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.

2016-cats-cradle-5k-me-mccormack-peay
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

 

Winners:

5k Top 15:

2016-cats-cradle-5k-top15

 

10k Top 15:

2016-cats-cradle-10k-top15
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%)
2016-cats-cradle-GCR-group-CROPPED
Gaston County Runners

***************
* 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
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

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
5 – 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)
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
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
10 – 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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  94

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Race #332 – Mount Holly Springfest 5k/10k – Mount Holly, NC – 04/30/16

47__Mount-Holly-SignThis was the 19th annual running of the Mount Holly Springfest 5k but only the first year of the 10k option. It’s the 5th race in the Gaston County YMCA race series this year and since they awarded 15 extra points for finishers of the 10k I decided to run the longer race. The extra 15 points came in handy and I bumped myself up to third place overall in the race series.

 

The race was held at a new location this year, which was a nice location although the former location was a good one as well. The 10k started 15 minutes before the 5k and went in a different direction, then came back and ran the 5k course.

 

This was my 30th 10k race (I just counted them on Athlinks) but the first this year after having only run one 10k in 2015, so I have to go back a couple years to compare how I’m doing. I was slower this time around but I’m feeling like my slowdown is becoming more in line with normal aging and overall I don’t have any major aches and pains right now, so I actually feel pretty good about my current running level.

 

Just as in every other year I’ve run this race, there was a drawing after the race that featured some great giveaways. One of my friends received a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant. There were weekend vacations (I remember hearing Atlanta as one of locations) and a number of other good prizes.

 

The post-race food was also good. The healthy fruit looked appetizing but most people (including me) were drawn to the donuts and coffee. It’s a tried and true formula: run off 500 calories in a race, then eat 1000 calories to make up for it. And we wonder why we get slower.

 

Race Number:  332

 

Race Name:  Mount Holly Springfest 5k & 10k

 

Location:  Mount Holly, North Carolina

 

Date:  April 30, 2016

 

Race Rating:  87

 

Winners:

2016-mt-holly-top20-10k

 

2016-mt-holly-top20-5k

 

 
Course: Kinda hilly but not terrible. The new part of the 10k goes through an industrial park that’s not exactly on the scenic side, but it was very well marked with a dashed line you couldn’t miss and there weren’t many hills in that area. Halfway through the 10k it meets up with the 5k route and continues to the finish. There are quite a few 5k walkers to dodge but I didn’t have any trouble making my way around them.
Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 64 degrees, 88% humidity

2016-mt-holly-MAP

 

Race Results:

 

My Stats:

Time:  47:54
Pace:  7:42
Age Group:  1 of  1
Overall:  9 of  55
Average Heart Rate:  162
Maximum Heart Race: 171
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  37:35 (71.09%)

2016-mt-holly-friends
Some friends after the race. (Thanks to Penny Hodge for the photo)

***************
* 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
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!
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
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
9 – 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)
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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  87

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Race #318 – Jingle Bell Rockin’ Run 5k/10k – Kings Mountain NC – 12/05/15

2015-jinglebellKM-LOGOThe last time I ran this race it started and finished at the gazebo in downtown Kings Mountain. It’s usually one of the coldest races of the year and I remember in 2008 they had a 6-foot long sub sandwich that ended up being frozen by the time the race ended. Since then the venue has changed to First Baptist Church in KM and that’s a great improvement. Both before and after the race the runners and spectators can go into the church, where the warmth is appreciated by most of us this time of year.

 

This year’s race was chilly but not nearly as cold as the year of the frozen sub. Although the low temperature that morning was about 32 degrees, by the 9:00 a.m. start the thermometer had risen to about 40 degrees. The 5k and 10k runners all started together and it’s not a small race, with about 650 finishers in the two distances combined.

 

The two races split up only about a quarter mile into the race, which I like, since it gives me a better idea of who’s actually in front of me. I ran the 5k, and after the split there was a pretty big hill and I tried to count the runners who were up ahead. It was a little crowded but I counted at least 20 in front of me so I thought if I could hold my spot and finish in the top 20 that would be good. I felt pretty good and actually passed some folks along the way and ended up finishing 11th overall, which was a pleasant surprise since I didn’t try to keep up the counting and figured I was still around 20th in the race. Best of all for me was that I finished as “3rd Male Master” (third fastest over 40 years old). Since I’m now 63, any Masters top 3 is rare for me, especially since most races don’t have a Masters category, and those who do are usually only 1-deep.

