Do It Yourself Wall of Fame

by Jodi

part of our Wall of Fame
Our family has been actively exercising for five years now.  In those five years I've run quite a few races.  My husband has run quite a few races.  Each of our four kids has run quite a few races.  We have a plethora of medals and race t-shirts between the six of us.

Most of the cotton T-shirts have been relegated to camping clothes or gifted to Goodwill.  The race t-shirts from big events were folded nicely in a basket on the top shelf of my closet.  Medals and bib numbers were shoved in random drawers.  But what's the point of that?  Memorabilia from the races that were significant is ... well... memorable and ought to be displayed.  And the bib numbers and medals from the races that we'd like to forget are still ... well... significant because we participated.

Our house is built on a lot that slopes up a hill.  We walk up twenty-one stairs from the garage to get to our main floor.  The wall space in that hallway is dinged up and completely empty.  Why decorate when no one sees it but us?  Then it dawned on me.   I could use the wall space from our stairwell for all our race memorabilia.  We could be Braggy Braggerson's for ourselves and not subject our friends and family to all our race bling.  An additional benefit is that (in theory) the Wall of Fame would be motivational.  Since we go up and down those stairs multiple times a day the bib numbers, medals, and framed pictures should encourage us to keep persevering even when we are tired.

I bought a bulletin board and some cheap documents frames.  I wanted to buy hook rails to hang the medals, but even the cheap ones cost about $20 per rail.  I needed to buy several and didn't want to drop $100 on a project no one would see but my family.

I figured it couldn't be too difficult to make a hook rail but I needed a prototype.  The girls and I spent an afternoon shopping all the antique stores in town.  We hit the jackpot at the last store in the form of a piece of reclaimed barn wood with five nails and a ribbon hot glued to it for good measure.  It cost $5 and was exactly what I was looking for.

My prototype
I brought it home and rummaged around in my husband's man cave.  I found three pieces of kindling that looked like they were split evenly enough to hang flat against a wall.  I didn't find any matches to the Metal Gadgets that were glued to the back of the prototype nor did I know what they were called to ask for them in a store.  So I made my own by taking washers, sticking a nail in the middle of washer, and pounding the nail over sideways to hold the washer to the back side of the wood.  It wasn't pretty, but it was functional and saved me another trip to the store.
My version of a hook rail

Once I had the Washer Hanging Devices in place I "designed" the front of my hook rail.  I selected five nails and pounded them into the piece of kindling.  There was a learning curve to find the right balance of securing the nail without driving it through the entire piece of wood.

I spent the next hour sweating profusely and hoping I wouldn't fall to my death as I balanced precariously on a step stool and tried to pound nails into the wall to hang my hand-made hook rails.  I had a few equipment malfunctions but eventually (after many cleansing breathes and mental pep talks about not driving the hammer through the wall) I got everything in place.

Then came the fun part.  I went on a treasure hunt through the house to find everyone's medals.  I rummaged through desk drawers and "special" boxes, looked under beds, and pulled from
To Scrapbook At Some Time in the Future piles.  Eventually I had all our medals, bib numbers and pictures in a pile.  The kids all chose where and how they wanted to hang their medals and ceremoniously hung them up.  The whole time they were hanging I was muttering, "Don't touch the hook rails.  They're fragile.  Be gentle."  Surprisingly, they stayed in the wall and held the medals.

Curt and I each have our own hook rail.  Our family has filled up a bulletin board with bib numbers and we're moving on to bulletin board number two.  I hung marathon race posters, the training schedule with all the boxes checked off from my most recent marathon, the swim cap from my one triathlon, pictures with family members at the end of races, and homemade cards of encouragement from loved ones.

Our Wall of Fame is cluttered, crooked, and clearly hand-crafted.  But I love it.  When I take the time to actually look at it each day, I'm reminded of great memories and big accomplishments.  Not just for myself, but for my family too.  The kids love to show their friends the Wall of Fame and tell them about the 5k's and mini-triathlons they've completed.  It will be fun to look back in ten years and see how it's grown.

What about you?  What do you do with all your race paraphernalia?  Would a Wall of Fame motivate you to keep training even when you are tired?


  1. Love that idea! I keep all of my nice technical race shirts because I workout in them. All of my cotton shirts have been cut out to make a quilt that I haven't found the time to make yet. My medals are all on a medal hanger that my girlfriend made for me. I keep all of my important race bibs (PRS, marathons, 1/2 marathons) and save them with my race photos until I have collected enough for a running collage board. I have 2 boards currently filled, with a 3rd one in the works. I hang my boards up in our hallway and the medal hanger is my spare room that I use as my closet.

    1. Those are all great ideas Tasha. And it's fun that you have them spread out around your house. Isn't it fun that your friend joined the celebration by making you a medal hanger!?! I've heard about the quilt idea before but never seen one made. Seems like it would take a lot of T-shirts to make a quilt. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. I just signed up Saturday for my very FIRST marathon.........Portland here I come all the way from Ks.

    1. WHOO HOO! Go Yolanda. That is very exciting. We'll be rooting for you.

  3. I love your wall of fame!!! What a great idea for all of those race bibs, medals and other stuff!!

    1. Thanks Kim. It felt good to get it all out of boxes and hang it somewhere.