Race #403 – Charlotte Half Marathon – Charlotte NC – 11/11/17

Back in 2008 when it was called Thunder Road, this was my first half marathon (Race #14). That day my time was 2:01:05, and the run today was my 106th half marathon. and with that first one being the only one slower than 2 hours, my streak is now up to 105 half marathons under 2 hours. I didn’t even think about it being a streak until recently, but now it’ll be interesting to see how long I can hold on.

The race is now officially called The Charlotte Marathon, but the full marathon is actually smaller than the half marathon, with 851 full marathon finishers and 2,169 half marathon finishers this year. With additional runners in the 5k and the marathon relay the number of finishers was close to 5,000 this year.

It was a frigid day for North Carolina (wind chill 27 degrees) and I shivered for about 15 minutes at the starting line. I’m still amazed that anybody likes to run in cold weather, but it seems like they do.

The race now begins and ends at Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte, which would be great if it weren’t so cold. I wish they could move the post-race activities to somewhere like the Wells Fargo Atrium like some of the other Charlotte races, but maybe there are too many runners for that. No problem handling the crowd in the park today since it was so cold the only people who stayed seemed to be those who thought they might win an award.

One great thing about this year’s race is the addition of FREE race photos! With the exorbitant prices that are usually charged, it’s a great perk to get free photos. There were thousands of professional quality photos that were free to download, or you could also buy prints at a reasonable price.

Race Number:  403

Race Name:  Charlotte Marathon, Half Marathon, 5k, and Marathon Relay

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

Date:  November 11, 2017

Race Rating:  106

Winners:

Course:  City streets and neighborhoods around Charlotte.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 34 degrees (feels like 27), 8 mph NNE wind, 55% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  1:43:20
Pace:  7:55
Age Group:  2 of 10
Overall:  229 of 2169
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:20:33 (72.48%)

Old guy awards… We’re all dressed like we’re in Siberia… Felt like it too.

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
8 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
0 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
6 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
8 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
5 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
10 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  106

Race #402 – Spencer Mountain 10k/5k – Gastonia, NC – 11/04/17

This is one of the races I look forward to every fall, partly because of the near legendary hill you have to climb to the finish but also because it’s just up the road about 3 miles from my house. It’s actually in the town of Ranlo, which is just outside Gastonia.

The “Spencer Mountain 10-Miler” seemed to me to be one of the most iconic races around and I remember hearing about it long before I ever became a runner in 2008. During last year’s 10-miler there was an unfortunate accident where one of the runners was hit by a car and severely injured, which resulted in a decision to discontinue the 10-miler and replace it was a 10k instead that would go in the same direction as the 5k and would be much more manageable in terms of traffic control.

It’s too bad that this race is dwindling in popularity. This year there were only 40 finishers in the 10k and another 59 in the 5k, for a total of 99 runners. The first year I ran it back in 2009 there were a total of 287 finishers. There are too many races these days to choose from so a race needs to do something to stand out from the crowd and unfortunately this one seems like it’s on autopilot. Better post-race food, better awards, and a person with a camera who can produce some race photos would possibly give it a boost.

I ran the 10k and for me personally I liked the course. It was out-and-back for what used to be the last 5k of the 10-mile course, and even though it was the part with the most hills it was also the most scenic part of the race. The big hill is still part of the course, but at least you get to go down it on the way out so it kind of evens things out a little.

I was happy with my finishing time of 47:33, which was 7th overall, and managed to squeak by Andrew Cook so once again we are tied for second place in the Gaston County YMCA series with 582 points each. There are only two races left in the series, and while neither of us has a chance to catch speedy Jimmy Glover unless he happens not to show up (unlikely), it’ll be fun to see how things turn out between me and Andrew. He pointed out to me that the next race in the series is a much bigger race (about 1,200 runners) so it’s likely that we’ll have a larger gap between us then. He also told me he’s coming back a day early from his vacation in Arizona so he can be back in time for the race, so he’s serious! Unfortunately the trophies for 2nd and 3rd place are virtually the same (wish they’d change that) so all either of us will get for 2nd place will be bragging rights, but it’s fun to have that extra element of friendly competition.

Race Number:  402

Race Name:  Spencer Mountain 10k & 5k

Location:  Ranlo, North Carolina  (Just outside Gastonia)

Date:  November 4, 2017

Race Rating:  79

Winners (Top 20):

 

Course:  Out-and-back course on rural mountain road with lots of ups and downs. First and last mile of the course is flat.

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start:  Unseasonably warm, sunny, 64 degrees, 88% humidity (Probably the last warm race of the year!)

