We were able to sleep in today since this week’s race was a rare afternoon event. You’d think Charlotte Motor Speedway would be a great place for a road race, and it does have certain advantages such as being private property so you don’t have to worry about clearing off the public streets at a certain time, but this was the second race we’ve run at the speedway and one drawback of both races has been the parking situation. That seems a little odd since there are probably 50,000 parking spaces or so — surely more than any other location in the Charlotte area — but sometimes more is not better. There were parking attendants directing people on where to park, but our parking spot was probably about a half mile from where race registration was taking place. We arrived around 2:30, which was 30 minutes before race time. We were able to jog down and make it in time, but it’s still nice to be able to park more closely.
In the end, it hardly mattered that we parked a half mile from the starting line, because we ended up at the finish line on the big track at the speedway. There might have been a faster way out but if that was the case, we couldn’t find it, so we and everyone who was leaving as we did just backtracked the way we ran in, and after walking a mile or so we ended up at our cars.
There were 625 finishers in the race, which makes it a fairly large race. Any time there are that many runners there should be a starting mat, which would allow everybody to be timed fairly beginning when they cross the starting line. I was near the front so it wasn’t an issue for me, but after I ran all the way down the dragstrip and returned 4 minutes later, there were some people who had just crossed the starting line. Since everybody’s time started as soon as the gun went off, that means some people’s times were as much as 3 or 4 minutes slower just because of their position at the start.
Lord knows I don’t like to complain (huh??), but while I’m at it, the coup de grace, was the age group awards. I know everybody’s not interested in such trivialities, but quite a few of us are interested, and we’re the ones who are most likely to frequent the races. There were awards for the top 3 male and female finishers as well as the top 3 male and female masters (ages 40 and up), and that’s fine, but it was definitely downhill from there. The age group awards went 1-deep in 10-year age groups, which is pathetic. I knew that going in since the website said that’s how the awards were, but it still stinks. I finished 2nd out of 40 runners in the 50-59 age group (I’m 59) and 22nd overall in the race, but still didn’t place. I would hope they’ll consider normal age groups and awards in the future (3 deep in 5-year age groups).
I seem to be getting a little grumpy here, so I’ll try to change gears before I have to go take a nerve pill or something. There were some good things about the race… It’s a nice place to run and it’s not everyday you get to run a race at a major speedway. They showed the finish line and all the finishers on the Jumbotron (the world’s largest HD video board) and the post race food was pretty good. Run for Your Life always does a good job posting the results quickly and getting them online. Also the post race food was pretty good, with lots of assorted snacks and fruit as well as some of the tastiest bagels I’ve ever had, and there was plenty of it.
I’ll be 60 next time this race rolls around, which would possibly give me a better chance to get that one top spot in the age group, but it’s really deeper than that. I’m a conscientious objector when it comes to 10-year age groups anyway, and only one award in a 10-year age group is ridiculous, so I’d probably just stay away on general principles unless it changes.
Click Here for Race Results
9 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10) (there just weren’t enough)
7 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 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)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
6 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
2 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average) (bad logistics from start to finish)
7 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
0 – 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 – 69
Age Group: 2 of 40 (50-59 age group)
Overall: 22 of 625 (3.5%)