The promise of a little blue box is an enticing treat for runners when they cross a 13.1 mile run finish line. Especially when said little blue box is presented by handsome men in tuxedos. Having said that, the promise of a little blue box is not why I run a race.

Maybe you are wondering what a “little blue box” has to do with running a half marathon?

nike womens half marathon dc

The Run Nike Women’s series of races- starting first in San Francisco with a half and full marathon, ran its first half marathon in Washington DC in 2013. The Run Nike series, which dates back to 2004, is known for a few things- great races, the proceeds of the race going to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a finisher’s award of a Tiffany necklace, presented by men clad in tuxedos.

And granted- the promise of a little blue box with a Tiffany necklace is lovely…and fun…and certainly enough to make you run a little faster when you see the finish line.


What if there is no little blue box?

The  random lottery registration for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC opened a few days ago and as information started to be published about the event, many interested runners started talking about the legendary little blue box that is synonymous with the Nike races. Until of course, someone realized that the finisher’s award is not specified as it has been in the past in the race FAQs. The questions that have followed on the Run Nike Women’s series Facebook page are endless….

Questions like:

“Will we be getting Tiffany’s necklaces?  WE’RE DYING TO KNOW!! PLEASE ANSWEEEEERRR”

Over and over and over again.

First off- Nike is a smart and well oiled marketing machine. They release shoes made just for races and envelope  you in a pre-race expo that is all things Nike. They know how to build buzz and create momentum.

Secondly, while I appreciate that paying $175 for a race is expensive (I could spend that money on a room at our favorite bed and breakfast or on multiple Pilates private lessons…)- this race benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The Nike Women’s Marathon series has raised more than $143 million raised for LLS, making the race the single largest fundraising platform for the organization.

But also?

I do not run for little blue boxes.

Why do you run | LiveDoGrow

I might joke about it…and be excited about the necklace…but running 13.1 miles- or any length from .25 miles to 26.2 cannot be boiled down to a silver necklace- as beautiful as it might be.

Running is about strength.

Running is about health.

Running is about setting a goal and working to reach it.

Running is about the mental game that you play when putting one foot in front of the other.

Running is about going farther than the day before and taking pride in each new step.

Running for me started as a way to show my doctors that they were wrong. That just because they thought I would not have the lung capacity to run a marathon after chemotherapy induced lung damage did not mean that they were right. It became the one thing that I did for myself and regardless of being slow and inconsistent (more often than not) with training, I run because I can.

If I am being completely honest- that Tiffany necklace that I earned when I crossed the 2013 Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC…as lovely as it is…sits in its blue pouch in my jewelry box, unworn on most days.

I would be lying if I said that getting a finisher medal was not enjoyable. I look at my collection- from small to blinged out princess-y medals- every day in my office, as a reminder of what I have accomplished. But I run for me. I run because I have something to prove to myself. I would rather pick a race based on a destination in a place that I have always wanted to explore (like Bermuda or Big Sur or Quebec City) than pick one because of the finisher’s prize.

Why run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC?

In 2013, I ran the first DC Nike Women’s Half Marathon with Team in Training, raising over $2100 to recommit to taking care of my health…and I hope to be selected through the lottery for the 2014 race- not for the blue box- if there is one. My goal for 2014 will be to run it (though I will walk it if my hip requires it) as I reminder of all that I can do- after months of focusing on all the things I could not do.

Maybe I am being too high and mighty and judgmental about people that just want to know if there is going to be a little blue box. Maybe I am just cranky because I have not been able to run in three months. Maybe though…what we all need, is to remember why we run…walk…and do whatever it is we do.

What do you think? Am I being too cranky and judgmental? Would you run just for a little blue box? 

Elena Sonnino signature | LiveDoGrow


Written by Elena Sonnino

Elena Sonnino

Chaser of Dreams. Life coach, wellness and travel writer, yogini, former teacher, adventure seeker, hiker, foodie …and oh right, cancer survivor. Elena writes about finding everyday wellness in far-flung lands and in her own backyard in the Washington D.C. suburbs.


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