Race #24 – Shamrock 4 Miler – Charlotte NC – 03/21/09

Try as I may to avoid it, I still look like a ninja (an old one at that) when I dress for these cold weather races. Although it was the first race since the official beginning of spring, it was maybe 37 degrees at race time, which is not quite warm enough yet for me to run in my skibbies. The Shamrock 4 Miler is also the first race in the “Run for Your Life Grand Prix Series Presented by Asics,” which according to the Run for Your Life website, consists of “the best nine short races (5k to 15k) in the Carolinas.” It was my first actual Charlotte Grand Prix race and with the big build-up maybe I expected too much, but it didn’t seem nearly as spectacular to me as advertised. Not that it was a bad race at all — it just didn’t quite live up to all the hype of being “one of the best nine short races in the Carolinas.”
Once again, the awards were beer glasses. I guess it’s got something to do with the Irish drinking a lot of beer on St. Patty’s day (maybe all of the Irish people are too drunk to complain about being stereotyped), but come on folks… knock it off with the glasses as awards. Watching 12-year-old running phenom Alana Hadley, who was the #1 women’s runner, walk off with a beer glass seemed a little freaky. Lucky for me (Irish reference again), I didn’t win one. I finished 157th out of 824 runners, which was fine by my standards, but in my age group (55-59) I finished 6th out of 17 runners despite cutting 8 seconds off my fastest pace ever and finishing the 4-miler in 30:33 (7:39 pace).
The T-shirts were nicely designed but just short-sleeved medium-weight cotton shirts. Since all of the Grand Prix races feature “premium” shirts I was expecting maybe tech material or long sleeves, but nope.
After the race there was coffee from Iron Brew Coffee, always a plus with old coffee drinkers like me, and biscuits from one of my favorite restaurants, The Flying Biscuit. Other than that, there was some standard post-race stuff like bananas and oranges, but nothing spectacular.
Just before the awards ceremony they gave away door prizes chosen somehow by bib numbers. Probably 90% of the people in the race left before then so it seemed that about 1 out of 10 numbers called out were actually claimed by runners. People do tend to leave right after the race so that’s not too unusual, but it does remind me that there was nowhere warm for people to congregate after the race, and while that’s not always possible or always necessary, it’s definitely best when there’s shelter available.
>> Click Here for Race Results. <<

Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
5 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 78
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