Race #191 – Run the Valley Half Marathon – Badin, NC – 09/15/12

Just on the edge of the Uwharrie National Forest is the beautiful little town of Badin, population 1,154, just a few miles past Albemarle. As you may know, Albemarle is the home of Peter Asciutto’s Vac & Dash, and Peter has helped turn Albemarle and Stanly County into one of North Carolina’s hottest running communities. Run the Valley is one of the premier Vac & Dash racing events of the year and the three races this year (5k, 10k, and half marathon) had a combined total of 466 registered runners. It’s also on the same day as the Run for the Green Half Marathon in Davidson and the Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon in Asheville, which are both great races and I have run each of those twice before. I decided I’d do Run the Valley this year since I hadn’t run it before, it’s a Vac & Dash race (which is always good), and registration was cheaper.

I met 23-year-old Jarrett Culbreth as we ran down
Morrow Mountain. together. I was struggling by then
and he wasn’t even breaking a sweat. He ran right along
with me for a while at my pace, and then I told him that
I appreciated the company but he shouldn’t let me
or anybody else hold him back. He ended up
finishing 7 minutes ahead of me and passing
almost half the people in front of us.

The week leading up to the race wasn’t a good one for me. In last week’s 5k I re-strained my right hamstring and spent the week running just 1 mile a day most days, although I did manage to run 3 mostly easy miles on a couple days. I entertained the thought of switching over to the 5k but since I have a goal of running at least one half marathon every month and this was my only chance to run one in September, I thought I’d give it a try, starting out easy in the first half and hoping to build up some speed in the second half if my leg felt good. That didn’t work of course. I warmed up a little before the race with Bill Shires and Sharon Davis and mentioned as I ran between the two of them that I had the feeling that I was running with the male and female overall race winners. In fact, my prognostication was right as they went on to win the race as the top male and female. I wasn’t exactly going out on a limb since they’re both fast runners and most people would have probably picked them to win, but all the same, it’s nice to see your friends win.

I, on the other hand, didn’t do quite so well. I started out too fast and the hamstring bothered me from the outset. It also didn’t help that my Garmin watch was dead and didn’t come on when I tried to start it, so I ran without monitoring my heart rate. Maybe it didn’t matter a lot since I never really ran fast anyway. My final time of 1:48:11 (pace 8:16) made this the slowest half marathon of the twelve I’ve run this year. It’s a tough one though — probably one of the hilliest half marathons in North Carolina, which includes a climb to the top of Morrow Mountain. If it had been flat I’m pretty sure I would have run faster, but still I wasn’t in great shape for a half marathon although I seem to have finished without any major setbacks (the hamstring feels about the same a day after the race as it did before the race) so I’m glad I ran it.

Click Here for Race Results

Vac & Dash Facebook Photos #1 (341 photos)

Vac & Dash Facebook Photos #2 (150 photos)

Vac & Dash Facebook Photos #3 (155 photos)

My Stats:

Time:   1:48:11
Pace:  8:16
Age Group:  1 of  2
Overall:  19 of  85
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:27:31

Awards Ceremony

* 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)
3 – 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)
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 (Half Marathon)

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 (tech for HM; cotton for others)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes (Free V&D Photography)
5 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! (Free)
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes (on Vac & Dash)

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)
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)
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:  81

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