I could write a whole book about this race. Fortunately for my readers, I just drove 400+ miles from Huntsville to Gastonia and I’m so exhausted and it’s so late that I’ll limit my enthusiasm to just a few sentences.
Runner’s World ranked this race as one of the Top 100 road races in the United States, and it really was a spectacular race. Almost every aspect was outstanding. The 10k had 2,048 finishers and the 5k almost as many.
Most notably for me, this was the final race of the Running Journal Grand Prix. I finished 3rd of 82 runners in my age group in this one, and for the season finished in the top 3 runners in all seven RJ Grand Prix races that I ran, and at the awards ceremony I received a plaque as “Male Grand Masters Champion” for the year (that’s ages 50-59)! I’d love to take a few minutes here to blow my horn, but it’s lights out in 20 minutes so I’ll just say it’s a biggy for me. I won’t be chosen for the next Olympics and probably won’t knock the top out of the New York City Marathon in November, so as an old man running road races this is probably my crowning achievement.
It was also a big day for several other Charlotte area runners. Jerry Sofley, also from Gastonia, won the award as “Senior Grand Masters Champion” (ages 60-69), Bob Nelson of Charlotte was the 55-59 Age Group Champion, and Jim Strowd of Davidson was 2nd place in the 65-69 age group.
In the 5k, my wife Linda was 6th of 30 runners in her age group and finished in the top 50% of all runners in the race. I’m gonna have to keep an eye on her… she might be trying to overtake me and become the family champion.
On Sunday night Jerry and his wife Martha, Bob and his wife Patty, and Linda and I all went out for pizza and had a great time visiting and getting to know each other better. On Monday morning in the race, as we’ve been doing for months now, Bob and I were neck and neck the entire race, probably never more than about 30 feet from each other the entire 6.2 miles. It keeps both of us motivated.
9 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
10 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10) (Free pizza, ice cream, and more!)
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)
8 – 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)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
6 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 109
Age Group: 3 of 82
Overall: 125 of 2048