Race #64 – Hendrick Marrow Program Half Marathon – Concord NC – 11/22/09

This was the inaugural running of the Hendrick Marrow Program Half Marathon held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The field of runners was small, probably 50 or 60 runners for each race (half marathon and 5k). As we lined up to run, the race director told us that they purposely didn’t advertise the race because it was the first one and they wanted to iron out all the kinks, so we were a test group of sorts, and that next year they were planning a big advertising campaign surrounding the race. Sounds logical to me. There were definite kinks to be worked out but it was truly a unique half marathon and I’m glad we ran it.
The entire race took place on the grounds of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which is huge, so it’s not hard to map out a course 13.1 miles long. We ran up and down the ZMAX Drag Strip twice (at the beginning and as we were finishing) and ran around The Dirt Track and around the outside of the big speedway before going inside and taking a lap around the big track itself, which was pretty amazing.
Spread 50 or 60 runners out over 13.1 miles and people are few and far between. Throughout most of the race I ran alone, sometimes not able to see anybody in front of me or behind me on stretches where you could see probably a quarter mile away or more. One of the biggest problems was that there weren’t enough volunteers, which I kind of expected, but it resulted in people going to wrong way on numerous occasions. There were certain areas marked very clearly with arrows and orange cones where it was obvious where to go. However, there were other areas where it seemed like you could go in different directions and there were no markings at all and nobody to point you in the right direction. I completely stopped several times just trying to figure out where to go, and a few times I just guessed and ran for a while, hoping I was going in the right direction, and fortunately I was.
There was quite a bit of criss-crossing of the paths and if a person wanted to they could have taken some huge shortcuts. For instance, as you ran onto the big track to circle it you ran through the tunnel on the left. If you wanted to slice 15 minutes or so off your time you could have gone into the tunnel on the right and headed in the other direction and bypassed the big track completely. I don’t think anybody did that since going around the big track was such a part of the experience, but in future years if the race was bigger and somebody was more interested in running a better time instead of experiencing the run around the big track, it would be a possibility. There was another point about 10 miles into the race when we were coming back to run the ZMAX drag strip where, as I passed, I thought how easy it would be to run down and take a right turn instead of taking the left turn, which was marked but you had to be looking. As I ran down the drag strip and came back up I saw somebody do that very thing. He didn’t look like he was trying to cheat but just wasn’t paying close attention to the turn. I was on the other side of the drag strip maybe 50 yards away heading in the other direction but I saw a few other people take the correct turn. I yelled over to him that he went in the wrong direction and after looking kind of disoriented for a few seconds, he turned around and headed in the right direction.
The most poignant moment of the day came long after the race was finished for most of us. I looked at the race clock and it was almost 2:40 after the start of the half marathon. About a hundred people gathered around for what we thought would be the start of the awards ceremony. Instead, the spokesperson for the Be the Match Foundation told us about the last runner on the course — I think her name was Kristen — who just lost one of her two infant sons and has another in the hospital right now waiting for a bone marrow transplant. She had traveled from Ohio to show her support for this race because of what the Hendrick Marrow Program has done for her and her family. She ran the half marathon, not so much as a runner but as a heartbroken mother who would go to the end of the earth for her children and do whatever it takes to save them. As she ran up the long straight road to the finish line we spread out on both sides and clapped and cheered and offered up as much encouragement as we could, and I don’t think there was a dry eye anywhere along that line. It has me considering the possibilities of becoming a bone marrow donor myself.
There was quite a bit of food after the race including hot coffee, which was great for thawing out on what was our first cold race of the year (amazing that the first cold-weather race came in late November). There were nice short-sleeve technical material T-shirts and they even threw in another nice cotton T-shirt from the National Guard. The overall awards were pistons from Hendrick Motorsports that were nicely inscribed with the race information, and those were pretty cool. I got one for being 3rd overall in Masters. The age group awards were for $20 discounts off of a purchase from a store I’m not familiar with (Linda got one for finishing 1st in her age group but I don’t have it with me at the moment). It’s probably not something we would use but we’ll take a closer look at it later… maybe we’ll check out the store and it’ll be great. There were also some pretty nice medals for all of the finishers of the half marathon, which was an unexpected surprise.
Finally, photographer Ron J. Deshaies of Treasured Events of Charlotte shot the photos for this race along with his wife. Anytime I see them at an event I know they’re going to provide the best pictures you’ll ever find at a race. Today Ron drove a golf cart around and seemed to be everywhere. It’s amazing and somewhat exhausting to watch him run around snapping pictures of everybody, and you can tell by his demeanor he really loves what he’s doing.

