Race #284 – Winter Flight 8k – Salisbury, NC – 02/08/15

2015-winter-flight-LOGOThe unseasonably warm 69-degree temperature at the start of this normally freezing race was perfect for me. This was the first year since I’ve been running that the Winter Flight 8k in Salisbury was held in the afternoon, and it’s a welcome change for me. This Sunday afternoon was 15-20 degrees warmer than normal and I loved it, although I heard one or two complaints from people who thought it was too hot.

Now in its 32nd year, the Winter Flight is the oldest 8k road race in North Carolina, and for a number of years it has been the RRCA state championship 8k road race, attracting fast runners of all ages from throughout the state and even drawing some great runners from other parts of the country at times.

There’s a small purse for the winner of $100, but a bonus of $750 for anyone who can break the course record, and a 21-year-old Kenyan who recently arrived in the US to become a professional runner named Eliud Ngetich (they call him “Heldy”) took on the challenge. He not only broke the course record but also the North Carolina state 8k record with a blazing time of 23:07 (a 4:39 pace)!

Old age-grouper that I am, I was more concerned about the 60+ crowd, and there were plenty of old fast guys in attendance, most notably Tom McCormack, the fastest runner in the United States over 60 years old. Last year he won five USATF national championships and became the first person over 60 to run a sub 17-minute 5k when he did it at the 5k national championship in Syracuse, New York. In this race he finished 5th overall with a time of 29:29 (5:56 pace) and told me after the race that he was a little disappointed because he was shooting for sub 29 minutes. Those are numbers that most of us mere humans over 60 can’t even imagine.

Despite being beat by three people over 60 years old I still managed to win the 60-64 age group after the dust settled, since Tom won Masters (40+) and the other two were in the 65-69 age group. My time of 36:36 made this the slowest 8k I’ve ever run but after the way things have gone over the last few months I wasn’t really surprised, nor was I particularly discouraged. No doubt I’ve slowed down some but I just hope to stay healthy and able to run, even if I’m a little slower every year.

2015-winter-flight-bob-tom-mccormack-me
(L-R) Bob Nelson, Tom McCormack, Richard Hefner

 

I should mention that this is the same race where last year I and about 30 other runners took a wrong turn on the course and ran more than a mile out of the way before figuring out we were off course.  It was the result of a confusing sign and lack of volunteers at the turn where we went off course. This year the turn was clearly marked and several volunteers were on hand to be sure it didn’t happen again. All of those who turned the wrong way last year were offered a free entry into this year’s race, which was a great gesture by race director David Freeze and much appreciated by those of us who took advantage of the offer.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos on the Vac & Dash Facebook Page

My Stats:

Time:  36:36
Pace: 7:21
Age Group:  1 of  10  (actually 2 of 11 counting Masters winner… I bumped up to 1st)
Overall:  39 of 214
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  28:55 (73.3%)

2015-winter-flight-60-64-age-group
Thanks to Tom McCormack winning 1st Overall Masters, I bumped up and won the age group.

 

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* RACE RATING *
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RACE COURSE
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
3 – 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
5 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap! (race day only $30 for 8k)
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
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

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
7 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes! (*I won a $25 gas card in the drawing!)
0 – 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)
3 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – 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
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
5 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes (5)lots of free pics! (*Vac & Dash)

PARKING
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

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
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes (*Running Journal Grand Prix and NC State RRCA Championship)
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  105

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