 

There was a little food outside after the race and about a half dozen boxes of donuts inside the building, which didn’t last long (although I managed to scarf up 3 donut holes early). On the plus side, there was plenty of hot coffee and hot chocolate inside and they kept it flowing throughout the post-race festivities.

2015-jinglebellKM-friends
I made an Irish exit before it was all over so I missed the group pic, but the Gaston County Runners and the Cleveland County Running Club were well represented.

Several people mentioned that this was one of their favorite 5k races of the year and it really is a good one. A major draw for a lot of folks is that instead of a T-shirt they have a really nice pullover hoodie, which is itself almost worth the registration price of the race. Unfortunately for me, in order to get a hoodie you had to register before November 20th, so I didn’t get one since I registered on race morning. I was told that I should add my name to the list of people who didn’t get a shirt, so I did that. I’m not sure if or when I’ll get a hoodie or a T-shirt, but if they send me one I’ll update this blog entry with that information.

 

Race Number: 318

 

Race Name:  Jingle Bell Rockin’ Run 5k/10k

 

Location:  Kings Mountain, North Carolina

 

Date:  December 5, 2015

 

Race Rating:  95

2015-jinglebellKM-chad-and-payton
Chad Lenox was the winner of the 10k and his 6-year-old daughter Payton was the youngest finisher of the 5k! She has run “about a half dozen” 5k races this year according to Chad.

Winners:

  • 5k Male:  Gunner Hogston (Age 13) — 19:15
  • 5k Female:  Amy Edelstein (Age 38) — 20:43
  • 10k Male:  Chad Lenox (Age 33) — 38:54
  • 10k Female:  Heather Hovan (Age 38) — 39:01

 

2015-jinglebellKM-courseCourse:  Around side streets and neighborhoods of Kings Mountain. A few small hills but nothing major.

 

Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  110 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  112 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  892 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  982 feet

 

Weather at Start:  41 degrees (felt like 36 degrees) and sunny; 8 mph North wind; 65% humidity

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

Time:  21:40
Pace:  6:59
Age Group:  1 of  8
Overall:  11 of  449
Average Heart Rate:  159
Maximum Heart Race:  170
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:11  (75.54%)

2015-jinglebellKM-mitchell-and-richard
Running giant Mitchell Rippy was nice enough to bend his knees at about a 30-degree angle as I stood on my tiptoes so we would look almost the same height.

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip 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
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!
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
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)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – 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  (*Extra credit given below for hoodie)
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
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
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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (*High quality hoodie worth registration price!)

TOTAL:  95

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Race #305 – Lake Lure Olympiad Dam Run 10k – Lake Lure, NC

2015-dam-run-LOGOThe hills were alive with runners — and in my case walkers — in the first of three races that make up the Lake Lure Olympiad. This Friday night 10k was followed on Saturday by a sprint triathlon then on Sunday with a 5k that began at the bottom and climbed to the top of the Chimney Rock parking lot. Some athletes do all three races but I was only concerned with what was surely the easiest, since it didn’t involve swimming, cycling, or running completely up the side of a mountain with no downhill at all. The 10k was all hills — either up or down — so I did have the benefit of having some merciful downhill breathers, but it was still possibly the toughest 10k I’ve ever run. I didn’t actually count them during the race, but according to my Garmin I walked a total of 13 times during the race, which is a little more than two times every mile… Ouch! As usual, the only thing I looked at during the race was my heart rate, so I expected the worst in regards to time and thought I might do well to finish in under 50 minutes. In the end, my time was 46:22, and even though that’s one of my slower 10k times I was pretty happy with it considering all of the walk breaks, and I managed to win the age group by about a minute over 64-year-old Doug Miller, who I met after the race. He had been keeping an eye on me throughout most of the race, and had I known that I would have probably walked less, but lucky for me he wasn’t quite able to catch me.

 

Now on to the important stuff. Jim Owens had told me in advance that this was his favorite race of the year because of the great party afterwards on the beach. And he was right. The food was plentiful and delicious and the view of Chimney Rock and the lake was spectacular, making it worth the miserable 6-mile run to get there. There were lots of homemade baked cookies and brownies, fruit of course, maybe 10 different types of pasta salad, and ice cream sundaes where you could choose your own toppings.

