Race #419 – Mount Holly 10k – Mount Holly, NC – 04/28/18

Formerly called the Mount Holly Springfest 5k, a couple years ago a 10k was added and it’s now the “Run Mount Holly 5k Downtown Dash and 10k River Run.” I’m not sure why, but as the name has expanded the crowd has contracted, and this year there were only about 120 total runners in both races, which is considerably fewer than there used to be when it was just a 5k. Most likely the major factor in the smaller race size is the number of races that are now available to choose from. I’ve also heard that not as many folks are running races as a few years ago, so a smaller turnout for all races is not surprising.

With a half marathon planned for next weekend I decided my best option would be to run the 10k, especially since it allowed me to squeeze out an extra point in our local race series. This would test my increasingly bothersome arthritic right knee a bit and at least give me an idea of how I should feel halfway through the half marathon. Not great but we’ll see.

One problem came up during the race. The course wasn’t marked as well as it should have been. At one point in the industrial park we ran through, I almost ran the wrong way. There was nobody close enough to see in front of me and I wasn’t sure whether to go left or right on a wide portion of pavement (not a parking lot and not a street, but something in between). I had to stop and ask the runners in back of me. Fortunately someone saw the faint white markings on the pavement that marked the course. So it was marked, but not well. There should have been some signs with arrows, especially when there were no volunteers at intersections. I talked to a few other runners who ended up off the course at another location and ended up running an extra half mile in the 10k.

Race Number:  419

Race Name:   Run Mount Holly 5k Downtown Dash and 10k River Run

Location:  Mount Holly, North Carolina

Date:  April 28, 2018

Race Rating:  70

Winners (Top 20):

 

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  49:04
  • Pace:   7:54
  • Age Group:  1 of 1
  • Overall:  17 of 39
  • Average Heart Rate:  161
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  170
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  37:46 (70.75%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun 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.]
0 – 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
0 – 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

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
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

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

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHY
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

PARKING
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

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

TOTAL:  70

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Race #416 – Cooper River Bridge 10k – Charleston SC – 04/07/18

It’s by far the largest race in the Carolinas, and one of the largest races in the United States with around 30,000 participants each year. I’ve always had it on my radar but for one reason or another I missed it every year until now. This was its 41st year and it’s organized beautifully with every aspect from the expo to the post-race party running smoothly.

For all of its grandeur, it’s a bit much for me so I probably won’t be back anytime soon, but not due to any faults with the race. Lately I prefer being home over traveling, and I enjoy the small local races as much or more than larger destination races.

The race itself was a lot of fun. The bridge was tough and even though I tried to stay within my heart rate goal, I couldn’t do it and keep any momentum at all so I just did my best, walking for 30 seconds or so three different times while going up the bridge. Coming down was a lot easier, of course, and the crowd support in Charleston was great. The post-race party was spectacular, with plenty of free food (I had barbecue, muffins, fruit, watermelon, and donuts) and lots of entertainment.

I’ve lost enough speed over the past couple years that I knew I didn’t stand a chance of placing in the top 3 in my age group, but from past results I figured top 10 was a possibility. I finished 8th out of 386 in the 65-69 age group with a time of 47:58, so I was pretty happy with that. Fortunately I qualified to start in the 45- to 50-minute corral, just ahead of the masses in the corrals behind us so there wasn’t a problem with there being slow people to have to dodge.

My wife Linda’s first race in a while… She did great!

Next week marks the beginning of the Run Gaston series, which is 18 local races in Gaston County where I live. I’m looking forward to settling into the small-town races.

Race Number:  416

Race Name:  Cooper River Bridge 10k

Location:  Charleston, South Carolina

Date:  April 7, 2018

Race Rating:  125

Winners:

Course:

Elevation:  *Note that the elevation as measured by Garmin is not correct because it doesn’t measure the height of the bridge but rather the ground (or water) underneath the bridge.

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  27:58
Pace:  7:43
Age Group:  8 of 386
Overall:  1140 of 27,447
Average Heart Rate: 163
Maximum Heart Rate: 173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:55 (72.38%)

Thanks to Tim Baucom for catching a photo of me along the course!

