This one’s in a class by itself. With approximately 15,000 participants, it’s by far the biggest race of the year in the Charlotte area, and for many people it’s the one race they attend each year. Actually, the competitive race itself isn’t nearly as big as the overall event itself, and probably about 12,000 of the participants walked the course instead of running it, to support the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer. No doubt it’s one of the most worthy causes as it has affected all of us in one way or another, if not directly at least through someone we know. Since this blog deals with the competitive side of the race, I’ll leave the important stuff like curing cancer to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which seems to be doing an amazing job, and I’ll just talk a little about the competitive race.
There were 1,453 finishers in the competitive 5k race, which started 30 minutes or so before the noncompetitive run/walk. I started up near the front so I could get out ahead of the crowd, and that worked out fine. Part of the course was out-and-back and as we passed people who were still on their way out it looked like it was elbow to elbow. In my own age group (55-59) I chased Bob Nelson pretty much the whole race as I usually do and he pulled away from me in the third mile so I’m still batting .000 against him although I seem to be gaining a little ground. I was happy with my 2nd place age group finish though and 39th place overall out of 1453 runners. My time of 21:05 tied my Personal Record so I’ll have to wait for another time to beat that 21-minute mark. I guess the 20-second walk I took in the last mile might have not been a great idea. Here are my mile splits…
Mile 1 — 6:42
Mile 2 — 6:32
Mile 3 — 7:15
After the race there was quite a festival atmosphere with plenty of free stuff from different businesses supporting the Komen cause as well as some good food too (ice cream, Starbucks coffee, Snickers Marathon bars, Lay’s chips, smoothies, etc.).
The age group awards were medals, which I always appreciate as opposed to some of the creative awards given at races lately. The awards ceremony itself was kind of a dud though, since the competitive race was more of a side item than a major event. Good cause though, so I won’t complain… I’m all for saving the boobies.
Parking actually wasn’t too bad. We parked in one of the Wachovia parking garages just a couple blocks away and it really wasn’t that crowded, and I was pleasantly surprised when we left that there was no charge.
One thing they could do better is the T-shirts. It’s kind of surprising with Komen being a PR juggernaut that they don’t have a T-shirt that makes people want one and also want to wear it everywhere they go.
8 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
4 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
4 – 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)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 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)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
10 -10 Other (it’s a good cause… gotta save the ta-tas).
TOTAL – 92