Race #187 – York Summerfest 10k – York, SC

I’m really thankful that I’m able to run when so many people my age can’t (or won’t) run, so even though this was a less-than-perfect racing experience for me, just keeping things in perspective it was really an enjoyable experience. The weather was as perfect as it could be. A lot of friends came down from the Gaston County Runners and for my wife Linda it was her first race in the 60+ age group after graduating to genuine old lady status last week, and she won a beautiful plaque for coming in first place in her age group in the 5k. For me, things weren’t quite so rosy.

There are very few unpardonable sins that a race can commit, but this one managed to achieve that dubious distinction. By unpardonable I mean I won’t be back next year, or the year after that, or ever again. In 187 races it’s only the second one to have reached that status.

I’ve been in races before where one or more runners have accidentally gotten off course for some reason. That’s what happened in this race, but instead of it happening to just one or two unlucky runners, almost everybody missed a turnaround point and ran more than a mile extra. It wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if everybody had run the wrong route, but a handful of people who knew the course ran the correct route and that completely screwed up the race. The final results list me as finishing in 12th place overall, but that includes two men in my age group who ran the correct route and two women who also had been well behind me. It’s not a huge deal since it’s not a race of great importance for me, but still, when I pay a registration fee and leave home before sunrise to go to a race, the basic matter of getting a correct time and distance is very important. I’m still not sure where the missed turn came in, but looking at the map, I believe it was the isolated road seen over on the right side. We ran all the way down to the end of the road then turned around at the dead end. There was no kind of marking there such as an orange cone to run around and also no people. I thought it was strange when I saw it but everybody around me was taking the same route so I figured it was right.

I was generally enjoying the race through the countryside of York County. I felt pretty good throughout but started getting a little worried when we hit the 10k point in the race and were out in the middle of nowhere. Not knowing anything about the York area, I wasn’t sure where the race would end but since it started in town I figured it would have to end there as well, and we were still out in the country somewhere. It finally ended with my watch reading 7.31 miles, which didn’t bother me too much until I found out that some people had actually run the correct distance and beat me to the finish line. Two 69-year-old runners finished 3rd and 6th overall respectively, the fastest with a pace of 7:42 and the other with a pace of 8:00, with both of them running 6.2 miles. My own pace recorded on my Garmin for 7.31 miles was 7:03, so it’s easy to see that I should have been well ahead of them. That’s not to take anything away from them — I hope I’m able to run that fast at 69 — but it results in a big problem that really can’t be corrected. It’s just a race though, and I’ll run another one next week to erase the memory of this one, and all will be well with the world once again.


Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  51:31 (Official Time)
Pace:  7:03
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  176

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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)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
0 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
0 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
0 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
0 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
0 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
0 – 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)
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)
1 – 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!
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
2 – 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
0 – 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 (On Strictly Running Site)

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 (Palmetto Grand Prix)

TOTAL:  35

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5 Replies to “Race #187 – York Summerfest 10k – York, SC”

  1. In the cycling and equestrian activities in which I’ve participated, news of a poorly marked course like this would travel fast and wide, and do much to harm the reputation of that event. My colleagues in those sports, myself included, would definitely find this haphazard course marking “unforgivable”. I’m sure your next event will be more enjoyable. Cheers 🙂

  2. Hey Tony! I’m not sure this race had all that much of a reputation to live up to… mostly a small hometown race. Maybe there are a few other hard-heads like me who might not come back, but all in all it was fun and a lot of people who didn’t wear a GPS watch probably didn’t even know the course was that long… they probably thought they just had a bad race!

  3. I couldn’t believe this either. I was the leader of the race. I had briefly looked at a course map the night before. I knew there was a street, somehwere on the course, where we’d make a 180 degree turn around a cone. Biggest problem here is that there never was a cone. Being the leader in the race, most people just follow my lead. I live in West Columbia and I’ve never been to the Town of York ever in my life. I’m not familiar with the course or the neighborhoods. It would be wise for all race directors to assume that each runner doesn’t know where to go, and go to extra measure to assure that each runner doesn’t get lost. How? Fresh spray paint arrows, clearly marked mile markers, flour and/or arrows on turns and corners, spotters and volunteers at street intersections. This is the 4th time I’ve been misdirected in my running career. 2nd in the past 6 months since moving to South Carolina.

  4. Hi Justin… Thanks for your comment and congratulations on the win! Fortunately you had a huge lead so even the people who ran the right course couldn’t catch you. After we split off from the 5k I was in 8th place. I was counting people in front of me and thought the guy with the dreadlocks was leading, but then I finally saw you in the distance with a huge lead in front of him. I knew who all the runners were ahead of me and after the last mile I only passed one person and one other person passed me so I was sure that I was still in 8th place. Was a little perturbed when 4 people I never saw during the race finished ahead of me. No bad feeling towards them but the people in charge of this race did a lousy job. It seems like there’s not really and easy way to fix it either.

  5. Ooh that’s a bummer! I don’t mind low key events, but not having a well-marked course is unacceptable. But… you could just see it as earning an extra donut! (btw, I left this comment on the wrong post a second ago, sorry!)

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