At least partially because it’s cheapest race you’ll find anywhere ($6 registration fee if you don’t want a shirt), the Great Waldensian Footrace has been held continuously in Valdese in conjunction with the Waldensian Festival for the past 38 years. This is a race that I’ve known about forever — even in the days before I moved from Hickory to Gastonia 34 years ago — but this was the first time I’ve run it.
You can run either the 5k or the 10k — they both start at the same time — and both races have that same cheap registration fee. If you want a shirt (and I don’t since I already have a lifetime supply) it’s an extra 10 bucks ($16) to register on race day, but even that’s a bargain. I’m not sure why the fee is so low. Maybe it’s the same as when the race began 38 years ago and they just decided to keep it that way. Whatever the reason, it was a fun race and I’m on board now and hope to do this race every year from now on.
I considered running the 10k but instead decided on the 5k since I’m only about a month out from the hamstring injury that caused me to drop out of the 10k in Gaffney last month. I thought it might be best not to overdo it right away with two more 10k’s scheduled before my next half marathon on September 21st. The hamstring actually feels fine now, but I’m having some issues with an inguinal hernia that the doctor said I’d need to have surgery on this fall (lovely thought I know).
Something else that’s unique about this race is that the awards go 5-deep in 5-year age groups. It’s the only 5k race I’ve seen to have awards for the top five finishers in each age groups, and they don’t skimp on the awards either. The trophies are among the best I’ve seen for any race. It’s not a huge race so there are some age groups that don’t even have five competitors (especially the older age groups), but my guess is that they use the same trophies every year and just hold on to the trophies that weren’t used until the next year and reuse them.
Both the 5k and 10k courses are out-and-back, which I like. It allows you to see how many people are in front of you and also who’s behind you. Since I’m wearing my video glasses it also allows me to get a photo of a lot of people as I meet them coming in the opposite direction.
Here’s my video…
|Here comes Linda (blue shirt). She was preoccupied with her watch and didn’t see me,
and for some reason I didn’t see her either until I checked the video afterwards.
|Holly Boone is the daughter of some of my best life-long friends who live in Hickory.
Holly had a Personal Best in this tough 5k — her first time under 30 minutes!
|The race wasn’t chip-timed this year. I heard a couple of complaints but I thought they did a good job.|
|As he customarily does, Josh Baker finished first in the grueling 10k with a blazing time of 34:49.|
|Runners congregated in the swimming pool area of the community center waiting for the awards after the race.|
|World War II vet Byron Logan (left), now 87, is still running strong.
Kathy Smith (right) is a great runner who finished 1st in the 55-59 age group.
|Linda and I both finished in 1st place in the 60-64 age group of the 5k.|