Race #384 – The Scream! Half Marathon – Jonas Ridge, NC – 07/15/17

Since its inception in 2011, The Scream! has been one of the races I look forward to every year. I’ve had to miss it twice — once because of injury and another time because of the weather — but I’m always eager to do it again.


It’s an odd race in some ways. Runners park at the Brown Mountain Beach Resort along Wilson Creek somewhere between Morganton and Lenoir North Carolina. It’s in the middle of nowhere at the foot of the mountain and just getting there on the winding road is half the fun. Once you’re parked, it’s time to get on a bus and travel about 20 miles to the starting line at the top of the mountain in the town of Jonas Ridge. After exiting the bus and getting your bib and maybe something from the convenience store, it’s another half mile jog to the starting line. After you run the 13.1 miles to the finish line you end up in the tiny ghost town of Mortimer, where there’s a little convenience store in an old house and not much else that I could see. You then hop on the bus again to return to Brown Mountain Beach Resort which is about another 7 or 8 miles away. There’s plenty of food when you get back (catered barbecue this year — some years it’s been different). Some runners cool off in Wilson Creek and others just hang around for the awards, but it’s a pleasant place and a good chance to meet up with runners you haven’t seen in a while.


As advertised, the half marathon course is mostly downhill, with a net elevation drop of a little over 2,000 feet. That makes it faster than most but it can be a little deceptive too. There’s also more than 500 feet of elevation gain along the way.


This year I was about 10 minutes slower than the first time I ran this race in 2011 (1:42:01 this year as opposed to 1:32:11 in 2011) but that’s no big surprise since I’m now 65 years old and definitely slowing down. Whatever the time, I’ll be looking forward to running this race again next year.


Race Number:  384


Race Name:  The Scream! Half Marathon


Location:  Jonas Ridge, North Carolina


Date:  July 15, 2017


Race Rating:  98


Winners (Top 25):


Course:  First 2 miles are rolling hills at the top of the mountain, followed by about 9 miles down a dirt road to the bottom of the mountain, with the last couple miles fairly flat to the finish.



Weather at Start:  Sunny, 70 degrees, 100% humidity, calm winds


Race Results:


Click Here for Race Website


My Stats:

  • Time:  1:42:01
  • Pace:  7:47
  • Age Group:  1 of 5
  • Overall: 42 of 255
  • Average Heart Rate:  155
  • Maximum Heart Race:  167
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:31 (73.42%)
I was taking one of my many walk breaks about 12 miles into the race when I heard my name and looked around. It was my friend Marcy, who ran with me the last mile as we provided each other some encouragement to the finish line.


3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – 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
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!
0 – 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)
0 – 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
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
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

9 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – 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

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

0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – 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
+10* – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

  • I added 10 points to the total just for the race experience. There are a few things that result in a lower point score such as parking and no professional photography, but overall this is a unique and enjoyable race that every half marathon runner should experience if you’re able to. 


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