Race #164 – Myrtle Beach Half Marathon – Myrtle Beach, SC – 02/18/12

For the second year in a row the weather was just about perfect for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k. Last year was my first year to run the half although I was also there the previous year (2010) on that notoriously cold and wintry weekend when the race was canceled because of a freak snowstorm. This year though, just like last year, it was a little chilly at the start and by the time the race ended the temperature was up around 60 degrees and before the day was over we were able to enjoy a couple hours at the beach before heading home Saturday afternoon.

I didn’t have any huge aspirations for this race since lately I haven’t been running quite as well as I did last fall. With last year’s time of 1:34:19 I ended up in 4th place in the 55-59 age group and I thought it would be great to finish in the top 3 in the age group this year but in a race this size that draws a lot of top runners from all over I knew that wouldn’t be easy or likely. I figured that I’d be okay with a time of under 1:38. Anything more than that and I’m really out of shape or, even worse, it might be the result of an injury along the way.

As always, I took off faster than conventional wisdom would dictate, hitting the 1-mile mark at 6:32 including the 4-5 seconds it took to cross the starting line at the beginning. Butch Holt told me after the race that he saw me go by him in the crowd and figured he’d just let me go ahead and catch up with me 7 or 8 miles into the race, which I complied with perfectly. As he passed me in the 7th mile he asked if I was ready to do it again, alluding to our recent close finishes. I kind of laughed and knew he had more gas than I did on this particular day, and he slowly drifted off ahead. I looked at the heart rate display on my Garmin and I was still at around 170 beats per minute, where I had been since about the second mile. That’s pretty much the upper limit for me. My legs felt like they might go a little faster, but if I crank my heart rate up much past 170 it’s not long until I’m in oxygen debt, so with five or six miles left to run I knew I needed to reserve some energy for those last miles.

I actually felt pretty good despite being passed by what seemed like way too many runners, who I knew were running a much more even pace than I was. In the end it worked out fine. My finishing time of 1:33:48 was about a half minute faster than last year. It wasn’t a PR for me but was one of my better half marathon times so I was happy with it. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t finish in the top 3 in the age group. Actually, I wasn’t even close as the top 3 runners in the 55-59 division all finished in under 1:30, with top finisher Dave Forrest, 59, of Charlotte running an amazing 1:25:09. Even Butch Holt’s speedy finish of 1:31:21, which was a 55+ PR for him, wasn’t enough for a top 3 finish in the 60-64 age group. Of all the old speedsters in attendance, the most impressive had to be 70-year-old Richard Stotlar, who finished the half marathon with a phenomenal time of 1:29:37, which according to the South Carolina records listed on Running.net beat the half marathon record for the 70-75 age group by more than 10 minutes and was over 5 minutes faster than the SC state record for the 65-69 age group!

But enough about the really fast guys. Getting back to me, about a day and a half after the race the official results are finally online. I finished 6th of 102 runners in the 55-59 age group. Maybe one of these days I’ll crack the top 3 in my age group at Myrtle Beach but I’m mostly just happy to be somewhere in the mix.

Click Here for Official Race Results from Active.com

My Stats:

Time:  1:33:48 (chip time)
Pace:  7:09
Age Group:  6 of 102
Overall:   156 of  3,565

* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *

Note: With my new rating system (started in December 2011) there’s not a chance of any race scoring near 100. If it’s important to you, look at each individual category to see how points were earned (or not). Just trying to be more objective with the details. I generally like all of the races I run. If there’s something that really rubs me the wrong way I’ll mention it in the summary above.

RACE COURSE  (20 possible points)
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION  (6 possible points)
0 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
0 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
2 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
1 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
1 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
1 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
1 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS  (8 possible points)
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

PARKING  (8 possible points)
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
0 – No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
1 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  69

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