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – 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
5 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
9 – 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

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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
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

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – 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

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

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

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

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

PARKING
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces [remote]: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking [remote]: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
5 – 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
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   125

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Race #407 – Run Run Rudolph 10k – Charlotte, NC – 12/16/17

It’s no secret that I’m about as soft as they come in regards to cold weather, and the 25-degree temperature as this race began would ordinarily be enough to dissuade me from leaving home, but since I had wimped out the previous week because of some ice and (a little bit) of snow, I figured I’d better run this week regardless of the weather before I completely drop out of wintertime running. I know it’s North Carolina, and it’s balmy here in comparison to much of the country, but that fact provides little comfort to a cold-weather hater like myself.

I bundled up with around 5 extra pounds of clothing, negating any benefits that cold weather running might provide over racing in hot weather, and once the race got underway it actually wasn’t too bad. Much of the first mile was uphill so it didn’t take long to at least get tired if not completely thawed out. The second mile was predominantly downhill so that provided some relief after the long uphill. The third mile was more of a combination of rolling hills, and since I chose the 10k option instead of the 5k, when I arrived at the 5k finish line I had the pleasure of continuing to run the exact same course a second time, complete with all the hills. Elevation gain for the 10k was 483 feet according to my Garmin, which turned out to be quite a bit more hills than I was anticipating.

As I crossed the 5k finish line my time was 23:51 and I started wondering whether I might actually cross over into the dreaded 50+ minutes for my 10k time. I did slow down some the second time around but still managed to stay under 50 minutes with a time of 49:05. I’d like to attribute being a little slower to age or hills, but it’s probably got more to do with my recent poor diet and gaining back the 10 pounds I had lost a few months ago. The story of my life.

After the race the hot chocolate bar was fantastic, so just in case my 10k had caused me to burn 500 or so extra calories I made sure to offset any deficits. Wouldn’t want to get rid of that 10 pounds ya know.

Race Number:  407

Race Name: Run Run Rudolph 5k/10k

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina (University Research Park)

Date:  December 16, 2017

Race Rating:  89

Top Finishers:

Participants:

Course: Surprisingly hilly loop course through University Business Park. The 10k was 2 loops of the 5k course.

Elevation:

Elevation Gain/Loss by Mile:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 25 degrees, calm wind, 86% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  49:05
Pace:  7:53
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall:  17 of 99
Average Heart Rate:  155
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  38:08 (70.05%)

Jeff Linson snapped this picture of him and me just as he was leaving this race to go to his 2nd of 3 races this Saturday, ending the year with 77 total races.

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – 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
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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

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

POST RACE
7 – 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

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
4 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3) (Nice long sleeve hoodie!)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
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

PARKING
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

OTHER
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
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (nice hoodie!)

TOTAL:  89

 

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Race #402 – Spencer Mountain 10k/5k – Gastonia, NC – 11/04/17

This is one of the races I look forward to every fall, partly because of the near legendary hill you have to climb to the finish but also because it’s just up the road about 3 miles from my house. It’s actually in the town of Ranlo, which is just outside Gastonia.

The “Spencer Mountain 10-Miler” seemed to me to be one of the most iconic races around and I remember hearing about it long before I ever became a runner in 2008. During last year’s 10-miler there was an unfortunate accident where one of the runners was hit by a car and severely injured, which resulted in a decision to discontinue the 10-miler and replace it was a 10k instead that would go in the same direction as the 5k and would be much more manageable in terms of traffic control.

It’s too bad that this race is dwindling in popularity. This year there were only 40 finishers in the 10k and another 59 in the 5k, for a total of 99 runners. The first year I ran it back in 2009 there were a total of 287 finishers. There are too many races these days to choose from so a race needs to do something to stand out from the crowd and unfortunately this one seems like it’s on autopilot. Better post-race food, better awards, and a person with a camera who can produce some race photos would possibly give it a boost.

I ran the 10k and for me personally I liked the course. It was out-and-back for what used to be the last 5k of the 10-mile course, and even though it was the part with the most hills it was also the most scenic part of the race. The big hill is still part of the course, but at least you get to go down it on the way out so it kind of evens things out a little.

