Race #340 – Cat’s Cradle 5k/10k – Morganton, NC – 06/18/16

2016-cats-cradle-LOGOThe Cat’s Cradle 5k and 10k have become one of the favorite races of the year for my running club, the Gaston County Runners. It’s a fairly long drive from Gastonia — 70 miles or so — but it’s always a lot of fun. The course is flat and fast and most of the GCR folks choose the 10k option. I prefer the 5k, maybe because I’m getting a little lazy, but mostly so I can finish the race then take pictures of the people who still haven’t finished yet, thus providing some free photos for most of the runners in the race. This year I took a bunch of pics, got home and deleted the bad ones, and posted more than 1200 photos in two albums on Facebook that runners can download.


The race benefits the nonprofit Cat’s Cradle organization, whose mission is “To help bring about a time when no more abused or abandoned cats will be destroyed.” As a cat lover myself I’m always happy to be able to support this cause.


For me, the highlight of this year’s race was the appearance of Tom McCormack. Tom is a 62-year-old legend in the making who has the distinction of being the only person in the United States to ever run a sub 17-minute 5k at the age of 60, which he did two years ago in the national championship in Syracuse, New York, with a time of 16:58. He told me before the race that he’s been dealing with an injury and has only run three races this year, but he still managed to beat several fast high school runners in the 5k and get the overall win with a time of 17:42.

Me, Tom McCormack, and Bill Peay.

Speaking of fast old guys, I met Bill Peay for the first time at this race. I’ve known him for a while on Facebook and have heard about his running history from some of the old-time runners in the Charlotte area. After a long layoff of many years he’s on the comeback trail at age 70 and ran strong in this race and actually edged me by two-tenths of a percentage point on an age-graded basis. He’s now living in South Carolina and has his eye on some of the 70-74 state age group records.


After the race about 20 folks from the GCR had breakfast at Granny’s Country Kitchen in Icard just off Interstate 40 on the way home. I’m pretty sure that’s a contributing factor to what makes this such a fun racing experience for our group. It’s also a contributing factor to what keeps those of us without any willpower about 10 pounds overweight.


Race Number:  340


Race Name:  Cat’s Cradle 5k & 10k


Location:  Morganton, North Carolina


Date:  June 18, 2016


Race Rating:  96



5k Top 15:



10k Top 15:

Course: Out-and-back course entirely on the Catawba River Greenway. It’s a beautiful course along the river and is mostly flat with just a few slight inclines along the way.
Weather at Start:  Sunny, 70 degrees, 60% humidity.


Click Here for Race Results


Race Photos:


My Stats:

  • Time:  22:38
  • Pace:  7:17
  • Age Group:  1 of  5
  • Overall:  13 of  130
  • Average Heart Rate:  160
  • Maximum Heart Race: 174
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:06  (71.72%)
Gaston County Runners


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
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
6 – 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

5 – 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)
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

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

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

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

2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – 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
10 – 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

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
0 – 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:  94

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