This was the third race in the Run for Your Life Grand Prix series and it’s a big one, with about 2,000 runners. I’m pretty sure it’s also the only evening race in Charlotte so that was a nice variation from the norm. Just like the Corporate Challenge half marathon a couple months ago, the race began and ended at the Wachovia Atrium and the awards ceremony as well as the pre- and post-race activities were all held inside the Atrium, which is hard to beat as a nice place for runners to congregate.
Having just run the New Jersey Marathon five days ago and coming away with a sore left calf and hobbling around for a couple days, I wasn’t even sure I’d make it to this one, but I ran a couple of easy miles on Thursday and felt pretty good. Since I’m 3rd in my age group in the Grand Prix I wanted to at least finish this one, and I was really happy to finish in 22:36, only about a minute slower than my PR.
I heard several people mention it was a hilly course, and there were a few pretty good hills, but I thought overall it was flatter than most races. Even so, I ended up reverting to my Gallowalking roots and took three short walks during the race. I had intended to run the whole way as I’ve been doing in 5k races, but I probably started out a little too fast in the first mile and it’s nice to be able to revert to walking without feeling too guilty about it when I need to. All finishers of the race received a finishers medal, which was really nicely designed and definitely not expected in a 5k race.
One beef I had with this race was the race-day registration form. It was designed with those little boxes where you write one letter in each box. The problem was that the boxes were so small you couldn’t write small enough to form a letter, and even if you could write that small it’s unlikely somebody could read it. Sure enough, when the results came out I was listed as “Richard Jefner” instead of “Richard Hefner.” Might have just been a typo but could have been just too hard to read. I know it wouldn’t have been a problem if I had pre-registered online, but I didn’t want to pre-register since I wasn’t sure I could run it.
Also, they had a limited number of T-shirts so if you registered on race day you didn’t get a shirt. That’s understandable and the way it usually works, but it’s nice to get a discount of $5 or $10 if you don’t get a shirt. You’re already paying extra bucks to register on race day, and having to pay more on top of not getting a shirt is not a good policy.