I was happy with my finishing time of 47:33, which was 7th overall, and managed to squeak by Andrew Cook so once again we are tied for second place in the Gaston County YMCA series with 582 points each. There are only two races left in the series, and while neither of us has a chance to catch speedy Jimmy Glover unless he happens not to show up (unlikely), it’ll be fun to see how things turn out between me and Andrew. He pointed out to me that the next race in the series is a much bigger race (about 1,200 runners) so it’s likely that we’ll have a larger gap between us then. He also told me he’s coming back a day early from his vacation in Arizona so he can be back in time for the race, so he’s serious! Unfortunately the trophies for 2nd and 3rd place are virtually the same (wish they’d change that) so all either of us will get for 2nd place will be bragging rights, but it’s fun to have that extra element of friendly competition.

Race Number:  402

Race Name:  Spencer Mountain 10k & 5k

Location:  Ranlo, North Carolina  (Just outside Gastonia)

Date:  November 4, 2017

Race Rating:  79

Winners (Top 20):

 

Course:  Out-and-back course on rural mountain road with lots of ups and downs. First and last mile of the course is flat.

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start:  Unseasonably warm, sunny, 64 degrees, 88% humidity (Probably the last warm race of the year!)

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

 

My Stats:

Time:  47:33
Pace:  7:40
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall:  7 of 40
Average Heart Rate:  165
Maximum Heart Race:  172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:57 (72.31%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
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
0 – 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

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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

AWARDS
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)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
4 – 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

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

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

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

PARKING
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

OTHER
2 – 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:  79

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Race #395 – Stop Soldier Suicide 10k/5k – Belmont NC – 09/23/17

After the big trip to Texas it was good to get back home to the local races. This one’s fun and well organized, and it’s one of the few 10k opportunities in Gaston County. It’s also the third race of eight in the Gaston County YMCA fall racing series, and since I’m trying to run all of the series races this fall I definitely didn’t want to miss it, even though I’m already registered for a half marathon the next day.

I felt good and ran my fastest 10k in two years (46:48), which surprised me and probably a couple people I passed in the race, and I bumped up to 3rd overall in the YMCA race series, only 2 points behind 2nd place.

Last year there was a little bit of a snafu with the 5k race, with some runners missing the turnaround, but this year everything seemed to go smoothly.

There were a total of 286 runners in the two races (115 in the 10k and 171 in the 5k). Even though the 5k has more runners, the 10k tends to draw some fast runners who are trying to collect some of the cash prizes offered for the top three male and female runners. There’s no cash for the 5k race, and I didn’t have a chance to win any in the 10k, but for the YMCA race series, the 10k runners receive 15 bonus points for running the longer distance.

Race Number:  395

Race Name:  Stop Soldier Suicide 10k/5k

Location: Belmont, North Carolina

Date: September 23, 2017

Race Rating:  92

Winners (10k Top 20):

Winners (5k Top 20):

Course: Mostly through neighborhoods around Belmont. Not very hilly. The 5k course was out-and-back.

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start: Sunny, 68 degrees, 94% humidity.

 

Race Results:

 

My Stats:

Time:  46:48
Pace:  7:31
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall:  16 of 115
Average Heart Rate:  156
Maximum Heart Race:  165
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:22 (73.47%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
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
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
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
2 – 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

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

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

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

T-SHIRTS
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

PHOTOGRAPHY
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

PARKING
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

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

TOTAL:   92

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Race #394 – Toughest 10k Kemah – Houston, Texas – 09/17/17

It’s not often that I visit Texas, so this was a special trip and a special race for me. My wife’s brother has lived here for many years and since time seems to be going more quickly as we all age, we decided to pay him and his family a visit. Of course, I planned the trip around a race, and I found the Toughest 10k, which looked to be a fun race and quite a challenge. It’s also a fairly large race, with 1,882 finishers this year, and it’s been chosen as next year’s RRCA National Championship 10k.

We paid in advance for our flight on Southwest Airlines, our hotel, and the race, and for all of them I chose the cheapest price, which meant they were all non-refundable. That seemed reasonable at the time I made the reservations a few months earlier, but I didn’t take into account that it’s hurricane season, and on August 25th (three weeks before the race) Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area with record flooding. From North Carolina it looked like if we made the trip we’d be standing in line to get bottled water, but it turned out that just three weeks after the disastrous flooding things looked pretty good in Houston, and although there were people and businesses who lost everything in the flooding, the nation’s fourth largest city was somewhat back to business as usual.

