the medal, and attach a keyring with a clip instead.
5. Transform your medals into coasters.
Here your medal can do double duty, reminding you of your achievement while keeping your post-race recovery beverage from ruining your furnishings.
The Kudos Coaster Plus has a clear snap-on top, multiple colors of foam lining inside, and a raised lip to keep condensation at bay. You can either snip the ribbon off or tuck it underneath before enclosing the medal inside.
Kudos Display Case Coaster
6. Decorate your holiday tree.
Chicago runner Lizbeth Nieves folds the ribbons behind her race medals, then winds threads through the hooks or holes, turning them into ornaments that adorn her evergreen. Just make sure to pick study branches to hold them!
7. Let multiple medals sway in the breeze.
This involves some advanced crafting skills, but if you’re up for a challenge, you can use your medals to make wind chimes.
You’ll want to get something sturdy to secure them to—runners have used a dowel rod or the bottom of an old birdfeeder—and hang them on beading wire or fishing line, close enough to gently clank. (For more comprehensive instructions, check out this article in Austin Fit Magazine.) Or, for a bit of a shortcut, you could add a medal or two to the bottom of an existing wind chime.
8. Sew shirts into a quilt or blanket.
With so many creative, colorful designs, race T-shirts make ideal material for a patchwork quilt (with batting in between layers) or simpler, lighter-weight blankets. Don’t worry if you’re not proficient in stitching. Companies like Keepsake T-Shirt Quilts, MemoryStitch, or Project Repat will design, cut, and sew for you.
9. Create your own reusable tote.
A few quick snips can also transform a race shirt into a sustainable vehicle for your farmers market or grocery-store purchases. This video tutorial shows you how to do it, no sewing required.
10. Put bibs in a flip book.
Order a keepsake running bib holder specifically designed to store them ($25+, Etsy). Or, slide them into the sleeves of a photo album or clip them into a binder—they already have holes for pins, so there’s no punch needed.
11. Or glue your bib onto a wall-hanging.
Artistic runner Emelia Cellura uses Mod Podge to affix her bibs onto large, wooden letters spelling out “Run”—a project she describes in detail on her blog.
12. Transform the shirts into apparel or accessories.
The website Bibs2Bags.com will take race bibs, shirts, or a combination of the two and use them to create bags of various sizes—backpacks, duffels, or purses. Or you can take photos of any race memorabilia—bibs, medals, shirts—and have them printed on a wide range of products, from clothes and shoes to towels, phone cases, and wall-hangings.
13. Show all your swag in a shadowbox.
Search your local craft store or online retailer for a glass- or plastic-covered frame, usually lined with a soft material like felt, foam, suede, or linen. Pin or hang your hard-earned memorabilia inside, for display on a wall or shelf.