Race #409 – Charleston Half Marathon – Charleston, SC – 01/13/18

There were a lot of firsts in this race: It was my first race ever in Charleston (not sure why), my first race of the year, my first half marathon of the year, and the first time I’m seriously considering never running another half marathon. I’m actually already registered for three or four more already this year, but I’ll have to see how things go between now and those races. As I write this, the race was about ten days ago and I’m still recovering. Gone are the days that I can run a half marathon and not give it a second thought and be ready to run another one the next weekend.

My race wasn’t exactly terrible although it was slower than any half marathon I ran in 2017. The race didn’t go over the big  bridge so it was almost entirely flat, so I don’t have the elevation excuse. There was a lot of wind and we ran into a headwind for about the final 10 miles of the race, so that slowed me down a little, but I think I’m reaching the point where my main obstacle is age. Next month I’ll be 66 and I’m starting to feel like it. As much as I’d like to be an ageless wonder I don’t think it’s gonna happen, so I’m rethinking my running goals. I’ll probably run a few more half marathons this year, mostly because I’m already registered, but I think I’ll start concentrating on shorter races — mostly 5k — in hopes that I still have some decent races ahead of me. Only time will tell.

Okay, so I haven’t said much about the race itself. It was fine — well organized, nice course (especially the first half of the race), good food afterwards, and nice age group medal awards.

Despite being slower than I would like, I still managed to win the 65-69 age group with a time of 1:48:28 (chip time). That’s 106 half marathons in a row under 2 hours but I have a feeling that streak might end this year.

I should probably finish this blog entry before I complete depress myself to the point of retirement. I’ve got a 4k and an 8k race scheduled for this Saturday, which will be two weeks after the half, and at this point my I’m just hoping my bum knee will allow me to finish the 4k without too much grief. I’ll probably skip the 8k. We’ll see.

NOTE: I accidentally left my Garmin watch at home so I don’t have the normal stats such as elevation, weather, and course map. 

Race Number:  409

Race Name:  Charleston Half Marathon

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Date:  January 13, 2018

Race Rating:  98

Winners:

Course:  Point-to-point flat course around The Battery and through the historic section of Charleston then north for 10 miles, ending in North Charleston.

Elevation:  Not sure of the exact elevation since I forgot my watch, but almost completely flat.

Weather at Start:  Clearing skies after a lot of rain the previous day, temps in the mid-40s that felt colder with the 10-20 mph winds.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  1:48:28  (chip)
Pace:  8:16
Age Group:  1 of 14
Overall:  319 of 2437
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:24:33 (69.05%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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
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!
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)
0 – 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
8 – 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
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
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
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
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:  98

 

Race #408 – Mt. Mourne VFD Elf 5k – Mooresville, NC – 12/23/17

There’s no fancy website for this race, and from the name it would seem to be just another nondescript small town 5k, but it’s actually one of the best 5k races of the year. There’s always great food, a flat course, door prizes, and a warm place to stay (inside the fire station) both before and after the race. There’s usually a good crowd despite being Christmas week when a lot of people are away from home, and there are always a lot of fast runners in attendance.

I was pretty happy with my time this year of 22:39 although I was 22 seconds behind Bob Nelson, who’s running well right now. Bob and I have been back and forth a lot over the years and this time around he definitely had the edge. I would have probably been a few seconds slower but I kept getting yelled at by Brenny Thompson, who let me have it every time I walked. I didn’t walk at all in the last mile and I’m pretty sure without him nudging me along I would have walked another time or two, so I actually appreciate the extra motivation.

The results say Brenny beat me at the finish line. I say I got him by a smidge. He says he beat me by a grimace. Thanks to Bobby Aswell for the photo.

Race Number:  408

Race Name: Mount Mourne VFD Elf 5k

Location:  Mount Mourne, North Carolina (Mooresville)

Date: December 23, 2017

Race Rating: 104

Winners (Top 10):

Course:  Out-and-back course in the country, almost completely flat. There’s a total of 84 feet of elevation gain in the race with 65 feet of the gain in the third mile.

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start:  Cloudy, 57 degrees, 11 mph SSW wind, 88% humidity

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  22:39
Pace:  7:18
Age Group:  2 of 8
Overall: 40 of 205
Average Heart Rate:  157
Maximum Heart Race:  170
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:40 (73.51%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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)
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
7 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
10 – 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
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
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) [Extra points for all indoors (except for the race)]

TOTAL:   104

Race #407 – Run Run Rudolph 10k – Charlotte, NC – 12/16/17

It’s no secret that I’m about as soft as they come in regards to cold weather, and the 25-degree temperature as this race began would ordinarily be enough to dissuade me from leaving home, but since I had wimped out the previous week because of some ice and (a little bit) of snow, I figured I’d better run this week regardless of the weather before I completely drop out of wintertime running. I know it’s North Carolina, and it’s balmy here in comparison to much of the country, but that fact provides little comfort to a cold-weather hater like myself.

