Race #179 – Charity Chase Half Marathon – Hickory, NC – 06/02/12

Over the past three years this race has kind of become my homecoming race. It’s the premier road race in the city where I grew up, and even though it’s like a roller coaster with all of the ups and downs and one of the most difficult races I run, I still love running it and look forward to it every year. Of course it helps that my old high school friend Bob Duckworth is the head of Cheerwine in Hickory, one of the big sponsors of the race, and he’s been gracious to share one of the free sponsorship entries with me each year (we’re talking about wearing Cheerwine shirts next year, which would be great). But aside from that, I’d be happy to pay my own way if I needed to and it would still be one of my favorites. Running through the streets where I grew up many years ago, past the houses where friends once lived (and some still live), and on streets where I once walked, or hung out, or drove, but never ran, I somehow have this great sense of thankfulness that here I am all of these years later and life has been so good to me.

Aside from my own personal less-than-objective view of the race, I’ve heard lots of other people who keep coming back to the Charity Chase because it’s just a great race — very organized, not too big yet not too small, hilly but challenging and beautiful course, great water stops and volunteers, cool finisher medals and age group awards, and lots of good stuff to eat afterwards.

The beginning of June is normally a little late for a half marathon, but there are those of us (including me) who try to run a half marathon every month of the year, and this fits our schedule nicely. Two years ago it was a scorcher, with warm and muggy temperatures from beginning to end with the temperature approaching about 80 at the end of the race. By contrast, today’s race was seasonably cool after a cold front pushed through on Friday night. I’m a little odd in my dislike of cold temperatures and with the hourly forecast calling for a temperature of only about 60 degrees when I finished running, I opted to wear an UnderArmour ColdGear shirt under my singlet and I never was uncomfortable.

This year I managed to improve from last year’s time by about 3 minutes, finishing in 1:38:50, the first time I’ve been under 1:40 at the Charity Chase. That was 39th overall and 1st place in the 60-64 age group.

Click Here for Overall Race Results
Click Here for Age Group Race Results
Click Here for Official Race Photos

My Stats:

Time:  1:38:50
Pace:   7:33
Age Group:  1 of  9 
Overall:  39 of  435 (9%)
Average Heart Rate:  160
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:26 

* 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
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!
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)
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)
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)
5 – 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!
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
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
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
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent (Balega socks, shopping bag, etc.)
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  77 

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