Mettle is defined as strength of spirit and the ability to cope despite difficulties. As runners, we certainly know all about overcoming weaknesses to cross the finish line, however, it is those who are battling life-threatening illnesses and severe disabilities who demonstrate mettle every moment of everyday. The organization Medals4Mettle celebrates this collective human courage by awarding race medals to young people facing their own life threatening battles. In 2005, Medals4Mettle began handing out medals to patients and their families. Medals have been awarded by Indy 500 race car drivers, Olympic athletes and individuals who want to experience the incredible joy of giving their hard-earned finisher’s medals to courageous human beings. Compassion has run through the organization from day one, and Big River Running is thrilled to be a partner in their mission.
Last month I had the opportunity to attend an Medals4Mettle event at Ranken Jordan Hospital, the only pediatric bridge hospital in the country that transitions kids from hospital to home. I spoke with patients and their families about the courage and strength it takes to battle a serious illness and was able to hand out medals to those fighting battles much harder than running a marathon. The families of the children were also given the opportunity to pick out a medal for their fight as caretakers. The joy expressed by those receiving medals was palpable. It reminded me to dust off all of the old race awards I have sitting in my basement and give them to this special organization. The St. Louis chapter accepts earned race medals from half marathon, marathon, ultras and triathlons and you can bring them to any Big River Running location! This is a wonderful way to recycle your hardware and honor the fight of these families!
— Kristen Jorgensen