 

Despite my general dislike of hills, I really did enjoy the experience and I’ll probably be back for more of this challenge in the future.

 

I’ve waited about a week for photos to be posted and so far all I’ve seen is some pics of the triathlon on Saturday, so I’m going to assume there were no pics for the 10k. I’ll change my rating if I eventually do find some photos.

 

Race Number:  305

 

Race Name:  Lake Lure Olympiad Dam Run 10k

 

Location:  Lake Lure, North Carolina

 

Date:  August 14, 2015

 

Race Rating:  79

 

Winners:

  • M:  Adam Weeks (Hickory, NC) (Age 34) — 34:29
  • F:  Blakely Garrity (Cary, NC) (Age 24) — 42:30

 

Course:  Huge downhill at the beginning from Ingles grocery store to the lake, followed by rolling hills that seemed to be a lot more up than down until ending along the beach in the sand.

 

Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  634 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  778 feet (mostly in the first mile it seems)

 

Weather at Start:  73 degrees, 83% humidity, and partly cloudy.

 

Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

Time:  46:22
Pace:  7:28
Age Group:  1 of  6
Overall:  31 of  178
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  181
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:44  (72.74%)

 

***************
* 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
8 – 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
0 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
0 – 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
2 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 – 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)
8 – 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
1 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
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
0 – 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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  79

 

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Race #304 – The Great Waldensian Footrace 5k & 10k – Valdese, NC – 08/08/15

2015-great-waldensianNow in its 40th year, the Great Waldensian Footrace is one of North Carolina’s oldest road races. It’s held every year in conjunction with the Waldensian Festival in Valdese, which is a great mountain festival that’s fun to visit after the race.

 

I had forgotten just how many hills there were in the 5k, but it’s pretty much rolling hills the whole way. I’ve always taken the easy way out by running the 5k option, because I’ve heard the horror stories about the monstrous hill at the 10k turn-around point, which is apparently a mile or so long. It’s a fun race — not too big and not too small — but the main draw (as I see it) is the unbelievably low registration cost. It’s only 6 bucks to register for either race on race day as long as you don’t care about the shirt. The T-shirt is nice but it adds $10 to the registration price, still the best deal I’ve ever seen for race-day registration. Due to the rock bottom registration price I’m giving it an extra 10 points on my rating system. It’s nice to be able to save 20 or 30 dollars on race day!

 

It had been three weeks since my last race thanks to a lack of decent races within a 50-mile radius in late July and early August, and I’m not in the greatest shape, so I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to knock a little over a minute off of my last 5k time even though I walked a couple times in the race.

 

In previous years this race went 5-deep in 5-year age groups, which is a bit of overkill for a race this size. This year they went to 3-deep awards, with medals instead of trophies, and while that’s a little less of a perk it’s more in line with what you get in a good small-town race with a couple hundred runners, so I think it’s a change for the better. They still have huge trophies for the top 3 overall (male and female) in both races, which are great, but have scaled back the age group awards from fairly big trophies to generic medals. I’m okay with that but I think it might disappoint some who have run in previous years. Hard to complain though with the low registration price, and the awards ceremony is a good one, this year held by the outdoor pool adjoining the recreation center.

 

I’d heard rumors that the race wouldn’t be held this year and was glad to see they weren’t true. I’d really like to see this one continue for many more years. Although it’s not a huge race, it does draw a lot of long-time runners who have come to appreciate it over the years, and I’m definitely one who plans on coming back next year.

 

Race Number:  304

 

Race Name:  Great Waldensian Footrace 10k/5k

 

Location:  Valdese, North Carolina

 

Date:  August 8, 2015

 

Race Rating:  96

 

Winners:

  • 5k Male:  Jacob Parker (Age 17) (Elkin, NC) – 17:05
  • 10k Male:  Caleb Critcher (Age 31) (Deep Gap, NC) – 36:19
  • 5k Female:  Emily Byrd (Age 22) (Connelly Springs, NC) – 20:44
  • 10k Female:  Liz Loftis (Age 25) (Rock Hill, SC) – 45:42

Course:  Both courses are out-and-back. Plenty of rolling hills in both but there’s a major downhill (about a mile from what I’ve heard) in the 10k past the 5k turn-around that you have to climb on the way back.

 

Weather at Start:  68 degrees, 100% humidity, and clear.

