Puzzle Pieces

History & Timeline

Theme Runs gives Puzzle Piece finisher medals to everyone who completes one of our races. What many people don't know is that those medals evolved over time, with various design elements and themes through the years. 


This is a timeline, featuring every medal we've ever awarded (and pictures of races still to come.) You'll be able to find out what your medal represents, hidden details about it and even be able to order medals for races you might have missed. 


Inventory of previous race medals is limited, because we tried to order only as many as we needed for that event. Once a medal is sold out, that's it. We do not re-issue medals from previous races.


The very first awards at a Theme Runs race.

2/2/2013 - Buddy Pass

This is the race that started it all. Beth Moyes was an avid runner and she decided to hold a race as a fundraiser for the Anchors Aweigh clubhouse. They are an organization that provides meeting spaces for 12-step recovery programs. 


Theme Runs (and Puzzle Runs) did not yet exist when this race was held. Beth worked with a running club to handle all the details from registration, promotion, event coordination and even race timing. The race ended up being one of the biggest fundraisers for the club that entire year. 


Winners were given awards created by a local company. They were laser cut and made out of wood. This would be the only race that Theme Runs owns that did not have puzzle piece finisher medals. 


While the race was successful, Beth felt like there could be so much more. She wanted everyone to have some kind of momento when they we done, not just winners medals for the fastest runners. So she decided to start giving out finisher medals to everyone who completed the run.  


Traditional finisher medals ranged widely in size and styles. There are bottle openers, coins and medals the size of a dinner plate. The idea Beth hit upon was to make a finisher medal shaped like a puzzle piece. But instead of edges that only fit together a certain way, she had the piece designed so ANY SIDE can connect to ANY OTHER SIDE of ANY puzzle piece. 


Over time you can build a puzzle that grows without end, it’s only limited to your imagination how everything fits together. Over the next few years that idea would be improved and expanded upon, until you end up with all the puzzle pieces you see below.


The original series of puzzle piece finisher medals we call RAYS. Inspired by a picture of Mickey Mouse’s head, surrounded by rays of light beaming out from all around. The character we featured in the first year’s medals is the Theme Runs mascot. 


ABOUT THE THEMES: One of the things we decided when we planned the races, was to make it more than just a 5K run. We wanted to make it like a themed party, where everyone dresses according to a grand idea or does something more than just run. Our first theme was the Buddy Pass for the Anchors Aweigh Clubhouse. Since the 12-step programs that are hosted at Anchors Aweigh are built on sponsors and sponsees helping each other, we encourage people to “run with a buddy” and “pass the help along.” Thus the name, “Buddy Pass.”

6/1/2013 - Tutu Relay


The Tutu Relay was similar to a traditional relay race, but instead of passing a baton you have to pass a tutu. You can’t take yourself too seriously when you’re running a race in a Tutu!


This was the very first race we made finisher medals for. Our thought was that we would use the same medals for two years and then change them. So we ordered enough Tutu Relay, Red Shirt Run, Tube-a-thon and Buddy Pass medals for two years. We later learned people really wanted a new medal every single time, but it was too late. So for those four races the medals were the same for the first and second year. For the Red Shirt Run, the medals remained the same for the first three years. 


The Heroes and Villains race was so large the first year, we were able to order a new medal for that race the second year it was held. 

We experimented with a custom WINNERS medal during the Tutu Relay race as well, which featured the puzzle piece medal inside a circle. It made for a nice looking medal, but didn’t actually allow you to connect it to anything. We kept this design for almost two years before moving on.

8/31/2013 - Tube-a-thon

This race was during one of the hottest times of the year, so we thought we would include a portion that took people into the water. It was also a relay, starting with blowing up a tube. Then you would run the tube to the water, paddling the tube around a buoy and finally finish by running the tube across the finish line. 


Everyone who entered the race loved it, but we were never able to get enough people to join in. People who just like regular running were scared of the water portion and people who liked extreme runs didn’t think it would be challenging enough.  

9/28/2013 – Red Shirt Run

Since AIDS Help was the beneficiary, we chose the color red from the ribbon people wear for AIDS awareness. Each entry allowed people to cast a vote for their favorite king and queen candidate for Fantasy Fest. 


