Race #166 – Sarasota Half Marathon – Sarasota, FL – 03/11/12

It’s Monday morning and we’re finally home after a long weekend that began last Thursday. I could write a book about all that happened between then and now. Fortunately for everyone, I don’t have time for that since I’ve got to get back to work and catch up with everything I’ve neglected for the past few days, so I’ll just hit a few highlights.

The purpose of our trip to Sarasota wasn’t really the race, but rather the RRCA Coach Certification program where I spent all day Friday and Saturday (RRCA stands for Road Runners Club of America). If everything goes according to plan, I should complete the certification process within the next month or two and be an RRCA certified long distance running coach. I learned a lot and am excited about the future prospects of being able to help some other people (probably mostly old runners like me) meet their running goals.

As promised above, I’ve got to keep this short because of time constraints. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful setting for a race than this one, especially in the middle of winter. It was still dark when the race began at 7 a.m. on the first day of Daylight Savings Time. I don’t know anybody in Sarasota so before the race I was excited to see Alan Pover, an amazing 63-year-old runner from England who comes over to the US several times a year to race. We became friends at the Davidson Half Marathon last year and have exchanged a few emails about some races we might both be doing, but I hadn’t seen him again until this race. I caught up with him and we warmed up together before the race and he told me he had a feeling he’d see me at this race, which was odd for me since I’d never even been near Sarasota before. I knew any chance of finishing before Alan was out of the question but I still hoped to finish in the top 3. It ended up that Alan got a bad start, getting “stuck in the loo” he told me later and starting at the back of the pack. Still he caught me in about the 7th mile of the race and was gone. He won the 60-64 age group by 2 seconds over another fast geezer from Pennsylvania and I was fortunate to pick up 3rd place. The age group awards were great — a separate custom-made medal along with a gift certificate for a free meal for two FirstWatch — The Daytime Cafe, the business that sponsored the race. We were able to find one of the local FirstWatch restaurants and have lunch there before our flight out of Florida, and it was delicious. The flight home was not quite as fantastic. For some reason the flight was delayed out of Sarasota and we ended up missing our connecting flight in Atlanta. We did eventually make it home about 11 p.m. Sunday night, frazzled but thankful for the whole experience.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos

My Stats:

Time:  1:35:15
Pace:  7:16
Age Group:  3 of 64 (4.7%)
Overall:   74 of  2,147 (3.4%)

* 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)
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
2 – 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)
5 – 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
1 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 – 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)
2 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – 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
0 – 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
2 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

PARKING  (8 possible points)
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – 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
x – 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
1 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  78

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2 Replies to “Race #166 – Sarasota Half Marathon – Sarasota, FL – 03/11/12”

  1. Congrats on the RRCA certification. I’ve never done that one, always wanted to, heard its worth it though.
    Again, fabulous race. That medal is pretty cool. Saw you are running Knoxville, have you raced that one before? I ran it twice a few years ago. Really well organized, hilly but fast…very strange.
    Take care! -M

  2. Thanks Meggan! I ran the Knoxville Half with my 24-year-old grandson last year and we’re doing it again this year. He’s a great athlete (college baseball and all-state football player in high school) but not a long distance runner. I ran side-by-side with him last year and he finished in a respectable 1:59 with no training. This year he said he’s been training so I’m hoping he’ll beat Grandpa fair and square. Either way, I ain’t waiting around for anybody and hope to win (or at least finish in the top 3) in the 60-64 age group in around 1:35 barring any unforeseen circumstances.

    Congrats on your big win in the New Orleans Marathon a couple weeks ago and being ranked 1st among Canadian women marathoners! That’s got to be exciting!

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