 

Race Results:

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  22:07
  • Pace:   7:07
  • Age Group:  1 of 6
  • Overall:  22 of 175
  • Average Heart Rate:  163
  • Maximum Heart Race:  171
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:32 (74.03%)

 

***************
* 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
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!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Clear link on website: (0)no (1)yes   *(Not on Waldensian site)

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)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
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)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes  *(No entertainment at the race but plenty at the festival afterwards)
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
2 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
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
10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) *(+10 extra points for $6 race-day registration)

TOTAL:  96

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Race #299 – Cat’s Cradle 5k – Morganton, NC – 06/13/15

race3314_logo.brBl-IThe Cat’s Cradle 10k/5k has become one of my running club’s (Gaston County Runners) favorite races. For each of the past three years we’ve had an increasingly larger group each year to make the approximately 70-mile drive to Morganton for the race. It’s flat and fast along the scenic Catawba River Greenway, although this year by the 8:30 starting time the temperature was in the upper 70s and before the race was over it was a scorcher. I was about 2 minutes slower than at this same race last year, again running the 5k instead of the 10k, having just run a half marathon the previous week and with another one coming up in just a couple more weeks. Quite a few other runners were slower, mostly due to the heat, but I have other issues that probably affected me more than the heat.

 

After finishing the 5k I grabbed my camera out of the car and had fun taking pics of the rest of the 5k race then most of the 10k runners as well. I deleted a lot of the bad photos but kept the best and ended up with about 350 pictures in all, so my photography session was actually more successful than my race! Maybe I’ll become a race photographer if I ever have to stop running. The photos can be viewed by the public on my Facebook page. Click here for the photo album.

 

Race Number:  299

Race Name:  Cat’s Cradle 5k & 10k

Location:  Catawba River Greenway – Morganton, NC

Date:  June 13, 2015

Race Rating:  93

Winners:

5k:

  • M:  Abram Logan  (18:26)
  • F:  Amber Opp (20:39)

10k:

  • M:  Bobby Aswell Jr.  (41:14)
  • F:  Amy Edelstein  (43:25)

Course:  Flat and fast (just a couple of slight inclines). Lots of shade for the 5k provided a little protection from the heat. Not as much shade for the 10k.

Weather at Start:  Upper 70s (and climbing quickly)
Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos (My Facebook Album – 346 pics)

 

2015-cats-cradle-GCR-group
Group pic of the Gaston County Runners after the race.

 

 

2015-cats-cradle-me-and-linda
Me and my wife Linda. She’s doing great on her recovery from last year’s health problems and is back to running 5k’s.

 

2015-cats-cradle-chris-wendy
Our GCR friends Chris and Wendy. They ran the 10k in the morning and got married that afternoon!

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  23:10
  • Pace:  7:33
  • Age Group:  1 of  3
  • Overall:  10 of  115
  • Average Heart Rate:  162
  • Maximum Heart Race:  173
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:09  (71.1%)

 

***************
* 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!
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!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website: (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
7 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
5 – 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
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
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
8 – 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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   93

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Race #268 – Midnight Flight 10k – Anderson, SC – 08/29/14

After sitting out the entire season last year of the Running Journal Grand Prix, I was really looking forward to getting back with it this year, and this is the first race of the 9-race series that will end next Memorial Day. For the past month or two I’ve had some relatively minor running injuries such as a pulled hamstring and a sore calf. My mileage has been lower than normal and I haven’t been eating as well as I should have so I was a little concerned that I might fall apart. Fortunately I made it to the finish line without any trouble, winning the 60-64 age group and finishing first among the Senior Grand Masters (60+).

The Midnight Flight consists of three races that begin about an hour apart and you can run any or all of them (1-mile at 9 p.m., 5k at 10 p.m., and 10k at 11 p.m.). It’s one of South Carolina’s premier road race events with a total of about 1,500 runners in the three events (296 finishers in the 1-mile race, 954 finishers in the 5k, and 246 finishers in the 10k). The 5k is the largest by far, partly because it’s the distance more people prefer but also because this 5k is part of the Palmetto Grand Prix, which is a statewide GP that’s popular among South Carolina runners. I was only interested in the 10k, of course, since it’s the race that counts for the Running Journal Grand Prix (RJGP). The races of the RJGP are spread throughout the Southeast and draw some great runners, one of whom I met about halfway through the race.