It was during this race that a few contestants showed up in red themed costumes. A couple of the outfits were so impressive, we decided we needed to add another element to all our races. We would have a costume contest and hand out awards. After all, not everyone will be able to win a 5K race, but anyone CAN put together something fabulous to wear! (Thank you Joanie Sullivan for kicking off the costume fun and winning this first award.)

The BACK of the Red Shirt Run original medal has a bit of a mistake. Instead of saying PATent Pending it says...


PANTent pending. I guess somebody was waiting for their trousers when they typed it in. We thought it was funny so we didn't have them remade.

10/18/2013 - Heroes and Villains 5K


Our official Fantasy Fest event and a costume extravaganza. The finisher medals put the Theme Runs mascot in a cape, ready to defeat villains at every turn. 



RAYS continued. We just made tweaks to the original medals for the second year races. The rays we introduced in our first year stayed, but we changed some of the colors in the background elements. The designs were fun, but we still really weren’t pushing the boundaries of what our finisher medals could become.



There was one big idea we introduced in 2014. It was a finisher medal featuring our mascot running through the rain. We wanted to encourage people to show up, even if it was raining. So we designed a medal that we would give out ONLY to people who completed the race while it was raining. You still get the regular finisher medal, but you also get this BONUS medal too. 


We ordered 1,000 of the Rain Day Medals and when a batch is gone, we will order 1,000 more with a DIFFERENT design. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these, know that you’re part of a special group that’s willing to brave a little wetness for charity. 

2/1/2014 - Buddy Pass

This two figures on the medal represent a sponsor and sponsee in a 12-step program. The large circle in the middle is for the chip handed out to mark milestone events. The blue color was chosen from the blue color on the cover of the AA “Big Book.”


5/10/2014 – PAL (Police Athletic League) 5K

This was the first race not owned by us that decided to use our puzzle piece finisher medals. We put the PAL logo over the RAY background colored in police blue.


These are the dates for races that were held, where the same medals were given out as in the previous race. Don't worry, we heard you. New medals every time now!


6/14/2014 – Tutu Relay
Same medal as the first year. 


9/6/2014 – Tube-a-thon
Same medal as the first year and this was the last time this race was held. 


9/27/2014 – Red Shirt Run

Same medal as the first year. 


2/7/2015 - Buddy Pass
Same medal as the second year. 


5/9/2015 - PAL (Police Athletic League) 5K
Same medal as the first year. 


9/26/2015 – Red Shirt Run
Same as the first two years. 


10/20/2014 - Heroes and Villains 5K

A modification of the first year with the hero running on top of a bolt of lighting. 


SWIRLS. To shake up the design a little, we decided to alter the background from the rays to a swirl behind most of the images. It wasn’t that significant of a change, but it was enough to get us to think about choosing different “common elements” that we would change each year and incorporate into our medals. Updating the background colors just wasn’t enough.

10/30/2014 - Haunted Fort 5K

This race was held one year only for the High School. It was the first of the “SWIRL” medals and featured a design submitted by the high school. KW represents Key West and a ghost is emerging from the conch shell. 




LANDMARKS. We wanted to show off some of the interesting architectural items in Key West, while also linking them to the organization that the race was for. It was also our first attempt to create an annual theme where medals from different races, could also fit together to form elements that were bigger than just one medal. 


We did that by designing a background that drew four medals together. There were two sets of four medals, and we returned to the “ray” background we introduced in our original medals. The rays start at a corner of the medals, and you combine four of them together to get the full effect.


There are two sets of four medals. One group has a silver and yellow background and the other has an aquamarine and yellow background. 


This was a difficult design challenge, because we had to make sure just a few lines would be enough to make the buildings and structures identifiable. Hopefully you recognize a few of these landmarks.

1/9/2016 – Snowbird 5K

A one-time race that was for the Key West High School. For the medal we picked one of the most recognizable pieces of art in town, the giant conch shell in front of the school. The artwork that we were given by the high school included a pink flamingo in front of the shell. It was the perfect bit of whimsy the medal needed and we quickly incorporated it into the design.


