Race #239 – Belk Bowl 5k – Charlotte, NC – 12/28/13

What a way to end the year! This race will be one I’ll remember after all of the other ones are forgotten. It was a true family affair for me with not only my wife but also two sons (Joe and Dave), daughter-in-law Erica (Dave’s wife), and two grandkids (Jonas and Marley) who rode in a double stroller that I pushed. Since I began running five years ago I’ve only pushed a single stroller maybe three or four times for a few minutes at a time with a couple of different running friends, so it was pretty much a new experience for me.

Dave told me the night before the race that Erica was going to run and he was going to push the stroller, but I volunteered to push it instead so he could run the race. It seemed like it would not only be a challenge, but also a lot of fun to push my grandchildren through the streets of Charlotte in a race. Honestly, the grandkids seemed underwhelmed by the whole thing, possibly because it was so cold, but probably also because at ages 2 and 5 they don’t quite get the appeal of running through the streets in a road race. I figure that one of these days maybe they’ll have a hazy memory of flying through the streets with their old grandpa.

The Belk Bowl 5k was a first-year race and I was a little wary about it being a good one. Turns out it was fantastic — one that I’ll plan on running every year most likely. The course was mostly straight, with very few turns, which was a plus for me pushing the stroller since my biggest problem was turning it left or right. I actually walked to the starting line with zero practice pushing it so I didn’t really know how to turn it since there’s a fixed front wheel on jogging strollers. I’m still not positive but I did manage to make the few turns that were necessary.

For me the best thing about the race (besides all of the family members running) was having both the pre- and post-race activities in the Wells Fargo Atrium, where it was warm. The Cincinnati cheerleaders (Cincinnati played UNC in the Belk Bowl football game) helped cheer during the awards, which was nice, and there were a lot of Cincinnati area fans who ran the 5k race. I managed to end up in 3rd place in my age group despite being slowed down with the stroller. Interestingly, my gun time was 25:39 but my chip time was 25:03 since I started near the back of the pack, and the published results have me listed in 2nd place in the age group. According to USATF rules, gun time is what races go by for awards so I’m fine with 3rd place, but it’s interesting that I finished 2nd in chip time and 3rd on gun time. I believe that’s the first time I’ve been in that situation.

Here are a few pics from race day…

Nothing would make me happier than for everybody in the family to become a runner.
We seem to be getting closer! They all did a great job in the race!

Erica, Linda, and the grandkids after the race. Nice and warm in the atrium!

Joe and Dave were both good runners in school. They’re getting back
into it so they can beat each other… and me of course!

We had a great group of Gaston County Runners at the race!

I was 3rd in my age group and Linda was 2nd. The awards were
Belk gift certificates — $50 for 1st place, $25 for 2nd place, and
$25 for 3rd place. The overall winners (male and female)
got a gift certificate for $500.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  25:03 (chip) – 25:39 (gun)
Pace:  8:13
Age Group:  3rd (gun time) – 2nd (chip time)
Overall:  114 of  505
Average Heart Rate:  161
Maximum Heart Race:  175
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  19:58 (64.6%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – 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
2 – 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

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

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

AGE GROUPS
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
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

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent ***$500 gift card
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
7 – 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

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

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – 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

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
       (Might have been… I’ll change rating if I find professional pics online)
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
0 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no  (plenty of paid parking but not free parking)
0 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

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

OTHER
2 – 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:  90

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