Note to Self: Don’t wear the 3.6 ounce racing flats the next time you run a half marathon.
It’s not that they’re not comfortable. They actually feel great and they’re the only shoes that keep my piggies from crying wee-wee-wee all the way home after a race. I’ve been wearing them for 5k races and wore them again for my 10k in Huntsville this past Monday, and they felt so good I decided I’d wear them in Hickory’s hilly but fantastic Charity Chase Half Marathon. Bad idea. After 5 or 6 miles my feet still felt fine, but the constant pounding without any cushioning to speak of took its toll, and the last 5 miles of the race ranged from mildly unpleasant to pretty durn painful. As I write this about 8 hours after the race, my feet feel great (no sore toes!) but I think every muscle is my legs is sore, so after that successful experiment I will now return to wearing trainers for any race longer than a 10k.
But enough about me and my piggies and sore legs. This is my second year running the Charity Chase Half Marathon, and although it does rank up there with some of the most difficult half marathons because of the numerous hills, it’s absolutely one of the most awesome races you’ll find anywhere. Bobby Aswell, Jr., who has run more than 160 full marathons as well as countless other races ran his first Charity Chase Half Marathon today and stated on his Facebook page after the race, “Awesome race. One of the best races I’ve ever run. Will definitely go back.” It’s hard to put your finger on just one thing about this race that makes it so good, but I’ll try to list a few of the outstanding features…
- Water Stops — This is the only race I’ve ever run where each water stop is manned by workers from different charities. They compete to see who can provide the best water stop and after the race the runners are encouraged to vote for their favorite stops, and the top vote-getters receive more for their charities. Every one of them did a great job, and what a huge difference it makes when something is at stake for their charity.
- Ice Cold Towels at 10 Miles — When’s the last time you were in a race where they handed out ice cold wet towels at the 10-mile mark in the race? I’ve never seen it until now. I held on to mine like a security blanket for the rest of the race and it was really nice to have. I was offered a fresh one at the finish line.
- Swag — A nice reusable cloth shopping bag from Fleet Feet contained a Balance nutrition bar, a packet of Biofreeze, a magnetic chip clip, a couple of notepads, and various other small things. You also got a free pair of Balega socks that retail for about $10 (you could choose the size).
- T-Shirt — Every year the Charity Chase T-shirt is fantastic — a nicely designed high quality tech t-shirt. I was disappointed last year when I messed up my Charity Chase shirt trying to pin a race number on it just a couple weeks after the race. This year after the race they were selling what was left over of last year’s shirts for 5 bucks so I bought two of them.
- Post Race Food — Lots of tasty food is provided to runners after the race. This year it included Cheerwine, Rita’s Italian Ice, Papa John’s pizza, chicken biscuits, popcorn, and a variety of pastries, bagels, fruit, water, and sports drinks.
- Crowd Support — It’s not exactly the New York City Marathon, but for a city the size of Hickory there’s great crowd support, although I guess a lot of it comes from the charity volunteers. Still, it’s appreciated and you hardly ever find yourself running very far without some encouraging shout-outs along the way.
- Live Footage at the Finish Line — If your friends or family couldn’t make it to the race there was over two hours of live footage broadcast live on the Internet from Livestream that recorded every finisher as they crossed the finish line.
- Race Size — It’s limited to 600, which is big enough without being too big. I like being able to park a hundred yards from both the starting line and finish line.
- Awards and Awards Ceremony — The age group awards are cool little bobbehead trophies, identical to what was given in this year’s much larger Knoxville Marathon. Nice finisher medals are also provider to everybody who finishes the race. My friend Sharon Davis was 3rd overall female and received a nice trophy (not a bobblehead) along with a gift certificate for $50 (not sure what 1st and 2nd got). The awards ceremony is very well done also and it seemed that most people hung around for the awards.
I’m sure I’m leaving out some things, but you get the idea. If you’re looking for a first class half marathon to add to your calendar for next year, look no further… you won’t be disappointed!
7 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
10 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
9 – 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)
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)
7 – 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)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 105
1st Overall Male: Josh Baker (1:15:04)
1st Overall Female: Katy Gane (1:33:08)
Total Finishers: 471
Age Group (55-59): 3 of 11 (27.3%)
Overall: 55 of 471 (11.7%)