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

 

My Stats:

Time:  47:33
Pace:  7:40
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall:  7 of 40
Average Heart Rate:  165
Maximum Heart Race:  172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:57 (72.31%)

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* RACE RATING *
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RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
0 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
6 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
4 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
4 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
0 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  79

Race #401 – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – Myrtle Beach SC – 10/21/17

Of all the races I return to year after year, this one has become my favorite. Maybe I’ll change my mind sometime in the future, but for now it’s the one I look forward to more than any other. We’ve been blessed with great weather every year and this year was the best yet, with afternoon temperatures hovering around 80 degrees, making it a great time to squeeze a little bit of extra summertime out of the beach.

There are a lot of special things about this race. The last 5 miles down Ocean Boulevard provides my all-time favorite race finish. There are always a lot of friends at the race, both from my local running club (it’s our big race of the year) and also runners from elsewhere that I just see at these regional races that draw runners from a wider area.

It’s unfortunate that the race is shrinking in size though. This year there were only 1,513 half marathon finishers compared to 3,125 in 2014. I don’t believe it’s due to the race itself, which is always managed beautifully, but because there is so much competition from other races. There are so many races each weekend that runners have to choose among several, and it’s almost always easier and cheaper to stay close to home. Nevertheless, it’s still my favorite and I hope it’ll continue for many years.

This was my sixth straight year of placing in the top 3 in my age group for this race, so I’m feeling a little pressure to keep the streak going next year, but I’m looking forward to it. My time of 1:39:08 this year was my second fastest half marathon since the same race last year, and the only one I’ve run faster since then was the Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon in Las Vegas that featured a little over 2,000 feet of elevation loss!

Race Number:  401

Race Name:  Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon

Location:  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Date:  October 21, 2017

Race Rating:  108

Winners (Top 5 Overall):

My Age Group (65-69):

Course:  Starts at the Coastal Grand Mall and travels up Grissom Parkway. After a short run on the greenway of about a mile course goes to Ocean Boulevard for final 5 miles. Final stretch is along the boardwalk for about a half mile, ending at the site of the old Myrtle Beach Pavilion. Awards and post-race activities are held a block up at Plyler Park. Only 7 turns in entire race and very little elevation change throughout the course.

Elevation:

Weather at Start: Partly cloudy, 64 degrees, 5 mph NE wind, 94% humidity.

Hard to beat the 5-mile stretch along Ocean Boulevard!

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:39:08
Pace:  7:35
Age Group:  1 of 17
Overall:  48 of 1,513
Average Heart Rate:  163
Maximum Heart Race: 173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:17:16 (75.55%)

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* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
5 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
9 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
6 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
8 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
4 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  108

One of the highlights of the weekend is our group run on the morning following the race along the boardwalk!

Race #400 – Dannie Benjamin Mission Fund 5k – Belmont, NC – 10/14/17

This wasn’t the most exciting race to pick for my 400th, but that’s the way it worked out and it was kind of fun even though I’m no fan of trails. About half of this race is on the road and the other half on single-track trails that wind through the woods on the outskirts of Belmont. This race and the Daniel Stowe race back in February are the only two predominantly technical trail races I’ve ever run, and the constant worry about falling and/or twisting an ankle make trails an unpleasant experience for me. Fortunately I didn’t break anything. I did twist my ankle on the trail, bad enough that it’s bothered me some for a few days since then but hopefully I’ll be back to normal by next week’s half marathon.

One thing that struck me about this race was how welcoming the church members who were volunteering were. When I arrived at the church and got out of my car the volunteers were being led in prayer, and I even got a couple of invitations to join them at their Sunday morning service. Several times before and after the race I subtle spirituality and kindness that was unusual for a Saturday morning 5k. It wasn’t pushy or anything, but just a nice change of pace from what’s usually seen at a local race.

As for the race itself, it was small (only 66 finishers) but I was pleasantly surprised to finish 6th overall. I did drop a notch in the YMCA series to 3rd place, but only by 1 point, finishing about 15 seconds behind Andy Cook, who I was tied with for 2nd place. Andy is an accomplished trail runner so I was really happy to be fairly close behind him at the end.

There were several fancy cameras in attendance with people snapping pictures like it was a Hollywood premier. Unfortunately as far as I can tell there are no photos that have been made available to runners and I couldn’t find any on the church website either. If I ever find them I’ll try to include a link and change my rating.

Race Number:  400

Race Name:  Dannie Benjamin Missions Fund 5k

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina (First Baptist Church)

Date:  October 14, 2017

Race Rating:  81

Winners (Top 25):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Course: Approximately 1 mile side streets and 2 miles technical trail.

