Going into what is one of the most popular races in possibly the most competitive running community in the world I knew I didn’t have a chance to place in the top 3 in my age group, so my goal was to finish in the top 10. The New York Road Runners publishes what they call the “Honor Roll” in the big races for those who finish in the top 10 in their age groups. When I ran the Brooklyn Half in 2010 I finished in 7th place in the 55-59 age group and made the 2010 Honor Roll and hoped to do the same this year. I’m now in the 60-64 age group and you’d think it would be a lot easier, but in New York there’s not really an easy age group. Add to that the fact that this year’s race had more than twice as many finishers (14,168) than the 2010 race (7,015) and I knew it wouldn’t be easy.
The weather was just about as perfect as it could be with a temperature of 58 degrees and no wind. My daughter Nicole lives just a mile or so from Prospect Park, where the race begins so there were no worries about how to get there. The NYRR instructions said we should be at the race by 6 a.m. so Nicole got up at 5:30 and we were out the door by 5:40, picking up two of her friends (Alex and Diana) who were also running the race and we were there in plenty of time. I’ve gotten to know Diana over the last couple years and was happy to get to see her and run with her again. We jogged around a little then took off to the corrals. I was assigned to the 2nd corral and Diana was assigned to the 3rd, and I decided to go back and start with her since that’s still pretty close to the front.
Once the race got going things were slow as we waited for the hundreds of people ahead to cross the starting line. We pretty much walked until hitting the starting line at 1:12 into the race. The runners ahead were pretty fast so we didn’t really have to worry about a lot of passing or tripping over slow runners. Diana and I stayed together until the 1-mile mark and at that point she felt like she needed to slow down so that was the last time I saw her until after the race.
All week I had a little bit of a cold (or maybe it was allergies) with a runny nose and sore throat and I wasn’t sure if it would affect me or not but I felt pretty good. The route had changed some for this year’s race and instead of two laps around Prospect Park, which contains one long hill (I forget the exact distance but maybe as much as a mile), this year the route only included one lap around the park.
I don’t ordinarily look at my splits, but since there are clocks at every mile it’s only natural to do a little math as you’re running along. I hit the 5k mark at around 23:00, which I thought wasn’t bad considering the slow start. At the 10k mark I was at about 46 minutes. I crossed the 10-mile mark at almost exactly 1:13:00, which was perfect for me considering the lost minute at the beginning of the race.
As I usually do when I hit the 10-mile mark in a half marathon, I start thinking in 5k mode since I have 3.1 miles left to go. I’ll add 30 minutes to my current time and use that as my worst case scenario, assuming that I’ve completely blown up and will run the last 3 miles at a 10-minute pace. Fortunately that hasn’t happened but you never know when it might. So adding 30 to 1:12 gave me a 1:42, which barring anything tragic I should be able to beat. This time around I felt good and knew that those last 3 miles on Ocean Parkway heading to Coney Island are completely flat. I ran the last 3 miles at a good pace for me (7:09, 7:03, and 6:57) with the 6:57 in the 13th mile being my third fastest mile in the race. In the end I made the 2012 Honor Roll by finishing in the age group and was one of only two people from North Carolina making the Honor Roll, with the other being Aaron Linz, president of the Charlotte Running Club, who smoked the course with a time of 1:14:15, fnishing 38th overall out of 14,168 finishers!
Click Here for Race Results
Age Group: 6 of 130 (4.6%)
Overall: 1,079 of 14,168 (7.6%)
Age Grade Percentage: 77.88%
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:16:03
* 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)
0 – 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
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
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
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
0 – Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes
PARKING (8 possible points)
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no
WEBSITE (5 possible points)
2 – 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)
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
1 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (1)yes