I bundled up with around 5 extra pounds of clothing, negating any benefits that cold weather running might provide over racing in hot weather, and once the race got underway it actually wasn’t too bad. Much of the first mile was uphill so it didn’t take long to at least get tired if not completely thawed out. The second mile was predominantly downhill so that provided some relief after the long uphill. The third mile was more of a combination of rolling hills, and since I chose the 10k option instead of the 5k, when I arrived at the 5k finish line I had the pleasure of continuing to run the exact same course a second time, complete with all the hills. Elevation gain for the 10k was 483 feet according to my Garmin, which turned out to be quite a bit more hills than I was anticipating.

As I crossed the 5k finish line my time was 23:51 and I started wondering whether I might actually cross over into the dreaded 50+ minutes for my 10k time. I did slow down some the second time around but still managed to stay under 50 minutes with a time of 49:05. I’d like to attribute being a little slower to age or hills, but it’s probably got more to do with my recent poor diet and gaining back the 10 pounds I had lost a few months ago. The story of my life.

After the race the hot chocolate bar was fantastic, so just in case my 10k had caused me to burn 500 or so extra calories I made sure to offset any deficits. Wouldn’t want to get rid of that 10 pounds ya know.

Race Number:  407

Race Name: Run Run Rudolph 5k/10k

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina (University Research Park)

Date:  December 16, 2017

Race Rating:  89

Top Finishers:

Participants:

Course: Surprisingly hilly loop course through University Business Park. The 10k was 2 loops of the 5k course.

Elevation:

Elevation Gain/Loss by Mile:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 25 degrees, calm wind, 86% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  49:05
Pace:  7:53
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall:  17 of 99
Average Heart Rate:  155
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  38:08 (70.05%)

Jeff Linson snapped this picture of him and me just as he was leaving this race to go to his 2nd of 3 races this Saturday, ending the year with 77 total races.

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – 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)
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
5 – 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)
6 – 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) (Nice long sleeve hoodie!)
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
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (nice hoodie!)

TOTAL:  89

 

Race #406 – GOTR Fall 5k – Belmont, NC

The Girls on the Run Fall 5k in Belmont was the last race in the Gaston County YMCA race series. I was in 2nd place for the fall series going into the race, just a few points ahead of Andy Cook. He got me today with two additional runners between us, but I still managed to squeak by him in the series, 756 points to 753. Neither of us had a chance to catch Jimmy Glover, who finished the series with 818 points, but we had fun with the extra competition over the 9-race series, which added an additional element to the local races this year.

Girls on the Run is a popular program for 4th through 7th grade girls and they were the main event in this race, with close to 1,000 girls participating. There’s a similar program for boys called Let Me Run, and I’m hoping to get my now 9-year-old grandson who lives in Charlotte involved in that next year if I can figure out a way to bribe him. I’ve offered to be his running partner but to him that seems like more of a threat than a promise.

Race Number:  406

Race Name:  Gaston County Girls on the Run Fall 5k

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina

Date: December 2, 2017

Race Rating:  101

Winners (Top 25):

Course:  Begins and ends in Stowe Park in downtown Belmont, winding through the city and surrounding neighborhoods.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Cloudy, 52 degrees, 8 mph NE wind, 76% humidity.

Click Here for Free Photos

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  22:44
Pace:  7:19
Age Group:  1 of 4
Overall:  11 of 879
Average Heart Rate:  159
Maximum Heart Race: 170
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:44 (73.24%)

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun 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
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
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
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
3 – 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)
5 – 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)
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 [free]
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
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 #405 – ChristmasTown 5k – McAdenville, NC – 11/25/17

It’s Gaston County’s most popular race, limited to 1200 runners, and if you want to run it you need to register well in advance since it fills up quickly. The Town of McAdenville is known as ChristmasTown USA, and each December the tiny town with less than 700 permanent residents lights up the night with more than a half million lights to celebrate the season. The lights don’t officially start until December 1st but for the past four years this race has given a sneak preview for runners, being held the last Saturday night in November.