 

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 64 degrees, 94% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

 

My Stats:

Time:  25:23
Pace:  8:11
Age Group:  1 of 4
Overall:  6 of 66
Average Heart Rate:  158
Maximum Heart Race:  169

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
0 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
4 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
x – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
x – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  81

Race #399 – Run Around Downtown 5k – Bessemer City, NC – 10/07/17

This was the 6th annual year of Bessemer City’s only 5k. I ran it last year when it wasn’t part of the YMCA series, and this year it was part of the series for the first time. The weather was great (except for the 100% humidity) but the crowd was small, with only 36 runners finishing the 5k. There were also quite a few participants in the 2k noncompetitive walk and those weren’t counted in the results.

There aren’t any big hills in this race but there seem to be subtle inclines and declines throughout the entire course so nothing seems entirely flat. I felt pretty good but I have a bad habit of walking up most hills. Lately I’ve been in a close battle for 2nd place in the YMCA race series with Andy Cook, who in every series race this year has been within two finishers of me, either ahead or behind. Several times in this race he passed me going uphill only to have me pass him as we went back down another hill. He had a 2 point lead on me going into this race and I was able to squeak past him and finish ahead this time, with another runner finishing between us, which resulted in us being tied for 2nd place in the series. Next week is another series race and it’s a hybrid of trail and road. I almost never run trails and Andy does, so look for me to definitely fall out of the tie for 2nd place next week, but it was nice while it lasted.

Current YMCA series standings (top 10).

Race Number:  399

Race Name:  Run Around Downtown 5k and 2-Mile Walk

Location:  Bessemer City, North Carolina

Date:  October 7, 2017

Race Rating:  77

Winners (Top 10):

Course:  Through downtown Bessemer City and along some neighborhoods. Not terribly hilly but definitely not flat.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 64 degrees, 100% humidity.

Full Race Results:

 

My Stats:

Time:  22:25
Pace:  7:14
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall: 7 of 36
Average Heart Rate:  155
Maximum Heart Race:  169
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:29  (74.28%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
0 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
6 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
5 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
4 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
1 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
4 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  77

Race #398 – Novant Health 15k/5k – Charlotte, NC – 10/01/17

I first ran this race back in 2009 when it was called the LungStrong 15k, and I’ve run it several times since then. It’s a popular autumn race and one of the few times most local runners get to run a 15k race (9.3 miles). There’s also a 5k option that starts just after the 15k, and this year the 5k had 367 finishers while the 15k had 471 finishers, a total of 838, which is close to the same number of runners in 2009. For many runners, the 15k distance provides a good test for their upcoming half or full marathons later in the fall.

It’s a pretty course mostly through the upscale neighborhoods on the Lake Norman peninsula just north of Charlotte. It’s one of those races that draws lots of runners from a wide radius so it’s always fun to meet up with running friends I don’t get to see at the local Gaston County races.

There’s a big after-race party with music and vendor tents providing samples of their wares, and the awards ceremony is good although the age group awards are just so-so. This year it was a water bottle and a towel of some sort — I wasn’t really sure what it was or what it could be used for but maybe that’s just because I’m an old man and out of the loop.

I did have a pretty good race though. I’m currently about 10 pounds lighter than a few months ago and seem to be holding at that point even though I’d like to nudge the scale down another 5 pounds or so, which would put me in the 140-145 range. My time this year was 1:10:23, which was enough for 1st place in the 65-69 age group, and 50 seconds faster than last year. Of course it’s much slower than I ran in the same race in 2011 at age 59 (1:04:47 – 6:57 pace), but that’s one of the fringe benefits of aging. I compared my age grade percentage from this year (74.71%) with 2011 (76.64%) and on an age-graded basis I’m a little behind now, but the fall of 2011 was when I ran my best times at several distances.

So this ends two weeks of running two different races each weekend, which included a 5k, a 10k, a 15k, and a half marathon. I didn’t plan it that way and didn’t even notice it until after I had completed all of the races, but I thought it was interesting. I’m now ready to go back to one race per week, which is what I prefer.

Race Number:  398

Race Name:  Novant Health 15k/5k

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina (Cornelius/Lake Norman)

Date:  October 1, 2017

Race Rating:  101

Winners:

 

Course:  Not too hilly but definitely not flat with 334 feet of elevation climb over the course of the race. You can see the elevation data in my splits below. Notice also in the split data that the race measured about 0.15 of a mile too long, at least according to my Garmin.