As I hoped it would be, the race was fun but it was definitely a challenge. I couldn’t wait to check my Garmin stats and see the elevation stats. I was just a little freaked out when I read the stats: 14 feet of elevation gain and 10 feet of elevation loss. After I regained my composure I did some research online to see what happened. Turns out there’s a logical explanation for the lack of elevation data. My Garmin watch only takes into account the topographic data available and does not measure the bridge or its elevation, so even though I’m climbing up the bridge my Garmin thinks I’m on the ground below the bridge.

I read elsewhere that the Kemah bridge is actually 83 feet high, with a 4.3% grade going in one direction and a 5.0% grade in the opposite direction. We made four complete trips over the bridge, and in addition to that we ran under the bridge and back up, which must have been another 20-30 feet of uphill on each trip. Whatever the actual elevation, I had to stop and take one or two walk breaks on each uphill section, which didn’t help my time a lot but I was pretty happy with my time of 50:45, which was 1st in my age group and 87th overall out of 1,882 finishers.

Race Number:  394

Race Name:  Toughest 10k Kemah

Location:  Kemah, Texas (Just outside Houston)

Date: September 17, 2017

Race Rating:  121  (That could be a record!)

Winners:

My Age Group (65-69):

Course:  Flat and fast except for the four passes over the Kemah Bridge.

 

To give you a better idea of the race location, here’s a map of the area. The Kemah Boardwalk is on the Galveston Bay. At the top of the bridge there is a view of Galveston Bay on one side and Clear Lake on the other side. Unfortunately I was so concerned with getting over the bridge I didn’t bother to look.

Elevation:

I was kind of mortified when I saw this elevation chart, but as I explained above there was more to the elevation story.

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 75 degrees, 89% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Professional Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

Time:  50:45 (chip time)
Pace:  8:10
Age Group:  1 of 19
Overall: 87 of 1,882
Average Heart Rate:  166
Maximum Heart Race: 178
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  39:26 (67.75%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – 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
8 – 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

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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
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

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – 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

POST RACE
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

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

T-SHIRTS
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

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

PARKING
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

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

TOTAL:  121

I had the pleasure of meeting and starting the race with Ben Harvie (#1787), a Houston running legend and elite marathoner and triathlete who has been a member of Team USA at the ITU (International Triathlon Union) World Championships for many years. He’s also a well known Houston lawyer and all-around nice guy (as great runners tend to be). He won the 70-74 age group and beat me by 2 minutes.
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Race #388 – Great Waldensian Foot Race 5k/10k – Valdese, NC – 08/12/17

For the past 42 years this race has been held in conjunction with the Waldensian Festival, a celebration of the history of Valdese. After the race it’s fun to stroll through the downtown festival just a couple blocks away from the race venue (the local community center) and check out the craft tents, entertainment, and food, all of which are hopping by the time the race ends.

The $10 race day entry fee (without a shirt) makes this the cheapest local race I know of, and every year the race draws lots of old school runners from surrounding communities but also quite a few high schoolers as well. I’ve run the race multiple times and have always chosen the 5k option. The rumors run rampant about the big hill on the way back if you choose to run the 10k, and I’ve never been in the mood to tackle an extra big hill. This week though, I missed a day of running as I was traveling and I needed a few extra miles so I figured I might as well see what all the fuss was about the famous hill and I opted to run the 10k for the first time.

It turns out that the big hill was tough, but I’d heard so many horror stories I thought it would be even worse, so it was a relief to find out it wasn’t that big of a deal. My Garmin measured the elevation gain of the entire race at a little less than 300 feet. That’s a speed bump compared to the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon that I ran earlier this year, which had an elevation gain of 1,668 feet. I believe the hill might be more of a psychological roadblock in this race because it’s predominantly downhill going 3 miles out (maybe 75%) then it’s 75% uphill on the way back, making for an uncomfortable final 3 miles. It wasn’t easy but I enjoyed it (by the time it was over) and if I’m feeling good I’ll probably do the 10k in the future. The 5k always has many more runners than the 10k. This year there were 135 finishers in the 5k but only 39 in the 10k.

