It was slim pickin’s in the Charlotte area for races this weekend so we slid down Interstate 77 to the Hot Summer’s Night 5k in Columbia, South Carolina. I’m not sure of the official temperature at the 7 p.m. race time, but it was probably somewhere between 85 and 90 degrees, so it was probably too hot to be running, but I was happy we did it, at least after it was over. It was our first race in the Columbia area, and it was one of the Palmetto Grand Prix races. The race management by Strictly Running seemed excellent and included computers with fairly large and readable screens with the results just after you finished the race and an announcer who encouraged you across the finish line.
The course was pretty much flat, with just a few small inclines, but with the way I felt in the heat I decided to take a 20-second walk break in both the 2nd and 3rd mile and definitely felt better for it. I had been maybe 20 or 30 yards in back of two guys who appeared to be about my age and I figured I’d lose them if I walked, but whaddya know, I caught both of them after the two walk breaks and managed to pass them in the last tenth of a mile or so. Chalk another one up for the Jeff Galloway run-walk-run method! I finished 2nd in the Male 55-59 division with a time of 22:51.
The food was a little spread out — water and sports drinks at the finish line, more than enough pizza for everybody about 20 or 30 yards away, then across the field by the Hand Middle School (where the race registration was held) there was more fruit (including some great watermelon, apples, oranges, bananas) and lots of cookies.
We registered at the race and were too late to get one of the official race shirts but instead they gave us a Strictly Running shirt that says “See Ya” in big letters on the back. It’s white and cotton, but it’s a good one that will actually get worn.
It appeared that most (maybe all) of the Palmetto Grand Prix races have a professional photographer on hand at their races so I was happy to leave my camera in the car. The photos are pending as I write this but I’ll include a link to where they’ll be found when they’re available.
8 – 1-10 Website (Informaton, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 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)
5 – 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)
7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
5 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
5 – 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)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
4 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 0-10 Other
TOTAL – 95