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 50 degrees (felt like 48), 6 mph NNE wind, 76% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:10:23
Pace:  7:34 (7:27 on my Garmin… Course was 0.15 miles long)
Age Group:  1 of 7
Overall:  43 of 471
Average Heart Rate:  157
Maximum Heart Race:  166
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  54:46 (74.71%)

 

Thanks to my friend Kaye Sostak for catching this pic of me near the finish line!

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
8 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
0 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes (0.15/mile long)
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
2 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
3 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  101

Race #397 – Run for Hope 5k – Shelby NC – 09/30/17

This was the second year of this small 5k about 20 miles up the road in Shelby at Hope Community Church, which is just on the outskirts of town. I ran it last year and enjoyed it so I decided to go back this year too. Several friends ran it, which always adds to the appeal, and it’s an almost completely flat course with very few turns.

Post race food was great and the awards were held in the church’s activity center. The weather was fine outside but you never know when it might be cold or rainy so having an inside spot for post-race activities is a good thing.

The one drawback for the race was traffic control. There were times during the race that runners had to cross fairly busy intersections where, as far as I could tell, there was no indication to drivers that a race was going on and there were no volunteers or officers to direct traffic. At one intersection I had to go around the back of a car because I could tell the driver didn’t see me. I don’t think there were any major problems but the race started fairly late (9:00 a.m.) and by then there was quite a bit of traffic on the streets.

There were no major speedsters there and I was lucky to finish 4th overall, finishing just a few seconds after the 2nd and 3rd place runners. There were especially nice awards for the top 3 runners (both male and female) but I missed out on that. The medal for the normal age group awards was pretty nice too though.

Race Number:  397

Race Name:  Run for Hope 5k

Location:  Shelby, North Carolina (Hope Community Church)

Date:  September 30, 2017

Race Rating:  78

Winners (Top 10):

 

Course:  Almost pancake flat, through the outskirts of downtown Shelby. Nice streets but there needed to be more traffic control.

 

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 63 degrees, 63% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

Time:  22:33
Pace:  7:17
Age Group:  1 of 4
Overall:  4 of 85
Average Heart Rate:  158
Maximum Heart Race:  167
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:35 (73.84%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
0 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
6 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
7 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
x – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  78

 

Race #396 – Race 13.1 Charlotte Half Marathon – 09/24/17

This was the inaugural race in Charlotte for the Race 13.1 series and about 1,500 runners showed up for the half marathon and 8k combined. This was my second Race 13.1 series race in the past month (I ran the one in Greenville last month) so I collected an extra medal for running both races. If there is one thing this racing series excels in it’s the great medals, so it’s a great draw for the bling fans.

Post-race food included pizza and chocolate milk, which pretty much says it all for me. I’ve been in weight-loss mode for the last couple months so I’m trying to stay away from pizza, but a couple slices after a half marathon hit the spot. I can worry about eating healthy tomorrow.

The race course was predominantly along the McMullen Creek Greenway, which is a popular running area that I’ve been on quite a few times in other races (Charlotte 10-Miler in particular) and the unsanctioned half marathons that are held by some of the Charlotte runners.

I’m hoping to run at least one more Race 13.1 event this year since they have a series that requires three races in order to make your score official, but I’m not sure there’s one I can fit in. As always, so many races, so little time.

Race Number: 396

Race Name: Race 13.1 Charlotte

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Date: September 24, 2017

Race Rating:  106

Winners (Top 20 – Half Marathon):

Winners (Top 20 – 8k):

Course:  Mostly along the McMullen Creek Greenway in South Charlotte. Mostly paved but dirt sections can be a mess when it’s rainy. Nice weather today so no slop. Not too many hills but about 400 feet of total elevation gain in the half marathon.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 64 degrees, 94% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:44:06
Pace:  7:56
Age Group:  1 of 5
Overall: 93 of 837
Average Heart Rate:  154
Maximum Heart Race: 170
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:09 (71.95%)

Great medals for this race! Today I picked up a finishers medal, a special medal for completing the two races of the Interstate 85 Challenge, and a medal for winning my age group!

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
4 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  106

Race #395 – Stop Soldier Suicide 10k/5k – Belmont NC – 09/23/17

After the big trip to Texas it was good to get back home to the local races. This one’s fun and well organized, and it’s one of the few 10k opportunities in Gaston County. It’s also the third race of eight in the Gaston County YMCA fall racing series, and since I’m trying to run all of the series races this fall I definitely didn’t want to miss it, even though I’m already registered for a half marathon the next day.

I felt good and ran my fastest 10k in two years (46:48), which surprised me and probably a couple people I passed in the race, and I bumped up to 3rd overall in the YMCA race series, only 2 points behind 2nd place.

