Race #321 – CRC Winter Classic 8k/4k – Charlotte, NC – 01/30/16

2016-CRC-winter-classic-LOGOAfter a month-long layoff with no races and no fast running, and for the month of January only about one-third the number of slow miles that I normally run, I eagerly returned to racing this past weekend. Although I’m still wearing a special brace to keep it in check, my Achilles tendinitis is much improved. Of course I’m at the age that as soon as one thing is fixed something else goes wrong so my current issue is the worsening symptoms of osteoarthritis in my hips. It’s something that has built up over a few years and will most likely eventually relegate me to taking photos at races instead of running them. There are no guarantees either way though, and I’ll keep running for as long as I can then I’ll switch to Plan B when the need arises.


The CRC (Charlotte Running Club) Winter Classic 8k is both the RRCA and the USATF North Carolina state championship cross-country race and draws top runners from across the state. I’m not a trail runner but the one at McAlpine Park, where this race is held, is wide and smooth and a course where a roadrunner like me can be comfortable. There were still some muddy spots in the grass next to the course from last week’s snow and ice storm but the trail itself was almost completely dry.


Fortunately for my comeback there was a 4k race added this year which was 1 loop (as opposed to 2 laps in the 8k) around the cross country course at McAlpine. I felt pretty good as far as all of my muscles and joints were concerned, but shortly after the race began my lack of recent training became apparent and I stopped to walk 3 or 4 times during the short race just to catch my breath. I finished in 18:44 (7:32 pace) just behind my friend Rick, who was delighted to beat me. This was my first 4k race since it’s an odd distance, and while I wasn’t thrilled with my time, I thought that if I do this 4k every year this may be the fastest that I ever run it, so I’m just glad to be back at the races even if I’m a little slower.


I’d rank this race among the best of the winter races in the Charlotte area. Held at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it usually provides some relief from the freezing cold morning temperatures. The shirts are fantastic hoodies although my lovely wife decided this year to sneak over and switch my blue one for a purple one while I wasn’t looking so she could wear it instead of me. With plenty of pizza after the race in the beautiful McAlpine Park setting as well as top notch organization by the Charlotte Running Club, it’s a favorite among local runners.

Chased my friend Rick (#537) all the way to the end… Never did catch him.

Race Number:  321


Race Name:  CRC Winter Classic 8k/4k


Location:  McAlpine Park in Charlotte, North Carolina


Date:  January 31, 2016


Race Rating:  110







Course: Cross country trail, mostly flat and wide. No single track so there’s plenty of room to pass. The 4k race was 1 loop and the 8k race was 2 loops.



  • Gain:  34 feet
  • Loss:  28 feet
  • Minimum:  573 feet
  • Maximum:  604 feet


Weather at Start:  55 degrees, 30% humidity, 7 mph South wind


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My Stats (4k):

Time:  18:44
Pace:  7:32
Age Group:  1 of  6
Overall:  13 of  100
Average Heart Rate:  164
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Percentage:  67.93%


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
0 – 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 online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (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)
1 – 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

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

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

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

Fantastic shirts and finisher medals for both the 4k and 8k!

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
9 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

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 – 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
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  110

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