Good morning! So, for those who are looking to be competitive at races, here are a couple of examples of the age group breakdown on how they medal. They usually chose the top female's per age group and the top males per age group and usually there is an overall top male and top female who receives additional awards. I'm sure every race age groups are about the same. These are breakdowns from a couple of past races in Missouri and Oklahoma. I know for the larger races I've raced in, I' usually in the 40-44 age group. If it's a smaller race, then I'm usually the 40-49 age group. The top three people in EACH age group gets some kind of an award, usually medals, but they can also be ribbons, plaques, etc. Every race event could be different. One I raced at for the YMCA they gave out water bottles and that was in South Carolina. If you run a half marathon, full marathon you automatically get a medal. It's called the finishers medal and they usually wrap it around your neck just after you've crossed the finish line...very cool!
So, here's the thing, even if you think you didn't place in your age group, don't leave until after you have stayed for the award ceremony which is usually within 30-45 minutes after the race. I had a friend who happen to be in my age group who left right after the race. She didn't think she placed, but she did! I called her up and told her she placed and that I had her medal. She was excited! So, I recommend staying. You never know!
Also, you can look up past race results to see the times ran the year before, etc. and also the number of people at the event just to get an idea. Most times these races grow each year as more and more people hear about the event.
The lowest number of people at a race I competed in so far was like 72 people and the most so far has been around 3500+
If it's your first race I know you will be super excited to have accomplished your first big race. Award or not, don't be afraid to ask someone if they will take your picture with your cell phone. Before or after your race, take a picture of your race shirt and your race bib that has your race # on it. Once the race is over I like to write my time on the back of my race bib. I know I'll forget so I do that and also to see how my times progress.
SAMPLE AGE GROUP BREAKDOWNS
12 and under
60 & over