The Wooden Spoon Trophy

Finishing last has its own rewards.

A few weeks ago I ran in my first “mini marathon” at work. It’s an annual 23km running tradition that dates back 38 years since the office running club formed in the late 1970s. A dozen of us ran and of course, I came in last, as expected.

What I didn’t expect was to receive this giant wooden spoon trophy. The running club dictates that anyone who spends “longest time on feet” in the mini marathon will receive this honorary entitlement and gets to keep the spoon for a whole year before passing it on to the next person to finish last.

Fairy and the Wooden Spoon

Fairy and the Wooden Spoon Trophy

It is HUGE.

What is amazing is that the giant spoon measuring more than a meter is engraved with the names of all the runners who finished last in the mini marathon and dates as far back as 1979! Now we’re talking real history here.

"Midday Miler who fully completed the course and came last by fair means."

“Midday Miler who fully completed the course and came last by fair means.”

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Names as far back as 1979.

I’m not sure what the carving on the spoon handle is. Colleagues have suggested it might be Maori, Fijian or Papuan, but I have no way of telling. It looks like a totem pole.

Carvings on the wooden spoon handle

Carvings on the wooden spoon

I’m not sure why they spelled out my name in full, while everyone else has their first name initials on it. Perhaps because my timing is the longest in the mini marathon history, they wanted to make sure I’m never forgotten. 😀

Wooden Spoon of Fame (Shame?)

Wooden Spoon of Fame (Shame?)

History of the wooden spoon

Apparently the wooden spoon award culture originated at University of Cambridge by playful students to recognise “outstandingly poor performance” of third-class degree classmates who barely passed their exams.

In Australia, the wooden spoon is referred to in sporting events like Australian football and rugby as the team to finish last in the playing season.

In some golfing tournaments, second-last positions are awarded the wooden spoon as it is a relatively difficult position to obtain (if you think about it).

It’s all part of an elaborate joke and a bit of fun, really. And I was about to get my fair share of the jest.

Getting the spoon

After receiving an email from the running club administrator, I went down a floor to collect my spoon after lunch. The first female and male finishers were also there to get their trophies. I had to pose for this photo for the MM club blog.

Oddest trophies in history: giant spoon, silver spray-painted shoe and a bra!

Oddest trophies in history: giant spoon, silver spray-painted shoe and a bra!

While I can’t help feeling slightly embarrassed by this “achievement” and getting thrown into the limelight, the wooden spoon served as its own conversational piece as I walked back to my desk with it.

Lots of people stopped in their tracks and were impressed with not only its sheer size but how steeped in tradition and history it was. And the fact that I ‘ran’ the 23km for fun. Not everyone would want to do it.

I even tracked down the last person in the office to have his name on the spoon engraved on the spoon for a ceremonial handover.

Handover from last year spoon winner

Handover from last year spoon winner

I didn’t forget to pose for a keepsake photo with Venn, my running buddy who sacrificed his normally speedy pace to walk alongside me along the route while I jogged!

Thanks, Venn!

Thanks, Venn!

I have to admit it’s pretty cool. The wooden spoon I mean. Not my horrendous finishing time.

I think for as long as I participate in the mini marathon and still work here, I am destined to always keep the spoon!

My Wooden Spoon

My Wooden Spoon

 


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Fairy

Fairy

Hi! I am Fairy from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – currently residing in Sydney, Australia. Running, hiking (or bushwalking as it’s known Down Under!), Zumba and writing are my therapy.

I first picked up running in 2011 after losing 20% of my old weight through playing dance and fitness video games. My favourite running mantra these days is “MAKE IT COUNT!”

To get in touch, email me at fairy[at]myindo.com or tweet me at @runfairyrun. Thanks for stopping by!

Fairy

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7 comments — post a comment

Wavatar
Waida

Interesting trophy…

I guess, the “bra” will also be handed over to new winner next year?

What’s strikes me the most, is this -> “Midday Miler who fully completed the course and came last by fair means.” especially the part “came last by fair means” :)

Fairy
Fairy

Oh all the trophies are passed down annually to whomever achieves its due title. :) Yes I did like that bit where they wrote about the “fair means” lol.

Wavatar
Waida

Interesting trophy…

I guess, the “bra” will also be handed over to new winner next year?

What strikes me the most, is this -> “Midday Miler who fully completed the course and came last by fair means.” especially the part “came last by fair means” :)

Wavatar
kiky

a spoon to remember, it is as “young” as you (made in 1979) 😀

Fairy
Fairy

Indeed Kiky! Sangat meaningful to me personally. :)

Wavatar
Aizat

My goodness, that huge wooden spoon is ancient… I was not even born yet in 1979… Any how, Congrats Fairy! U are now part of the history! A spoon bearer… It’s a unique tradition

Fairy
Fairy

Weits, takdelah ancient sangat spoon tu! 😛

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