Race #233 – Spooky Sprint 5k – Salisbury, NC – 10/27/13

After the debacle at Saturday’s race in Grover, I was looking forward to what I felt sure would be a much better race in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon. I had been looking forward to the Spooky Sprint 5k, partly because it would most likely be warmer than most other late October races since it was an afternoon race, and partly because it’s one of those rare races that actually has a Senior Grand Masters division.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Masters categories, the Senior Grand Masters includes runners who are 60 or older, the Grand Masters are runners who are 50 and older, and the Masters are runners who are 40 and older. In some areas of the country those divisions are included most of the time in their races, but in this area they are rare. Some races in our region include a Masters category, and every once in a while there will be a Grand Masters, but I’ve seldom seen a Senior Grand Masters in this region except in the RRCA state championship races.

Going into this race I had high hopes of running well. My weight had been gradually creeping up since I did my best running in the fall of 2011 at 138 pounds, and little by little I gained 14 pounds, back up to 152. About a month ago I got back on Weight Watchers and have now lost about 7 pounds, so I’m halfway back at 145 pounds, and I think the combination of losing a few pounds along with just generally eating healthier has improved my race times.

On the night before the race I made a point of going to Athlinks and seeing what my best 5k time of the year had been. It was 20:58 at the Mt. Holly Springfest back in May, and since then all of my 5k races have ranged from 21:10 to 21:47, not bad for a 61-year-old but I felt like I should be able to run under 21 minutes.

The race was an out-and-back course, and it turned around after a long uphill climb, not too steep but I’d guess at least a half mile long. The nice part about a hill like that on an out-and-back course is that you get to run it in the opposite direction, so that was good. As I approached the finish line on the Catawba College track, I was happy to see that I was well under 21 minutes, and my official finish time was 20:32, which made it my fastest 5k in about two years. That’s a great feeling and I’m hoping I can stay motivated until I get back down to 138 pounds or so, and possibly even meet or beat some of my best times from 2011.

The awards ceremony was great and I was pleasantly surprised to win 1st place in the Masters division (ages 40 and up) since I was the first runner over 40 to finish the race (except for the overall winner). I think it was the first time I’ve ever won 1st Masters in any race since I began running at age 56.

As I alluded to above, the overall race winner was 47-year-old Martin Thorne, who I became friends with in April of this year at Racefest, where he introduced himself and told me he enjoyed reading this blog. He’s a fast runner and I just assumed he had been running since high school, but he told me after the race that not only was his winning time of 18:10 a Personal Record for him, but he just began running two years ago when the doctor told him he needed to do something physical because of health problems. Quite a success story. On the women’s side, 39-year-old Kelly Lowman ran a 30-second all-time PR and finished in 19:28, being paced by Stu Stepp, another friend I had met at Racefest when I met Martin. It was nice to meet Kelly after the race, as I had heard a lot about her from our mutual friend, Dianne Allen.

I haven’t run a lot of races in Salisbury, but they’re kind of like the Vac & Dash races in Albemarle in going above and beyond what is expected. Great long-sleeved tech T-shirt, goody bag filled with stuff (water bottle, chapstick, pace chart, key chain, candy, etc.), and excellent planning and organization.

Martin Thorne, overall race winner, was the first returning runner I saw on the out-and-back course.

Stu Step and Kelly Lowman on the way back.

Victor Rosado (red shirt) won the Senior Grand Masters division.

Margaret Hagerty, still going strong at 90, is in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the
oldest person to finish a marathon on seven continents! She began running at age 64.

I was happy to see 20:32 at the finish line!

Just a few seconds behind me was running buddy Sonny Ali. I didn’t even know he was there.

My wife Linda finished strong and was 2nd Senior Grand Masters Female.

Two of my running friends from the Gaston County Runners, Jim Owens and Danny McBee. I’m hoping we can get
a bigger group from the GCR to come to this race next year.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  20:32
Pace:  6:38
Age Group:  1st
Overall:   10th of 196
Average Heart Rate: 168
Maximum Heart Race: 178
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  16:22  (78.81%)


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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 – 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!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics! (Facebook)

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

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

0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
5 – 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:  88

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