Race #273 – Hokie Half Marathon – Blacksburg, VA – 10/11/14

The 40% chance of rain turned into 100% and the rain didn’t let up until sometime later in the day. There was at least one bright spot: I won the 60-64 age group with a time of 1:35:20 and was also the first Senior Grandmaster to finish (age 60 or older) so that gives me first place in my division in the Running Journal Grand Prix after two races. Other than that the race was a complete washout for me. I think it would have been a beautiful course and a fantastic race on a clear day, but with the pouring rain throughout almost all of the race I was just glad when it was over.

Pros:

  • Scenic course if the weather had cooperated.
  • A few hills but not nearly as bad as I expected for a race in a mountainous area.
  • Well organized race with 300+ volunteers that did a great job under the circumstances.
  • “No Frills” option allowed you to save some money by not getting a shirt.
  • There was an additional “finisher shirt” given at the finish line. When somebody offered me one, a volunteer pointed out that I didn’t get one because I was “no frills.” That’s fine by me since I’m fixed for race shirts for the rest of my life, but I couldn’t figure out how he knew I was “no frills.” There didn’t seem to be any indication on the bib.
  • Fantastic finisher medal! It’s one of the best I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a bunch). The “no frills” runners did receive one of those.
  • “Hokie Chili” (I think that’s what they called it) was part of the post-race fare and it was great.
  • This was the second of nine races in the Running Journal Grand Prix season. This is the first year that it’s part of the RJGP and I’ll look forward to running it again next year in hopefully better weather if it’s part of next year’s schedule.
  • Cash prizes for overall winners ($500 for 1st, $300 for 2nd, and $200 for 3rd). That’s nice if you’re one of those three people.

Cons:

  • The weather was lousy, of course, but that’s not something anybody has control over so it’s no fault of the race or its directors.
  • A fairly large professional photography crew was scheduled to take photos at various locations but I guess because of the weather they weren’t able to. On the photography website, they posted this message: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Hokie Half race photos cannot be processed and will not be available. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
  • It took several days for the official results to be published online, which might have also been related to the weather, possibly because many runners had their race bibs covered by rain gear.
  • Parking was a little bit of an issue. The race instructions directed runners to park in a lot by the stadium a couple miles from the race site. I parked there and rode a bus with just a handful of runners (I counted six) to the race but when we got there I saw plenty of parking spaces and people parking there with no problem so I rode the bus back and got my car. I ended up maybe 50 yards from the start/finish. Since it was raining I stayed in my car until about 10 minutes before the race started and I still saw plenty of empty parking spaces, but maybe that’s because most people followed the instructions. Anyhoo, I’m glad I was able to park close by but I’m sure there were some rule followers who were drenched and freezing by the time they made it back to their cars in the remote parking lot. 
  • No awards ceremony. The website states that age group awards will be mailed out. That would be nice, but it would be better to have the awards after the race. Not sure when or if I’ll get my 1st place age group award so I’ll give it a zero in the ratings until I receive it, then change the rating accordingly at that time. Update: I received my 1st place age group award in the mail and it’s a beautiful plaque. I’m posting a photo of it and revising the points total as well.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  1:35:20
Pace:  7:14
Age Group:  1 of  10
Overall:  62 of  1302  (4.8%)
Average Heart Rate: ?? (Forgot to bring my heart rate!)
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:15:41 (78.24%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 – Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=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!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

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

POST RACE
7 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
0 – 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!
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
2 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

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

PARKING
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no (???)
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
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
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  89

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