There were races all over the place this past weekend and I didn’t decide which one I would run until Saturday morning. I ran the Beach Blast last year and it was a lot of fun so I decided to run it again this year. It’s one of Peter Asciutto’s Vac & Dash races, which are always good. With his quirky races and non-stop promotional abilities, Peter has turned the small city of Albemarle (population about 15,000) into a running mecca. I would be willing to bet there are more runners per capita in Albemarle than in any city in North Carolina, and possibly more than any community in the entire nation.
As I’ve been doing lately, I did a video of the race and I’ll include some photos as well to tell the story.
Here’s the video…
Before the race I asked Sharon Davis about the hills (I never remember those kinds of details). She gave us a hill-by-hill account of what we could expect. “It starts out with just a little uphill incline…”
The universal symbol for the top of the hill.
Then a little bit steeper incline.
And this one had me scared.
Bill Shires spotted me a few rows back at the starting line and came back to chat for a minute. You’ll remember he won the Mount Holly race last week. He was the overall winner of this race too. I told him afterwards that I thought I might be good luck for him, but he wins a lot of races without me so maybe not.
This was the first major hill. It’s kind of hard to see in the photo, but just after the first hill is a second bigger hill. It’s actually more noticeable when you’re running it (or trying to).
Last year Gary Parks (directly in front of me in the white shirt) won the 55-59 age group at the age of 59. I figured he’d be my biggest competition this year for the 60-64 age group so I was glad l caught up with him at around the mile-2 mark in the race. I thought I’d just try to keep up with him until the end and make a mad dash for the finish but when he stopped at the water stop I kept going. I finished in 21:10 and he was close behind at 21:35 for 2nd in the 60-64 age group.
This steep hill was the last on in the race (and possibly the one that Sharon Davis was warning me about). Notice the red sign on the left that says, “The Last Hill.”
Approaching the finish line.
Gary Parks just after crossing the finish line.
Always a good post-race celebration after a Vac & Dash race!