2/7/2016 – Buddy Pass

This race is for the Anchors Aweigh Clubhouse, an organization that provides meeting space for 12-Step recovery groups. We felt an ideal landmark for this organization’s puzzle piece was the lighthouse…shining a beacon of light (and hope) to the world.


We introduced our GIANT puzzle piece WINNERS medals during the Buddy Pass race. We thought it would be appropriate to have winner’s medals that fit into the smaller finisher medals. The center circle changes for each race and the outer design is changed once a year.


The red rays with yellow stars is the 2016 design. 

2/27/2016 – FINtastic 5K

This was the first “color” run held in the Florida Keys. Runners are splashed with one of 10 colors as they pass various points along the route. The name of the race was “Colors of the Sea” so we put a coral reef on the finisher medals with some of the colors you would be splashed with.


While the reef is not an architectural landmark like all the other medals of this year, we still felt it was appropriate since it is a natural landmark that’s a vital part of our ecosystem. 


4/25/2016 – Mariners March 5K

One of the most intricate medals we ever designed with the Basilica of Saint Mary’s on the front. 


5/7/2016 - PAL (Police Athletic League) 5K

Fort Jefferson was the center of this medal, since at one time it was both a prison and a structure designed to fight pirates. 


6/11/2016 – Tutu Relay

The Custom House was chosen because it’s both pretty (like a tutu) and a little ridiculous (like a tutu). The Custom House was built using a standardized design, so it included several fireplaces, to keep people warm…in the tropics. It also has an extremely steep roof, so snow doesn’t build up on it…in the tropics. 


7/4/2016 - Key West Rotary 4th of July 5K Walk/Run


This race didn’t have finisher medals, but it did use the GIANT puzzle piece winner’s medals. 

9/3/2016 - Heroes Salute

The second year for this race features the same logo design as the first year, but we changed the background to a classic RAYS design. 


9/24/2016 – Red Shirt Run

The AIDS Memorial is the landmark featured on this finisher medal and it’s the first one that included the year it was handed out. 


10/23/2016 – Dupont Circle 5K

We designed this medal for the Dupont Circle Club, a 12-step recovery club in Washington, D.C. Using photos of the iconic Dupont Circle fountain, we tried to recreate it on the medal. It features the classic RAYS background. 


10/24/2016 - Heroes and Villains 5K


This is the only race we hold that runs people past the Southernmost Point buoy, so of course we wanted that on the medal. The colors on the medal are actually taken from the colors on the actual buoy. 


11/5/2016 - Zonta 5K


We changed the parrot from the first year for one that was a little more “edgy” and holding a drink. Look close and you’ll notice the parrot is wearing a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. 


11/13/2016 – The Children’s School 5K

First medal for the Children’s School features their intricate tree logo. Look very closely and you can see a porpoise, sea turtle, butterfly, bird, starfish, seahorse and frog.


Here's the original version of the logo so you can see the hidden creatures better. 

11/19/2016 - Mariners Hospital Gordon 5K Walk/Run & 10K

They used the smaller puzzle piece medals, but for winners only. Laser etched on the back are the various categories the medals were given out for. 


11/24/2016 - Hawk's Cay Turkey Trot

This was the first year this race chose to use finisher medals. They feature a running turkey on the front. This is the only medal we don’t have a picture of the final version.


If you have one, we’re offering $30 to purchase it from the first person who contacts us with one. Give us a call at (305) 747-8563. 


12/10/2016 - illuminated 5K

A new night race that benefited the Monroe County Bar Association Scholarship fund. So we chose the old Key West City Courthouse building as the landmark. 



TRAINS. Henry Flagler built the bridges that originally connected the Keys for his railroad. It was an unprecedented engineering feat that was considered one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World. We thought it would be fun to put items representing each of the races, on top of railroad cars that would all fit together. To make it more fun, we designed many of the train cars to look like they were part of a circus train. 


One of the complaints we got from the previous years’ landmark series, was that if someone missed one of the four races that fit together, the puzzle would appear incomplete. So in designing the train, each car stands alone…except the engine that starts it all off. To make sure people could get the engine, we purposely ordered extra and have made them available for sale. 

GIANT puzzle piece WINNERS medal. The center circle changes for each race and the outer design is changed once a year.