The course is out and back, and after I turned around at the halfway point I got a look at the people behind me. I was mostly looking for my friend Bob Nelson, who’s usually either a little ahead of me, a little behind me, or right next to me in a race. We usually finish 1st and 2nd in the age group (as we did in this race) and I had maybe a 100- to 200-yard lead on him halfway through so I decided to walk for a few seconds. As soon as I started walking I was passed by another runner who looked like he could possibly be in my age group. I started running again and caught up with him, and using all of the tact I could muster up I asked him what age group he was in. That might be a breach of racing etiquette, but I’ve been known to do it quite a few times. It’s nice to know whether it’s somebody in your age group. He was kind enough to inform me that he was in the 65-69 age group and I was a little relieved that he wasn’t in my age group (60-64). I picked up the pace a little and before long I had a lead of maybe 20 or 30 yards on the exceptionally fast 67-year-old, who later I found out was Sherman Stanford, who had traveled from his home in Louisiana just to compete in this RJGP race. During the race it didn’t occur to me that he and I were competing for 1st place in the Senior Grand Masters category (ages 60-69), but of course I wanted to end up at the finish line before he did anyway.

As we headed back along the course I knew what awaited me: a big hill about a mile long that I’ve never run continuously without stopping to walk. I’d sneak a peak behind me every once in a while and there he was, relentless, and I knew he was most likely waiting for me to walk again so he could make mincemeat out of the maestro once and for all. As I started climbing the big hill I thought about the hill training that I’ve been doing every week, running to the top of Crowders Mountain, and I tried to remind myself how much easier this hill was in comparison to that. I kept reminding myself, and I kept running all the way to the finish line, 16 seconds ahead of my sneakered stalker. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could actually climb that hill without walking. It just took a little incentive.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  45:04 (chip time)
Pace:  7:14
Age Group: 1 of  12
Overall:  37 of  246 (15%)
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  179
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  35:37 (75.4%)

Running friends – (L-R) – Bob Nelson, me, Bob Milan, Matt Longworth
We all placed in the top 3 in our age groups and are wearing our visors that were given as age group awards.
Matt (far right) finished 4th overall in the 10k with a blazing time of 34:34.

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip 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
2 – 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 promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (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 (*RJGP Only)

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)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – 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
1 – 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
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

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

TOTAL:  107

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Race #266 – Great Waldensian Footrace 5k & 10k – Valdese, NC – 08/09/14

It’s one of the oldest races in North Carolina, and The Great Waldensian Footrace sets itself apart from the crowd in a couple of ways: (1) With the race-day registration price (without a shirt) of just 6 bucks, it’s by far the least expensive race I know of; and (2) it’s the only race I know that gives awards 5-deep in 5-year age groups.

I recently added another item on my race rating list to add or subtract points for unusual items like these and I’m adding 10 points for the unbelievable $6 race-day registration price and another 5 points for the 5-deep age group awards. I have mixed feelings about the age-group awards. It’s kind of excessive to have so many awards for so few runners, but it does provide a way for runners who never get a chance to win an age group award the best chance of any race to walk away with a trophy — and they’re really nice trophies compared to those handed out in other races. I wish that the races with thousands of participants would take a hint and offer 5-deep age group awards.

The two things mentioned above make this a race worth running, and we had a big group from the Gaston County Runners who attended. I’m pretty sure this will become a race that many of us will look forward to each year.

I ran the 5k, which isn’t too hilly, but I hear the 10k has a killer hill of about 3/4 of a mile and that could explain there are a lot more runners in the 5k than the 10k.

Something else that deserves mentioning is that during the awards they also had a drawing where four different runners won $50 each. Kind of unbelievable with the $6 entry fee, but it was a nice surprise even though I didn’t win any money.

Nice group of Gaston County Runners at the end of the awards ceremony in the gym.

Race Results:

My Stats:

Time: 21:54
Pace:  7:03
Age Group: 1 of  6
Overall:  25 of  204 (12.3%)
Average Heart Rate: 166
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 17:18 (74.54%)

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

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Clear link on website:  (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
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
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)
3 – 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
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
2 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

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
+ – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)
10 -Lowest race-day registration price of any race ($6 with no shirt)
5 – Five-deep age groups

TOTAL:  103

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Race #260 – Rhododendron Run 10k – Bakersville, NC – 06/21/14

The Rhododendron Run 10k is now in its 37th year, making it one of North Carolina’s oldest road races. It’s held on the weekend of Bakersville’s Rhododendron Festival, and this year it was chosen to be the RRCA State Championship 10k road race. I’ve wanted to run this race for several years but never have because it’s not easy to get to from Gastonia. This year though, since it was the state championship, Linda and I made the trip up the mountain and spent the night in nearby Spruce Pine in one of the 50-year-old motels in the area. It was the weekend of our 35th wedding anniversary so it was a good time to get away for a couple days.

