The Miami Marathon Medal Was Flagged by the TSA and Confiscated from Carryons

a sun with a palm tree in the middle of the water
Written by Charlie

The Miami Marathon medal was designed to be a cool look – but it ended up getting flagged by TSA and even confiscated from runners’ bags.

One of the big reasons that runners go for marathons is getting that finisher’s medal at the end of their 26.2 mile journey. Some of the dozens I have are my favored by me than others simply because of the uniqueness of the design or because the race was extra special to me. So, race organizers try to make them more special all the time, to be unique and reflect some of the aspects of the race.

The Miami Marathon Medal Confiscated by TSA

a t-shirt with a sun and a beach

Except it appears that the Miami Marathon medal went too far this year. They designed a medal that was a sun-shaped spinner and they must have not thought ahead of time that it could be considered a weapon by TSA. The reason I assume they didn’t think about it before was that on January 24, they put a post on Facebook (and apparently sent out e-mails as well) warning runners that:

Given its design, we have been informed that the TSA may not allow the medals to be carried on flights. As such, we encourage you plan ahead and check your bag with your medal secure inside to avoid potential issues.

In the event you want to ship your medal, many hotel business centers can support shipping needs.”

There are thousands of runners who traveled to Miami by plane, both domestically and internationally. And, it appears based on online accounts, there were runners who had their medals confiscated by TSA in Miami.

In the e-mails sent out to runners and social media posts, the Miami Marathon organizers did tell runners that they should pack their Miami Marathon medal into checked luggage or mail it home.

However, as one of (what I would imagine) thousands of runners who fly carry-on only, it is an annoyance that my brand new marathon medal needs to be mailed home. Oh, and the marathon was on a Sunday and post offices are closed on Sundays (could still have printed out a label ahead of time and dropped it in a box to drop). Or, check your carry-on or another bag and pay a fee if you don’t get free luggage.

No matter what, the TSA did their job on this even though they likely saw thousands of these coming through and knew these weren’t weapons, per se. But, they still could be used as such and they had warned the Miami Marathon organizers ahead of time – which they passed on to runners. So, the Miami Marathon organizers did their part as well – to a point. In reality, in my opinion, these medals should never have been made. Make a different medal that is not going to get flagged by TSA, right?

Thoughts on this? Who was in the wrong? Runners or organizers? Or shared?

If you have never run a marathon before you may not be used to this part but for many runners, they like to wear the medals home on the plane. Also, for those of us who have run several marathons, we don’t read everything in all the organizer e-mails (though we should!) so I can see how many runners missed it.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.