Race #358 – Spencer Mountain 10-Miler & 5k – Gastonia, NC – 11/05/16

2016-spencer-mountain-startThe Spencer Mountain 10-Miler is one of my favorite local races and for many years has drawn runners who are looking for a tough challenge. It actually starts off completely flat, but about 4 miles into the race the fun starts. The last 6 miles are like a roller coaster, culminating in the biggest hill of all in the 9th mile, which is a 300-foot climb that lasts for most of that mile. The 10th mile flattens out, which is nice, taking you back to the elementary school in the Town of Ranlo where the race starts and finishes.


The race is only about a 10-minute drive from my house so I was able to leave home a little later than usual. I was pretty amazed as I reached the race site at how many people were there. Cars were parked a lot farther away than in the past. In previous years there had been fewer than 200 runners in the 10-miler and 5k combined. This year I was surprised to learn that the 5k was a Girls on the Run event so there were elementary school girls from all over the county participating, and of course their families were there to watch. There ended up being only 56 finishers in the 10-miler and a whopping 785 in the 5k, creating gridlock on the tiny 2-lane road around the school.


I started out this year’s race with a little bit of a knee issue and wore a brace on my right knee for the first time in several years. It really didn’t bother me much during the race and going in I was just hoping to finish in under 1:20:00, so I was satisfied with my time of 1:18:41.


I’m writing this blog entry 9 days after the race and, sorry to say, my knee problem has gotten worse instead of better during that time. I skipped the half marathon I had scheduled for the following week, and after running a few miles over the past week that seemed to exacerbate the situation, I’ve decided to take this entire week off of running in the hope that it will completely heal. I’ve never taken a whole week off of running, even when I’ve had injuries in the past, but it’s probably a good time to try it now and I’m hoping that will do the trick. If not I’ll end up scheduling a doctors appointment next week to get a better idea of what’s going on.

Me and Aaron Chan after the race.
Me and Aaron Chan after the race.

On the bright side, this race is part of the Gaston County YMCA series, which has been my focus for much of the year. It was my 10th race of the 15 in the series and only your top 10 race results are counted, so I’m okay if I don’t run any of the upcoming races through the end of the year. As a matter of fact, I did the math and I’m pretty sure that I’ll finish 2nd overall in the series no matter what. I can’t catch 1st place and I don’t think anybody below me can mathematically catch up with me. Of course, math never was my strong suit so maybe I’ll get a surprise before the end of the year.


Race Number:  358

Race Name:  Spencer Mountain 10-Miler and 5k

Location:  Ranlo, North Carolina (on the outskirts of Gastonia)

Date:  November 5, 2016

Race Rating:  83

Top 25 (10-Miler):



Top 25 (5k):


Course:  Flat and fast for the first 4 miles, followed by big rolling hills for the next 5 miles including a whopper of a hill in the 9th mile. Mile 10 is flat to the end.

  • Gain:  528 feet
  • Loss: 526 feet

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 43 degrees, 75% humidity, calm winds.

Race Results:

My Stats:

Time:  1:18:41
Pace:  7:52
Age Group:  2 of 5
Overall:  19 of 56
Average Heart Rate:  160
Maximum Heart Race: 167
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:01:52 (71.13%)


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!
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

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)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – 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
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

1 – 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
4 – 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
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

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

TOTAL:  83



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