TSA officers intercept 'throwing star' Miami Marathon medal at airport

Runner receiving medal after 2024 Miami Marathon
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Update: The TSA has explained that prohibited items (including ninja stars, which the Miami Marathon medal resembles) are intercepted before passengers board a flight, but not thrown out. Passengers carrying an item that is intercepted at security have the opportunity to return to the airline and check the bag containing it, mail it to themselves, or leave the item behind voluntarily. Amended story continues below.

Finishers of this year's Miami Marathon were awarded a stunning medal in the form of a stylized sun, but the design posed an unusual problem. Miami attracts runners from around the US and the world, many of whom flew over to the Magic City to take part. The race organizers foresaw a potential issue here, and warned finishers to stash their prizes safely in their checked baggage after the race to avoid problems at airport security, or have it shipped to their home address.

It turned out their concerns were justified, and at least one runner had their medal intercepted before being allowed to board their flight. As Runner's World explains, Joe Robinson, founder of Detroit running club WeRun313, was disappointed to find he couldn't take his prize in his carry-on.

Don't take my sunshine away

Miami is famed for its beautiful medals, which are intricate creations with ribbons designed by local artists. This year's medal hangs on a ribbon created by Nicolas Vasquez, and was inspired by the city's vibrant flora.

"I wanted to create a motif of 3D plant designs showcasing some of these plants with their intricate forms," Vasquez told Miami's Community News. "I sought to capture the essence of Miami’s biodiversity by infusing the designs with an organic and vibrant energy, reflecting the life that surrounds the runners."

The medal itself is a golden sun, with a combination of straight and curved rays, and the event's palm tree logo in the center. The organizers realized this might cause issues at airport security. Some pointed items, such as knitting needles, ice skates, and cowboy spurs, are allowed in carry-on luggage, but ninja stars, which the medal resembles, are not.

"Given its design, we have been informed that the TSA may not allow the medals to be carried on flights, said the race organizer in an Instagram post. "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."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.