|Photo courtesy of Bobby Aswell|
Well, this one got off to an interesting start. First there was Kalib Wilkinson, from Lynchburg, Virginia, who went out like a bolt of lightning, leaving everybody behind right from the beginning. He never looked back and never was challenged, finishing with a time of 1:10:06, more than 12 minutes ahead of second place. It’s not too surprising since he finished 22nd OVERALL in the 2011 Boston Marathon with a mind-boggling time of 2:19:53. The women’s winner, Molly Nunn, is one of North Carolina’s best known runners, and she finished fourth overall with a time of 1:22:40. Molly recently missed qualifying for the Olympic Trials by less than 1 minute.
But to me, the really interesting thing about the start was that as we were going down what was quite a bit of downhill in the first mile, I was in about tenth place overall. I’m the first to admit that I always start out too fast. That’s just the way I roll. It’s not ideal but it works for me probably as well or better than anything else (for instance, running equal or even negative splits like most good runners do). I knew that I was way out of my league about halfway through the first mile, but the pace seemed awfully slow, so before you know it, there I was in 2nd place, passing everybody except Kalib Wilkinson, who was in another county by then. I know how these things work and I knew it was just a matter of time before they all passed me up without so much as a “Good Job,” but I didn’t really mind knowing that was my ultimate fate. At the 1-mile marker I was still ahead of that group, and there was what appeared to be a professional photographer who was snapping photos as I tried my best to look like I belonged in front of Molly Nunn and her entourage. If he got a good picture of that, you can bet I’ll be changing my profile picture on Facebook.
|Me and Grand Masters winner
Alan Pover of England, who at
age 62 ran the race in 1:28!
So getting back to reality, by the time we reached the 3-mile marker I think I was back in about 10th place again, which was no surprise and no disappointment to me. There are a lot of fairly small hills in this race that wear you down, and two years ago, the only time I had previously run it, my time was 12 seconds slower than in the Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon, generally regarded as one of the toughest half marathon courses in the state.
I’m two years older now, and the difference in 57 and 59 is not the same as, say, 17 to 19, when two years of maturity might be a boost. Nope… I’ve received pretty much all the benefit I’m gonna get from more maturity. Having said that, I feel like I’m a better runner now than I was two years ago. Since I was a little over 1:40 then, I thought a reasonable goal for this race would be to finish in under 1:40. I seldom look at my progress in a race unless there are clocks at each mile, which wasn’t the case in this race so I wasn’t really sure how I was doing. Just yesterday I read about Dave Munger’s pre-race strategy in his blog and I made a comment telling him that he’d probably pass me 8 or 9 miles into the race. I missed it by a little bit, but there he was chugging right past me at around 10.5 miles in, just before the biggest hill. He walked for a few seconds as he said he would, but I walked for what seemed like a minute or so before running again, and before long he was completely out of sight. As he was passing me he mentioned that we were both ahead of our projected pace, which was good to hear. As I passed the 13-mile marker I thought about hitting my watch to see what my time was, but I decided I’d just rather be surprised when I see the clock. I do that often and I’ve had some good surprises and some bad surprises, but today was a good one as I finished well under my 1:40 goal with a time of 1:35:25 and winning my age group.
4 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10) (Gift Certificates)
2 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
4 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
5 – 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)
7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 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)
5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 76
Age Group: 1 of 7
Overall: 25 of 300