Click Here for Complete Race Results

Race Rating:

5 – 1-10  Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
4 – 1-10  Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10  Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10  Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
8 – 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)
5 – 0/5   Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6   Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
3 – 3/7   Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10  Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average) * 10 for the course minus 2 for not being marked well
3 – 1-10  Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
5 – 1-10  Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10  Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5   Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
9 – 1-10  Bathroom Facilities
5 – 0-10  Other (added 5 points for the unique race track setting)
TOTAL – 89
Half Marathon Results

 Place   Name                City           Age Gend  Time 
    1    Ben Hovis          Charlotte  NC    31   M  1:12:53
    2    George Linney      Durham  NC       34   M  1:19:40
    3    Jason Page         Durham  NC       35   M  1:22:37
    4    Tim Hennessey      Waxhaw  NC       41   M  1:25:26
    5    Kerry Seal         Cary  NC         50   M  1:25:54
    6    Rebecca Thomason                    38   F  1:34:05
    7    Brad Verburgt      Cary  NC         34   M  1:36:28
    8    Garrett Johnson    Mooresville  NC  19   M  1:40:35
    9    Richard Hefner     Gastonia  NC     57   M  1:42:16
   10    Tom Knox           Concord  NC      42   M  1:43:58
   11    Kirk Marino        Indan Trail  NC  38   M  1:47:46
   12    Joe Tindale        Rock Hill  SC    31   M  1:49:20
   13    Sean Marvin        York  SC         42   M  1:49:20
   14    Anthony Read       Mooresville  NC  49   M  1:50:46
   15    Robert Verburgt    Cary  NC         61   M  1:51:32
   16    Steve Kirk         Durham  NC       31   M  1:56:41
   17    Juan Gonzalez      Durham  NC       28   M  1:56:41
   18    Dennis Furr                         38   M  1:57:21
   19    Andreas Farrenkopf Rehau  NA        48   M  1:57:37
   20    Bobbi Carter       Concord  NC      35   F  1:58:16
   21    John Cox           Graham  NC       40   M  1:58:51
   22    Philip Bugaiski    Charlotte  NC    37   M  1:59:15
   23    Scott Yates        Cornelius  NC    35   M  2:00:27
   24    Scott Oberschlake  Buford  GA       35   M  2:00:56
   25    Atkins Michael     Raleigh  NC      37   M  2:03:27
   26    Jim Clark          Huntersville  NC 32   M  2:03:50
   27    Reba McLaughlin    Charlotte  NC    47   F  2:05:32
   28    Pamela Gross       Mooresville  NC  30   F  2:05:40
   29    Valerie Springle   Charlotte  NC    33   F  2:05:51
   30    Erin Crane         Charlotte  NC    27   F  2:05:52
   31    Junior McLaughlin  Charlotte  NC    45   M  2:05:57
   32    Michele Clark      Harrisburg  NC   36   F  2:06:58
   33    Julia Horn         Harrisburg  NC   41   F  2:07:45
   34    Doug Ferriss       Charlotte  NC    67   M  2:08:08
   35    Kandace Thomas     Mt Pleasant  NC  18   F  2:09:06
   36    Diane Filer        Cary  NC         50   F  2:22:51
   37    Jerry Walton       Raleigh  NC      56   M  2:26:10
   38    Jan Pigeon         Durham  NC       47   F  2:26:59
   39    Jon Walk                            42   M  2:29:22
   40    Kristin Akin       Ballwin  MO      34   F  2:40:25