Race Number:  388

Race Name:  Great Waldensian Road Race 5k & 10k

Location: Valdese, North Carolina

Date:  August 12, 2017

Race Rating:  81

Winners – 10k (Top 25):

Winners – 5k (Top 25):

Course:  Out-and-back on country roads with rolling hills. Both courses go along the same route but the 5k turnaround is much less hilly since it turns around before the big hill.

Elevation:

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

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  48:50
  • Pace: 7:52
  • Age Group:  1 of 3
  • Overall: 12 of 39
  • Average Heart Rate: 159
  • Maximum Heart Race: 169
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time: 37:57 (70.41%)
After the race with running friends Mike Albright and Dean Simon.

 

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
1 – 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!
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

REGISTRATION
5 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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

AWARDS
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)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHY
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

PARKING
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

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

TOTAL:  81

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Race #383 – SC Peach Festival 10k & 5k – Gaffney, SC – 07/08/17

Needing some extra race mileage, I once again chose to run the 10k option instead of the 5k, hoping to improve a little on this past Tuesday’s 4th of July 10k. I managed to shave 6 seconds off Tuesday’s time so I guess that’s better than being slower. This one also had more hills and the humidity was 100%, so all in all I felt okay about my run.

 

This race itself is somewhat of a disaster and if I’m still running next year and haven’t completely lost my memory, I’ll instead run the Coon Dog Day 5k in Saluda which is generally held on the same day.

 

The only water stop in the 10k was 4 miles into the race. I didn’t pay attention since I usually carry my own water, but one runner up front said there was nobody at the water stop when they went by and you had to pull a water bottle out of the plastic packaging if you wanted it. Another runner near the back said they were offered water by a person, but it was a closed bottle. Uh, no thanks. This is supposed to be a race. There was water and Gatorade at the finish but it was all hot so it wasn’t that appealing with the soaring temperatures and 100% humidity.

 

The one bright spot was that the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall winners as well as Masters (40-and-over) in both races received money (1st=$100; 2nd=$50; and 3rd=$25). If you were one of those top runners that was a plus, but most of us weren’t in that category, although I was 4th among those 40-and-over, so I felt okay about that.

 

To say that the age group awards were an afterthought is an understatement. After giving the overall awards they gave out some hats and T-shirts as door prizes. Then they presented awards to the 15 little kids who ran in the 1k kids race. Their overall awards (1st male and female) were really nice plaques, and the other kids received pretty nice trophies as well. After handing out the kids awards, the lady in charge said, “That’s it. Thanks for coming to the race.” A lot of people started leaving but of course some of the people who were waiting for the age group awards got a little miffed and went up to the table asking about the age group awards. She said “Oh yeah” or something to that effect, and then finally announced the age group winners for both races. I guess it’s kind of odd how we age-groupers will wait for the awards even when we know they’re crappy, and these are about as bad as they come — a ribbon. They did have the name of the race at least, so they weren’t quite generic ribbons.

 

I looked back to 2010 and saw that there were a total of 363 runners that year in the 5k and 10k combined, compared to 165 this year. My guess is that this race, which has been held since 1977, is on its last leg unless somebody takes over who has an interest in seeing it become a popular road race again. If you’re looking for me next year I’ll at the Coon Dog Day 5k.

Race Number:  383

 

Race Name:  SC Peach Festival 5k & 10k

 

Location:  Gaffney, South Carolina (Limestone College)

 

Date:  July 8, 2017

 

Race Rating:  84

 

Winners (10k):

 

Winners (5k):

 

Course:  Through neighborhoods in Gaffney. Some rolling hills. The 5k and 10k courses overlap at different points in the race and I passed some of the slower 5k runners three times during the race.

 

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 72 degrees, 100% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  49:06
  • Pace:  7:55
  • Age Group:  1 of 2
  • Overall:  11 of 50
  • Average Heart Rate:  160
  • Maximum Heart Race: 173
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time: 38:09 (70.03%)

 

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
1 – 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
0 – 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

REGISTRATION
5 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap! ($20 race day for either race)
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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

AWARDS
5 – 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

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

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

T-SHIRTS
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

PHOTOGRAPHY
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

PARKING
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

OTHER
2 – 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
0 – 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:  84

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Race # 382 – Common Heart Firecracker Run 5k & 10k – Indian Trail, NC – 07/04/17

This 4th of July I decided to run the 10k option at the Common Heart Firecracker Run, which is held at the “Village of Lake Park” just outside Indian Trail. I’d heard it was a good race and pretty flat. Since my 100th half marathon in April the longest distance I’ve raced has been a 5k, but with another half marathon coming up in just two weeks I decided it’s time to get back in shape for some longer distances.

