Race #171 – Run for the Money 5k – Gastonia, NC – 04/21/12

It was nice to be able to stay in town this week for a race, and this is Gastonia’s biggest race of the year. As a fundraiser it’s a huge success, bringing in over a million dollars for various organizations in Gaston County. The top two finishers in each age group get to direct $500 and $250 (1st and 2nd place respectively) to the organization of their choice. I won 1st place in the 60-99 age group and was happy to  be able to send $500 towards The Brice Foundation, which supports people with disabilities in Gaston County.

There’s a lot to like about this race. It generates plenty of excitement for sure and is a huge event for the Girls on the Run of Gaston County. It’s possibly the biggest event of the year held in downtown Gastonia, which many of us would never see otherwise. There’s more entertainment on stage during the event than I’ve seen at virtually any racing event.

Nevertheless, with so much to like there are a couple of things about it that suck the appeal right out of it for many of the runners who get up on most Saturday mornings and head for a race. One is the age group awards. For a race this size there really should be 5-year age groups instead of 10-year age groups. Those 5-year age groups should go 3-deep. Instead of $500 for 1st place and $250 for place it would be easy enough to change it to $200 for 1st and $100 for 2nd or any other amount.

The other problem with the race is that there is no post-race food at all. I go to a lot of races and there’s not another race that I can remember that doesn’t have at least something for the runners afterwards other than a bottle of water at the finish line. Bananas, oranges, and bagels are considered the bare basics, and many races go way beyond that to ensure a memorable race and good experience for the runners. This is an even more glaring omission when you take into account the great entertainment at this race and the fact that there are dozens of booths set up by the different organizations involved. The argument can be made, of course, that it’s for charity and the money is being used for charitable purposes, but hey, almost all races are for a worthy charity of some sort.

The course is a tough one, basically dropping in elevation the first half of the race and climbing back up during the second half, including the last half mile or so being uphill. To complicate matters there are also 18 turns on the course, as you can see on the map below. Somebody mentioned to me that this race used to be mostly flat, straight up Franklin Boulevard and back. It would be a definite improvement to go back to that.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  21:36
Pace:  6:56
Age Group:  1 of  21
Overall:  63 of 1312 (4.8%)

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* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *
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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
0 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 – 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!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
0 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
0 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 70+ group (1)
1 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
0 – 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
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
0 – 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
1 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
0 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

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

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

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
0 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
1 – No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
0 – 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
0 – 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:  44

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2 Replies to “Race #171 – Run for the Money 5k – Gastonia, NC – 04/21/12”

  1. Hey Tessa… I’m planning on running the Cherryville race Friday night. Are you doing that one? I know there are a ton of races on Saturday. If I can pull myself out of bed I’m thinking about the Bulldog 5k in Charlotte on Saturday morning. Gotta see how I feel after running a 5k the night before! Hope to see you in Cherryville!

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