Standing with my wooden Antelope Canyon 50 miler medal display.

A Medal Worth Displaying: Antelope Canyon Ultramarathon Custom Medal Holder

June 11, 2019

You must have known that Ultra Adventures Antelope Canyon wouldn’t be a one and done discussion. No, today I’m not talking about doing another ultra marathon (ok, I am, but that’s not the purpose of this blog post!), but about further discussions about this race in particular: my first 50 miler. Or in fact, how I would continue to celebrate and commemorate that event. You see, I had this medal that I had to display. While I could just display it on a crowded medal rack, this event was special. It was:

My first 50 miler.

An incredible destination.

A feat I’m still in shock about.

Standing atop Horseshoe Bend in Utah during the Antelope Canyon 50 miler.

Horseshoe Bend in the Antelope Canyon 50 Miler.

So a couple of months ago, I reached out to my friend Mae of Mae Armstrongs Designs. She makes beautiful, custom wood signs and displays, and I had an idea. I wanted a way to display my already unique medal, one that would highlight this event. I also wanted to make a duplicate for my friend, Rachel, who ran with me and convinced me to join in this ultra marathon nonsense (again with the fact that yes, I’m planning my next one). Her birthday was coming up and normally she doesn’t display her medals. I wanted to give her a reason to display this one.

I chatted back and forth with Mae online, describing a bit about the race and I sent her some pictures. I dropped off the medal as it definitely has a unique shape and I wanted it to fit into the overall design. Upon seeing it, she also agreed that the medal ribbon should be part of the display, versus tucked behind the main design. I gave her a few more details including the race website, my finishing time, etc… and eagerly waited.

Within no time, Mae sent me some questions and a few drafts, and I gave some feedback about tweaks that seemed appropriate. But overall, I really trusted her judgement. Soon enough, I got the call that my order was ready. I eagerly met Mae and tore into the beautifully packaged product.

It was even better than I imagined.

Antelope Canyon Medal Display created by Mae Armstrong. Medal is held in the outline of a slot canyon with the course map in a mesa.

The finished product! A wooden wall display that perfectly holds my 50 miler medal.

I love the design and how it incorporates the silhouette of the canyons and mesas, as well as the perfect fit of the medal and ribbon.

Standing with my wooden Antelope Canyon 50 miler medal display.

The final product, ready for display.

The detail in the course map is awesome; that went even beyond what I had anticipated. I thought it would just be an outline of the map, but but she was even able to etch out the aid stations, mile points, etc.

A close-up of the course map.

I couldn’t be happier with the display and was so eager to give Rachel hers for her birthday. But I still had to wait almost two months! I’ll admit, it was tough and I almost gave it to her early on numerous occasions. Thankfully, I held out because it was absolutely worth the wait and I’m happy to report back that she loves it.

A close-up of the medal held in place by the carved wood outline.

The medal fits perfectly into the cut-out that Mae created to hold it and the beautiful ribbon.

I love the idea of celebrating these special achievements with a design like this. I wish I had considering the option with my first half or even full marathon; I could even have gone to a smaller scale in those instances, but this one definitely deserved the full display. If you have an event that you want to celebrate, I cannot recommend Mae enough. She was fantastic to work with, and has a beautiful eye for design. Her pricing was also reasonable for a custom wood piece. She is local in Raleigh, NC, but does ship her work and can be contacted for your own custom pieces. You can find her on Facebook,  Instagram, or Etsy.

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