 

The Village at Lake Park provides a great venue for a race and the 10k course is actually two loops of the 5k. That suited me fine since on the second loop I had a much better idea of what was coming up along the course.

 

My only goal for the race was to finish in less than 50 minutes, which I managed to barely do with a time of 49:13. It was my second slowest 10k in eight years but I was actually pretty pleased since I seldom run 10k races these days and my 24:00+ 5k’s lately made me wonder if I could still run a 10k in under 50:00. This 4th of July race was on Tuesday and my next race (4 days later) is another 10k, followed by The Scream Half Marathon a week later.

 

Race Number:  382

Race Name:  Common Heart Firecracker Run 5k & 10k

Location:  Village of Lake Park (just outside Indian Trail, North Carolina)

Date:  July 4, 2017

Race Rating:  87

Winners:

 

Course:  Nearly flat loop through neighborhood. The 10k does the 5k loop twice.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 73 degrees, calm winds, 89% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from Christy Miller Photography

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

  • Time:   49:13
  • Pace:  7:55
  • Age Group:  1 of 3
  • Overall:  12 of 78
  • Average Heart Rate: 162
  • Maximum Heart Race: 173
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  38:15  (69.86%)

 

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
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
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
1 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes (5k certified but 10k not certified)
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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

AWARDS
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)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
3 – 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

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

T-SHIRTS
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

PHOTOGRAPHY
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

PARKING
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

OTHER
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
0 – 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:  87

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Race #363 – Hot Chocolate 10k – Asheville, NC – 01/21/17

I last ran this race seven years ago (Race #71), all the way back in 2010, only my second full year of running. A year earlier in 2009 (Race #16) it was the first 10k I had ever run. It was a great race back then, and still is, but over the years I’ve become much less willing to drive 100 miles to run a race, especially in the winter.

 

I was glad I finally went back this year. It’s still probably the flattest 10k in Asheville, beginning and ending at the Isaac Dickson Elementary School. The 10k is a pretty big race with more than 500 finishers, and in addition to that, hundreds of kids also take part in the Marshmallow Dash (ages 8 and under) and the 1k Kids Hill Climb (ages 12 and under). The races are followed by entertainment and awards as well as plenty of hot chocolate in the school cafeteria and gymnasium.

 

This year I was about 5 minutes slower than when I ran the race in 2010, but that’s about par for the course these days. I don’t really like getting slower as I get older but that’s the way it works, so I’m glad I’m at least still running when a lot of other folks my age have been knocked out of the racing loop for one reason or another. On the bright side, I was about a minute faster than when I ran it as my first 10k in 2009. There’s something to be said for experience I suppose.

 

Race Number:  363

Race Name:  Asheville Hot Chocolate 10k

Location: Isaac Dickson Elementary School, Asheville, North Carolina

Date:  January 21, 2017

Race Rating: 88

Winners:

My Age Group (60-64):


Course: Out-and-back course with about a half mile down hill at the start, traveling along the French Broad River for several miles for a loop around French Broad River Park before traveling back to the school. Nearly flat except for the huge hill (maybe 1/2 mile) coming back up the hill at the end. Almost all of the elevation gain is in the last mile of the race.

Elevation:

Almost completely flat except for the start and finish.

Weather at Start:  Cloudy, 46 degrees, 93% humidity, calm winds.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from “The 828” (55 pics)

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  48:23
Pace: 7:48
Age Group:  1 of 13
Overall:  75 of 531
Average Heart Rate: 163
Maximum Heart Race: 171
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 37:58 (70.38%)

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* RACE RATING *
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RACE COURSE
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
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

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
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
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

AWARDS
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)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
6 – 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

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
2 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes (*Saved $5 by not getting a shirt!)

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

PARKING
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

(*Parking is kind of a mess… We parked about a half mile away)

OTHER
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 (*Asheville Track Club Grand Prix)
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  88

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