Race #232 – Grover Pumpkin Run 5k – Grover, NC – 10/26/13

This was possibly the least organized race I’ve ever run. If all races were like this I’d probably revert back to being a mall walker.

I arrived in Grover having read in the directions that the race was on “Main Street.” Okay, that sounds simple enough since Grover is just a small town. Since the race was being held in conjunction with the Grover Pumpkin Festival I thought it would be easy to spot, and sure enough, there were hundreds of people gathered for the Pumpkin Festival, and it was nice. Lots of good-smelling food (although I was trying to watch my diet), great entertainment with a band on stage that sounded surprisingly good I thought, and lots of people, many dressed in Halloween costumes.

I found the nearest parking space I could find, which was probably at least a quarter mile from the action, and walked up to find the race registration area. I walked completely to the other side of the festival without seeing anything, so I asked three guys who were directing the parking if they knew where I could register for the race.

“What race,” one of them said.

“The 5k,” I replied.

So he says, “Are you sure you’re at the right place?”

And I said, “Is this Main Street in Grover and the Pumpkin Festival?”

Anyhoo, it was all downhill from there. Eventually I figured out where to go, and managed to register, but they didn’t have change, so I went and bought some ice cream because I like ice cream and I needed correct change. You get the idea.

This is the route we were supposed to run.

When the race was finally about to begin they managed to clear a space in the crowd where we could at least get started before heading out of town. The race was tiny — maybe 40 runners or so — and a quarter mile or so I was one of the first 6 or 7 runners. I eventually caught a couple and passed them, and I finished 4th overall, which I was happy with. My pace of 6:36 was the best I’ve run in a 5k in a long time, but of course, things were screwy along the way and I don’t think anybody ran an actual 3.1 miles. The first five runners, which included me, headed straight back into town. Apparently just a few seconds after I passed by somebody figured out we were running the wrong course and the guy in back of me said a man jumped off a golf cart and pointed for everybody to run down a street that we missed. So much for any chance at things being even. If the course is wrong but everybody runs the wrong route, at least it’s an even playing field, but if part of the runners go one way and part go another way, it’s just a mess.

Even the people who were directed down the missed road only ended up with about 2.75 miles, and the few in front with me ran about 2.28 miles (that was what I recorded).

This is the route that my Garmin watch recorded for me. As you can see,
not only did we miss the road that went by the elementary school, but
we also missed a loop up in the first neighborhood we ran through.

The lady who seemed to be in charge of the race was very apologetic about things being messed up, and she promised they would do better next year. She said they put her in charge three weeks ago and things just didn’t get organized. I don’t think anybody got very bent out of shape about it. Seems like the more races you run, the more you expect a disaster every now and then. It’s just the way things go. Hopefully they’ll do better next year.

Right now there are no official results posted, but when they’re available they should be posted on this website…


My Stats:

Time:  14:58 (for 2.28 miles)
Pace:  6:36
Age Group:  1st
Overall:   4th


0 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
0 – Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
0 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
0 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
0 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
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

2 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

0 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

0 – 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)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

0 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
x – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

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

0 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

TOTAL:  35

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