The red, white and blue rays with yellow stars is the 2017 design. 

2/5/2017 - Buddy Pass

The first TRAIN series medal that features the engine and the Anchors Aweigh clubhouse name. 


The train design is modeled after one of the actual trains that traveled the overseas railroad to Key West. 


2/25/2017 - FINtastic 5K

The Gerald Adams logo placed on a train car like it’s an aquarium. 


The original batch of these medals was too thick to properly fit together. The company that produced them shipped us a "slimmer" version that we exchanged for free if you had a "thicker" version. If you have the "thicker" version, slim ones are still available for exchange. Just call Beth Moyes at (305) 747-8563 and she'll let you know how. 


4/29/2017 – Mariners March 5K

When a church is awarded the status of minor basilica, they can display a red and yellow umbrella that’s called an umbraculum. It’s opened when the pope comes to visit. We thought it was a great element to put on the train car to remind runners of the church’s basilica status. We added the Mariners logo and running children underneath.


You’ll notice the umbraculum is not opened, since the pope was not visiting during the race.  


5/6/2017 – Tutu Relay

Synchronized tutu runners, performing on two small circus stages. 


5/13/2017 - PAL (Police Athletic League) 5K

A performing seal balancing the PAL logo like a circus ball. 


7/4/2017 - Key West Rotary 4th of July 5K Walk/Run

They don’t use the finisher medals. But when the childrens run was held, we wanted the kids to get something special. Each child that ran was given a Rain Day Medal since we experienced a very slight rainfall during their race. 


9/2/2017 - Heroes Salute


The Heroes Salute logo riding on a train car.


9/30/2017 - Red Shirt Run


Red shirt displayed like a billboard on a circus train. 


10/23/2017 - Heroes and Villains 5K

The Theme Runs mascot is shown breaking out of a cage, ready to save the world. 


11/4/2017 – Zonta 5K

This is a parrot riding on a train car celebrating 25 Years. 


This is the only train medal that features a different colored background. It's pink for breast cancer awareness. 


11/18/2017 – Mariners March 5K

This is the logo used for the nurses. 


This was done in the year we had train medals. Becuase it wasn't on a train, we changed the color of the background so it stood out, while still matching the style. 


11/23/2017 – Turkey Trot


A turkey is balancing on a tightrope suspended on a train car. 


This race was CANCELLED because of hurricane IRMA. The resort (Hawks Cay) was decimated and has taken months to rebuild. These medals will be used for the 2018 race. 


12/9/2017 – illuminated 5K

The Theme Runs mascot is jumping through a flaming ring of fire, lighting up the night. 



This year featured designs with POP ART and a return of the original RAYS background.

2/11/2018 – Buddy Pass

In our POP ART series we brought back the RAYS background and added pop art images on the top. For the Buddy Pass we like to think the WOW stands for Working On Wellness. 


2/24/2018 – FINtastic 5K

The FINtastic Colors of the Sea logo on our pop art background. 


4/28/2018 – Saint Mary's Basilica

Our POP ART series with WWJD!

(What Would Jesus Do?)


5/12/2018 – Police Athletic League PAL

Our POP ART series with PAL.


5/5/2018 – Tutu Relay

Our POP ART series with HOT! We like to think it stands for HOOKED on TUTUS. 


9/1/2018 – Heroes Salute

Our POP ART series with the Heroes Salute Logo.


9/29/2018 – Red Shirt Run

Our POP ART series with WIN!


10/22/2018 – Heroes & Villains 5K

Our POP ART series with HERO.


11/03/2018 – Zonta ABC 5K

Our POP ART series with a parrot. 


11/11/2018 – The Childrens School

Our POP ART series with YES!


12/30/2018 – illuminated 5K

Our POP ART series with ZAP!



This year featured designs with ICONS and a background that shows intersecting lines. 

2/10/2019 – Red Hot Run

Our ICON series with a Red Heart and diagonal lines. 


5/4/2019 – Tutu Relay and 10K Run

Our ICON series with runners wearing orange (Theme Runs Color) tutus. 


Contact Us

Theme Runs, Inc.
P.O. Box 4052
Key West, FL 33041
Phone: 305 747-8563 305 747-8563
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