Race #172 – Cherry Blossom 5k – Cherryville, NC – 04/27/12

In the first of two races for me this weekend we headed out to Cherryville on Friday night for the Cherry Blossom 5k. This is a small but fun race we ran last year when it was a Saturday morning race. The move to Friday night proved to be a good one with about a 50% increase in the number of runners from last year to this year (72 finishers in 2011 — 111 finishers in 2012).

I enjoy evening races and hope they’ll keep this one in the evening. Having said that, however, I don’t seem to do quite as well in night races. I did manage to win the 60-64 age group with a time of 21:57 and finished 7th overall, but that’s my slowest 5k since October 2010, when I ran 22:01 at the HOP race in Morganton. No biggy really, but after having made a lot of progress last fall and running my best times ever I really don’t want to start heading off in the opposite direction just because I’m now in my sixties.

Thanks to Karen Gagnon for the photos!

Much of first mile in this race is downhill, and of course, what the downhill giveth the uphill taketh away, so after running a fast first mile my second and third miles were pretty slow by comparison. I think part of my problem with evening races is not eating exactly right in the hours leading up to the race. With morning races I have a fairly standard healthy regimen that I follow, but with a night race my diet’s usually a mess before I get there.

Some of the Gaston County Runners
Liz (on the left) was 1st overall female.

I really enjoy smaller races, especially when they’re run as well as this one. The new race timing company “Racing Toes” out of Lincolnton did a super job with the timing and the much improved finish line. The age group awards were really nicely designed custom medals — surprisingly nice quality for a small race. There was plenty of pizza for runners after the race, which always makes me happy. Best of all I think is that a lot of people from our group, the Gaston County Runners, were there. It’s nice to run a race with a bunch of friends, especially when you can find them before and after the race. Some races are so huge that it’s hard to find anybody, but in a race this size it’s easy to keep track of each other.

Click Here for Overall Race Results

Click Here for Age Group Results

My Stats:

Time:  21:57
Pace:  7:06
Age Group: 1 of  5
Overall:  7 of 111

* 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)
0 – 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
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
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
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
0 – 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
0 – 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! (Pizza is always a feast!)
0 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
0 – 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
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!
0 – 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
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
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
2 – 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
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  64

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