Race #327 – Belmont Rail Trail 5k – Belmont, NC – 04/09/16

2016-belmont-rail-trail-LOGOThis year I’m planning on a lot more local races and a lot less traveling. The Gaston County YMCA race series fits right into what I’d like to do for now, and this was the 2nd race in this year’s 15-race series. I missed the first one back in February, but they’re only counting the top 10 performances for runners so I’ve got plenty of time to make it up as long as I stay healthy throughout the season.


I ran the Belmont Rail Trail 5k last year and enjoyed it. This year it was much the same, looping around Belmont Abbey College. It’s a pleasant but fairly small 5k. My biggest disappointment was that not many of the folks from my running club, the Gaston County Runners, are participating in the series, but there are a few of us, and the best part of the races is being able to run with your friends.


Parking was a little bit of an issue. There’s a huge parking lot but it was already pretty full from the students who lived in the apartments so it didn’t leave a lot of space for the runners to park their cars. I think everybody managed to park nearby along the side of the road though, so it worked out.


The awards were inexpensive medals, which is fine, but the age groups were odd. Not only were there not 5-year age groups, but from what I could decipher the age groups were as much as 20 years. Here’s what I think they were:

  • Under 20 — Prospects
  • 21-40 — Freshmen
  • 41-50 — Sophomores
  • 51-60 — Juniors
  • Over 60 — Seniors

As I approach my mid-60s the age groups are becoming less important to me personally since races handle the over-60 runners differently, but to a lot of runners who race often one of the most important determining factors as to whether they will run a race or not is that they have normal 5-year age groups. It’s not the award that matters, but most runners want to see how they compare to others in the same age category. Just a year or two of age matters, so by the time you’re at the “old” end of your age group you’re eager to advance to the next one where you can be one of the younger runners. Five years makes a big difference, but ten years is practically two different generations.


Last year Matthew Gregory took a lot of great photos for this race (as he does for most of the Gaston YMCA series races) and shared them for free. This year he was sick so he couldn’t make it. Hopefully he’ll be back for most of the other series races. His photos are usually better than the ones you have to pay big bucks for in a lot of races.


I like this race and I do hope it will continue, but for it to grow they’ll need to switch to 5-year age groups.


Race Number:  327


Race Name:  Belmont Rail Trail 5k


Location:  Belmont, North Carolina (Belmont Abbey College)


Date:  April 9, 2016


Race Rating:  64


Winners (Top 20):



Course: Nice paved out-and-back course around the main road at Belmont Abbey College. Just a couple of small hills.





Weather at Start:  48 degrees (felt like 44), 9 mph W wind, 43% humidity.


Click Here for Race Results


My Stats:

Time:  22:13
Pace: 7:09
Age Group:  1 of  6
Overall:  11 of  115
Average Heart Rate: 164
Maximum Heart Race: 174
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:28  (74.34%)


3 – 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
0 – 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: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – 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)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
0 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 70+ group (1)
0 – 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

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

7 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
2 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – 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

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – 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
0 – 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
0 – 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
2 – 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
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  64


Please like & share:

Leave a Reply