Last year there was a little bit of a snafu with the 5k race, with some runners missing the turnaround, but this year everything seemed to go smoothly.

There were a total of 286 runners in the two races (115 in the 10k and 171 in the 5k). Even though the 5k has more runners, the 10k tends to draw some fast runners who are trying to collect some of the cash prizes offered for the top three male and female runners. There’s no cash for the 5k race, and I didn’t have a chance to win any in the 10k, but for the YMCA race series, the 10k runners receive 15 bonus points for running the longer distance.

Race Number:  395

Race Name:  Stop Soldier Suicide 10k/5k

Location: Belmont, North Carolina

Date: September 23, 2017

Race Rating:  92

Winners (10k Top 20):

Winners (5k Top 20):

Course: Mostly through neighborhoods around Belmont. Not very hilly. The 5k course was out-and-back.

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start: Sunny, 68 degrees, 94% humidity.

 

Race Results:

 

My Stats:

Time:  46:48
Pace:  7:31
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall:  16 of 115
Average Heart Rate:  156
Maximum Heart Race:  165
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:22 (73.47%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
2 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
6 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
6 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
1 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   92

Race #394 – Toughest 10k Kemah – Houston, Texas – 09/17/17

It’s not often that I visit Texas, so this was a special trip and a special race for me. My wife’s brother has lived here for many years and since time seems to be going more quickly as we all age, we decided to pay him and his family a visit. Of course, I planned the trip around a race, and I found the Toughest 10k, which looked to be a fun race and quite a challenge. It’s also a fairly large race, with 1,882 finishers this year, and it’s been chosen as next year’s RRCA National Championship 10k.

We paid in advance for our flight on Southwest Airlines, our hotel, and the race, and for all of them I chose the cheapest price, which meant they were all non-refundable. That seemed reasonable at the time I made the reservations a few months earlier, but I didn’t take into account that it’s hurricane season, and on August 25th (three weeks before the race) Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area with record flooding. From North Carolina it looked like if we made the trip we’d be standing in line to get bottled water, but it turned out that just three weeks after the disastrous flooding things looked pretty good in Houston, and although there were people and businesses who lost everything in the flooding, the nation’s fourth largest city was somewhat back to business as usual.

As I hoped it would be, the race was fun but it was definitely a challenge. I couldn’t wait to check my Garmin stats and see the elevation stats. I was just a little freaked out when I read the stats: 14 feet of elevation gain and 10 feet of elevation loss. After I regained my composure I did some research online to see what happened. Turns out there’s a logical explanation for the lack of elevation data. My Garmin watch only takes into account the topographic data available and does not measure the bridge or its elevation, so even though I’m climbing up the bridge my Garmin thinks I’m on the ground below the bridge.

I read elsewhere that the Kemah bridge is actually 83 feet high, with a 4.3% grade going in one direction and a 5.0% grade in the opposite direction. We made four complete trips over the bridge, and in addition to that we ran under the bridge and back up, which must have been another 20-30 feet of uphill on each trip. Whatever the actual elevation, I had to stop and take one or two walk breaks on each uphill section, which didn’t help my time a lot but I was pretty happy with my time of 50:45, which was 1st in my age group and 87th overall out of 1,882 finishers.

Race Number:  394

Race Name:  Toughest 10k Kemah

Location:  Kemah, Texas (Just outside Houston)

Date: September 17, 2017

Race Rating:  121  (That could be a record!)

Winners:

My Age Group (65-69):

Course:  Flat and fast except for the four passes over the Kemah Bridge.

 

To give you a better idea of the race location, here’s a map of the area. The Kemah Boardwalk is on the Galveston Bay. At the top of the bridge there is a view of Galveston Bay on one side and Clear Lake on the other side. Unfortunately I was so concerned with getting over the bridge I didn’t bother to look.

Elevation:

I was kind of mortified when I saw this elevation chart, but as I explained above there was more to the elevation story.

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 75 degrees, 89% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Professional Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

Time:  50:45 (chip time)
Pace:  8:10
Age Group:  1 of 19
Overall: 87 of 1,882
Average Heart Rate:  166
Maximum Heart Race: 178
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  39:26 (67.75%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
8 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
9 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  121

I had the pleasure of meeting and starting the race with Ben Harvie (#1787), a Houston running legend and elite marathoner and triathlete who has been a member of Team USA at the ITU (International Triathlon Union) World Championships for many years. He’s also a well known Houston lawyer and all-around nice guy (as great runners tend to be). He won the 70-74 age group and beat me by 2 minutes.