The streets start closing at 4:30 p.m., so if you want to park close to the race venue you need to get there early. Linda and I got there about 4:20 so we were able to park just down the steps from the YMCA, where the after-party is held. Arriving early is actually half the fun as you get to check out what runners are wearing, and with awards for costumes as well as the race it gets pretty interesting.

The race starts downhill right through the middle of town, then it’s flat across the bridge and back. After that it’s nothing but hills — some up, and some down — until the final climb back up to where the race started. The whole race only has about 230 feet of elevation gain but that’s quite a bit in a 5k, and for some reason it seems to be even more, maybe because the uphill is concentrated in the final two miles.

I surprised myself by running better than I did at the Turkey Trot two days earlier, and I was over a minute faster than in this same race last year. I even managed to squeak out a little bit of breathing room for 2nd place in the Gaston County YMCA series. With next week’s race being the final race of the series I’ve got a great chance of finishing 2nd overall unless I break something before then or implode during the race, which is always possible. There’s no way I can overtake Jimmy Glover for 1st place. Jimmy is a phenomenal 61-year-old runner who might be the fastest runner over 60 years old in the state.

Another surprise regarding this race was when I received an email from the President of the McAdenville Women’s Club, the co-sponsors of the race. She said they appreciated my continued support of the race and my honest reviews, and as a small token of their appreciation they were giving me bib #1. I really do appreciate it, and YES, I can be bought! For that they receive 10 extra points in my completely objective and non-biased ratings system! Those 10 extra points plus $1 and tax will get you any size soft drink at any participating McDonald’s. And to keep it fair, if you’ve read this far you’ll know that you can just subtract the 10 points from the total for a more objective rating.

Thanks to Steve Rankin, who did a great job with race photography! Photos can be found on the McAdenville Women’s Club webpage (link below).

 

Race Number:  405

Race Name:  ChristmasTown 5k

Location:  McAdenville, North Carolina

Date:  November 25, 2017

Race Rating:  106

Winners (Top 30):

Course:  Main and side streets in the Town of McAdenville. Lots of hills, both up and down.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Clear, 52 degrees, 76% humidity.

Click Here for Photos on McAdenville Women’s Club Website

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  22:31
Pace:  7:16
Age Group:  1 of 12
Overall:  26 of 1,012
Average Heart Rate:  159
Maximum Heart Race:  171
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:33 (73.95%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – 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
5 – 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
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!
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)
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
5 – 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
3 – 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
0 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
7 – 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
0 – 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
10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  106

Race #404 – Ruby C. Hunt Turkey Trot 5k – Boiling Springs, NC – 11/23/17

I’ve been wanting to run this race for years but something always interferes such as traveling for Thanksgiving or being obligated for another race in a series, but this year it fit right into my schedule.

This race on and around the campus of Gardner-Webb University is the biggest race of the year in neighboring Cleveland County and a lot of folks from my running group run it as well as quite a few friends who live in Cleveland County.

Packet pickup and race-day registration are held in the university gym, which provided some shelter from the cold before the race, and after the race you could go in the gym but the awards and other post-race activities were held outside. By the end of the race the temperature managed to squeak into the low 40s and in the sunshine it wasn’t too bad for a cold weather hater like myself, or at least it was relatively balmy compared to the temperature in Charlotte at my previous race two weeks ago.

I wasn’t overjoyed by my chip time of 23:01 in this race, as I’ve regained pretty much all of the 10 pounds that I had lost during a couple months of dieting. I’m now attempting to climb my way back on the weight loss wagon but it remains to be seen if I can hang with it with my wintertime hibernation instincts kicking in.

On the bright side, even though I walked seven times (ouch) in this 5k I still managed to win the 65-69 age group thanks to all of the other old guys being in even worse shape than me.

I did enjoy the race and I’m hoping it can become a more regular stop for me on future Thanksgiving mornings.

Race Number:  404

Race Name:  Ruby C. Hunt Turkey Trot 5k & Fun Run

Location:  Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Date:  November 23, 2017

Race Rating:  96

Winners (Top 10 Overall):

Course:  Some rolling hills on paved streets on the campus of Gardner-Webb University and neighborhood streets in Boiling Springs.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, feels like 32 degrees, 4 mph NNE wind, 86% humidity. (Usually my Garmin gives me the exact temperature at the start but for some reason it only reported the “Feels Like” temperature of 32 degrees at the time of the race.)

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos on Facebook

My Stats:

Time:  23:01 (chip)
Pace:  7:25
Age Group:  1 of 12
Overall:  58 of 832
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:57 (72.34%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – 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)
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
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)
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 (online)

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
4 – 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
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  96

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%)

***************
* 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
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%)

***************
* 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