Picking out the size, color and design of a frame may be overwhelming if you are purchasing it as a gift for a racer. Hopefully this post will help make things easier. There are typically only three pieces of memorabilia from a race that can be framed: the medal, pictures and the bib. The first thing to do is determine how many of the three the racer has. I always keep my medal, half the time I lose my bib and my selfies don’t always turn out good enough to frame.
Let us start with the easy one, the medal. You will need a tape measure for this part. With the explosive growth of half and full marathon races and bling chasers, medals now come in all different sizes and shapes. Although most medals are 3 inches in diameter, choosing a frame that can only hold a 3” medal may be disappointing if the racer happened to get a 4” or uniquely shaped one. If you do not have access to the medal then go with a frame that can hold up to a 4” one. Almost all medals will fit into a frame that can accommodate a 4” wide medal. Getting the medal into the frame will be totally up to you. You can let the racer add it or if you want to give it to them framed you can cleverly determine where they keep it, borrow it for a spell, add it to the frame and give it back to them at the appropriate time.
What about adding a picture? Facebook might be your best friend here. If the racer purchased their race pictures and they have a Facebook account you can almost guarantee that they are posted somewhere in their photos. This will be one of the few times you are grateful that Facebook lets you have access to anything public because you can navigate through their photos and download any that you want. If you can’t locate one on Facebook, you can almost always Google the race name followed by photos, i.e. “Myrtle Beach Marathon Photos”, and somewhere in the search results will be the official photographer’s page. Once there, you will have to do a little detective work to find your racer’s photos, and usually a bib number or last name will be all that you need. Once you have the photo/photos you can upload it/them during your purchase and it will be included with the frame.
If you have access to the bib, the best thing to do is take a picture of it or, even better, scan it in. A flatbed scanner will help take the wrinkles out and it will turn out nicer. I prefer to frame a scanned image of the bib since bibs come in a variety of sizes and take up a lot of picture real estate. It is easier to scan it in and upload it than to laminate and frame it. In certain cases the bib can be cropped and blown up from a great, high resolution race photo if you are really determined to purchase a frame that holds a bib. If there is a doubt as to whether you can get your hands on a bib then you may want to choose a frame without a bib or you can just add another photo where the bib might be displayed.
Lastly, you will need to decide what race information will be displayed on the metallic race plate. I recommend opening up a text editor such as Word or a Google Doc and typing out what you would like. Once you determine the number of lines and character length per line, you can find frames that have race plates that will accommodate all your information. If you are unsure about what information to put, you can choose “Add Later” and the racer can redeem the race plate at a future date for no additional charge. Once they fill it out, it will be mailed to them and they can add it to their frame.
If you want to add race results but are unsure of their race details, Google the race name and navigate to their official website. Somewhere on their site will be a results section with the date where you can look up your racer and add their official time, location, date, Happy Birthday or whatever else you wish within the limits of the race plate that comes with the frame.
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