5k Results
 Place   Name                             
    1    Alejandro Arreola Charlotte  NC     28   M  17:35
    2    Chris Cave        Charlotte  NC     31   M  17:55
    3    Andrew Kendall    Charlotte  NC     14   M  18:53
    4    Kyle Davis                          20   M  19:00
    5    Zack McGinnis     Durham  NC        15   M  19:07
    6    Sheila Wakoma                       45   F  20:16
    7    Brett Sumpter     Mooresville  NC   23   M  21:34
    8    Kyle Cliff        Concord  NC       14   M  22:44
    9    Austin Walker     Harrisburg  NC    11   M  23:09
   10    Matt Washko       Salisbury  NC     11   M  23:10
   11    Michele Hoheiser  Lincolnton  NC    38   F  23:36
   12    Jeff Fabian       Huntersville  NC  45   M  24:38
   13    Clay Dellinger                      37   M  25:09
   14    Joey Arnold                         41   M  25:13
   15    Joseph Phillips   Huntersville  NC  15   M  25:21
   16    Christopher Toma  Cornelius  NC     28   M  25:27
   17    Sara Fabian       Huntersville  NC  37   F  25:32
   18    Delano Santos     Charlotte  NC     32   M  25:33
   19    Lindsey Olson     Harrisburg  NC    14   F  25:44
   20    Aubrey Losack     Apex  NC          12   F  26:21
   21    Scott Harkey      Concord  NC       29   M  26:19
   22    Bill Penn         Chesnee  SC       47   M  26:29
   23    Chuck Masterton   Charlotte  NC     47   M  26:37
   24    Nicholas Losack   Apex  NC          10   M  27:01
   25    Andy Forsymle                       30   M  26:58
   26    Candace Wood      Huntersville  NC  39   F  27:10
   27    Brooke Banther    Lake Toxaway  NC  21   F  27:59
   28    Jennifer Csizmar  Cullowhee  NC     26   F  27:59
   29    Michele Gibbs     Charlotte  NC     49   F  28:49
   30    Stephanie Dunn    Harrisburg  NC    36   F  28:52
   31    Rebecca Fish      Harrisburg  NC    31   F  28:52
   32    Nicole Warshauer  Charlotte  NC     26   F  29:25
   33    Shannon Blankensh Mooresville  NC   24   F  29:25
   34    Sandy Townsend    Charlotte  NC     36   F  29:30
   35    Portia Eley       Charlotte  NC     42   F  29:49
   36    Tonya Burkhardt   Fort Mill  SC     31   F  30:06
   37    Laura Haid        Charlotte  NC     34   F  30:06
   38    Tom Lowrie        Mooresville  NC   37   M  30:47
   39    Fernanda Knusel                     29   F  31:37
   40    Amy Masterton     Huntersville  NC  41   F  32:02
   41    Glenn Parks       Lauderhill  FL    44   M  32:04
   42    Daryl Treadwell   Charlotte  NC     25   M  32:15
   43    Jordan Eley       Charlotte  NC     12   M  32:17
   44    Linda Hefner      Gastonia  NC      57   F  32:23
   45    Cherly Rape       Rockwell  NC      41   F  32:30
   46    Kellie Dixon                        28   F  33:03
   47    Kevin Cliff       Concord  NC       44   M  33:29
   48    Jennifer Samuels                    27   F  33:42
   49    Jyl Deering       Cornelius  NC     28   F  34:33
   50    Rich Davis                          56   M  35:36
   51    Tom McGinnis      Durham  NC        45   M  36:15
   52    Heather Buckelew  Concord  NC       37   F  48:29
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