Race #274 – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – Myrtle Beach, SC – 10/19/14

For my running group, the Gaston County Runners (GCR), this has become our biggest event of the year. It was the fifth year of the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon and I’ve run four of them. I’m not sure about the year I didn’t run, but for all four years that I’ve been there the weather has been perfect. The last five miles or so is straight down Ocean Boulevard, with a turn onto the new boardwalk to the finish line at the site of the old Myrtle Beach Pavilion. It’s one of the best finishes of any race I’ve been a part of and I look forward to it every year.

This is a pretty big race with more than 3,000 finishers in the half marathon, and this year the GCR had seven runners who finished in the top 3 in their respective age groups. For the third straight year I managed to win the 60-64 age group, this year with a time of 1:35:44. I’m happy with that time although it was on a flat course and was about 30 seconds slower than last week’s Hokie Half Marathon, which had more hills, but maybe at 62 I’m reaching an age that I need more than a week to recover from a half marathon. It’s Wednesday as I write this and I gotta admit I’m still pretty sore. In an episode of temporary insanity I considered jumping in to a full marathon this weekend (Peak to Creek) without any marathon training, but today’s the last day to register and I’m still sore enough that I think I’ll scale back the enthusiasm and maybe run a 5k instead.

Proud of the Gaston County Runners! We had 7 runners who placed in their age group!

Pros:

  • Beautiful course — especially the last 5 miles along Ocean Boulevard and the boardwalk.
  • Spectacular finish line!
  • Good post-race food.
  • Huge post-race party with talented live band.
  • Nice awards and awards ceremony.
  • Cool-looking tech T-shirt for this year’s race.
  • Lots of free photos can be found online for this race, both on the race’s Facebook page and elsewhere.
  • Cheap off-season rates at Myrtle Beach hotels!

Cons:

  • Race results not posted after the race so you had to wait around to see if you placed in your age group. In some ways that’s more of a “pro” than a “con” since it creates a sense of anticipation for those who may have placed, although it’s a letdown for those who didn’t place. I should add that the results are online immediately if you go to the race website.
  • The logistics are a little messy, with the expo being in one location, the race start at a completely different location, and the finish at yet another location, all several miles apart. It makes sense once you get used to it (it doesn’t bother me) but it could be a headache if you’re there for the first time.
  • The professional photographers (Sport Photo) do a good job, but the photos are way too expensive — 40 bucks for a single digital download or $14 for a standard 4×6 photo. Of course you can get them a little cheaper if you order a lot of pics, but if you just want one photo it’ll really cost you. 
The professional photos were expensive, so I was thankful to have friends who took lots of pics!

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos (Sport Photo)

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  1:35:44
Pace:  7:18
Age Group: 1 of  50
Overall:  55 of  3125 (1.8%)
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:16:00 (77.91%)

Although I failed to notify my face, I was happy to win my age group for the third year in a row!

***************
* 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
5 – 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
9 – 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
0 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – 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
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)
8 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
1 – 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
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

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

PARKING
2 – 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

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

TOTAL:  103

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