11I pick my running events for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I pick a race for the location it takes me to. Sometimes I pick it based on how cool the medal I get at the end is. Many times I pick my races based on what I can afford and how much they are asking for registration. Sometimes I pick a race based on the story behind the event. It’s rare that one single event offers me more than one of those reasons.

But recently I heard about the #BigAssMedal Race Series put on by Coastal Race Productions and I was impressed. I mean REALLY impressed.

First of all of the runs in this series sound amazing! You hit several different beach areas in North Carolina. Since moving here two years ago I have really only experienced Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach so the prospect of running around Oak Island, Sunset Beach, Holden Beach and Ocean Isle Beach in a four series event has me excited by the expectation of some sweet beach scenery.

Even more amazing than the locations on this four event series is the medals. They didn’t call it the #BigAssMedal series for nothing. The medals individually are huge. I’m talking bigger than a soda can huge. Even better, if you run all four races they medals have magnets in them so they join together to make one big ass medal with matching background art that forms a large-scale scenic image.  

I have to say that I love the fact that just in case you are not in town for one of the events you are also given the option to do one of the runs as a virtual run and not be missing a piece of your medal series. Kudos to the race organizers for thinking of that option.


Not sold yet? Well here is the part that sold me. The price. You can register for ALL four races in the series for $199 as long as you register before February 11th, 2016 after that it goes down to $149 because you will only be able to do 3 of the 4 races in the event.

The events are spread out throughout the year which is nice. You’ve got something to look forward throughout the entire year. The first event  Run Oak Island is on February 13th, followed by Run Sunset Beach on May 21st, Run Holden Beach on September 10th and Run Ocean Isle Beach on October 2nd.

These days a lot of half marathon events will cost you between $85-$195 so paying $199 for all four races is one heck of a deal.


Johnna Terragna & son-in-law David Hutnik

I had the opportunity to read an article the other day about the history behind Coastal Race Productions [see article] and one of the Co-founders Johnna Terragna, a woman who battled Cancer and won and then found her love of running. It wasn’t always easy for her though, reading about how she had to crawl across the finish line of her first Marathon nearly brought tears to eyes.

When I asked Johnna about why her and her son-in-law started the Big Ass Medal series she told me a little about how they wanted to help the community by bringing in business during slow seasons, encourage healthy lifestyles and help people meet their goals and live more positive and victorious lives.

But what she said next was what really touched my heart. “What gets me jazzed up about the whole thing it’s not necessarily the front-runners but the people mid pack or last that are carrying heavy burdens or are really pushing themselves to change!  I lived very defeated for a long time – I had been in a very unhealthy abusive marriage for the better part of my life – I like to say Cancer changed my life but running saved it!”

As a victim of sexual, physical and verbal abuse on many levels and someone who has fought my own battle with the disease of Obesity, I understand exactly what Johnna is talking about. Running has given me an emotional outlet and helped me overcome my addiction to food and tendency to use it as a method of dealing with my feelings.

Running has helped me deal with the grief of my father’s death without relapsing back into that addiction. I’ve been the person in the back carrying a bunch of emotional baggage and having the physical burden of my weight as an additional challenge on top of that. I know just what she is talking about.

Getting to know the co-founder of Coastal Race Production and a little bit of history about this series has made running it even more important to me. When I run these events I’m going to run in honor of everyone out there that has been emotionally, physically or verbally abused. If there is one message that I would give to anyone that finds themselves in a situation like that, running as fast and as far away from it as you can is the best thing you will ever do for yours.


 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.