Being in the mountains the course was far from flat, but after looping around the town for the first mile the remainder of the race was an out-and-back through the countryside so whatever hills you climbed you got to go back down them on the return.

Pros:

  • Beautiful setting:  It’s hard to beat running a road race through a Blue Ridge mountain community holding its biggest celebration of the year.
  • Pancake breakfast:  Mmmmm… Pancakes, bacon, coffee, orange juice.
  • RRCA State Championship: That’s why I was there, of course. I can’t win ’em all, but if I’m able to get to a state championship race I’ll be there. If I don’t win at least I’ll try to provide a little competition to whoever beats me. This time I was fortunate to win the Senior Grandmasters Championship… Yay me!
  • Door Prizes:  The awards were interspersed with drawings for various items… It definitely keeps people around for the awards!

Cons:

  • One small hiccup that only affected a handful of runners (unfortunately I was one of them) was that this was the first state championship race that didn’t allow “double dipping.” In most of these races if you win the state championship it’s a separate award and you also win the age group award separately. It’s no big deal since my main goal was to win the one I actually ended up with. The age group awards were really nice plaques though and Linda received one for finishing 3rd in her age group.

Click Here for Race Results

In my last couple of State Championship races I’ve finished second,
so I was really happy to finally win this award.

My Stats:

Time:  44:12
Pace:  7:07
Age Group: 1 of  7
Overall:  18 of  132  (14.3%)
Average Heart Rate:  165
Maximum Heart Race:  174
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  34:56  (76.87%)

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* RACE RATING *
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RACE COURSE
3 – Chip 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
4 – 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
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!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (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  (*RRCA)
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes  (*RRCA)

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

POST RACE
8 – 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
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
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

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
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes (*RRCA State Championship)

TOTAL:  104

Friend and speedster Bobby Aswell Jr. was the Grand Masters champ (age 50-59)
and took some time after the race to pose in the rain. The weather was actually
pretty good except for a downpour for about 30 minutes that started when I was
about 5 miles into the 6.2-mile race.

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Race #259 – The Cat’s Cradle 5k/10k – Morganton, NC – 06/14/14

Last year a few of the Gaston County Runners made the trip up Interstate 40 to Morganton for this race and spoke highly of it, so this year even more of us attended (15-20 maybe?). The Cat’s Cradle is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing, sheltering, and finding homes for homeless cats. I’m a cat lover, so I’m all for supporting a race that rescues cats, and the organizers are doing a great job with this race so I hope it will continue for many years.

Having run two half marathons in the previous two weeks and with a 10k on my schedule for the week after this race, I decided to take it easy and run the 5k instead of the 10k.

Pros:

  • Cheap! Race day registration was only $20 for your choice of either the 5k or the 10k!
  • Flat and mostly shady course on the greenway that runs along the Catawba River, with the race starting and finishing at the beautiful Catawba Meadows Park.
  • Both the 5k and 10k have 5-year age groups all the way up to 80+.
  • Lots of good food for runners after the race (especially great pastries).
  • Results posted quickly after the finish, both at the race site and online.
  • A drawing was held after the awards (gift certificates, merchandise, etc.).

Cons:

  • No photography. It would be great if they had either a professional race photographer or just one or more volunteers with point-and-shoot cameras taking photos of runners that could be posted after the race. I believe it would generate more interest in the race (runners love race photos!).
  • Can’t think of anything else I didn’t like. I hope to make this a regular race I run every year.

Race Results:

5k Overall
5k Age Groups

10k Overall
10k Age Groups


My Stats:

Time: 21:07
Pace:  6:48
Age Group: 1 of  3
Overall: 7 of  114  (6.1%)
Average Heart Rate: 162
Maximum Heart Race: 175
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  16:41 (77.31%)

Some of the Gaston County Runners who ran the race.

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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
2 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 – 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)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (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
8 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 – 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)
6 – 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
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

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

TOTAL:  92

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