Race #355 – Rocktoberfest Half Marathon & 5-Miler – Charlotte, NC – 10/15/16

2016-rocktoberfest-logoGiven the choice between the half marathon and any other distance, I have always chosen the half marathon. That changed today as I ran the 5-miler instead. I’m getting to the point that running back-to-back half marathons in successive weeks is a bit much, and next week is the half marathon in Myrtle Beach. I’ve run the Rocktoberfest Half Marathon a few times in the past and I gotta say it made the 5-miler a lot easier in my head. I remember thinking at about the 3-mile mark that it was a good feeling to be more than halfway through.


As part of the Run for Your Life series, this is a pretty big racing event in Charlotte, with 757 finishers in the half marathon and another 348 in the 5-miler. The half marathon began 20 minutes before the 5-mile option, and when it was over the 5-mile awards were held before most of the half marathon runners crossed the finish line. I didn’t hang around too long afterwards but seeing pictures of a lot of friends who had run the half marathon made me wish I would have stayed for a while.


With race buddy Aaron Chan.

I was pretty happy with my time. The 5-mile distance is rare in races and I had only run one previously — the Ortega River Run in Florida back in 2009 on my 57th birthday. That day I ran 39:11, but even though I was much younger I was just getting my feet wet as a racer and I felt I could still do better than that now. An 8k (4.97 miles) race is fairly common and I’ve run quite a few of those so I compared some of those times. My best 8k time was back in 2011 where I ran 33:13 (6:40 pace) at the Southpark Turkey Trot. No way I’ll be doing do that again, so I was just hoping to be under 38:00 for this race. I finished this one in 36:22 (7:17 pace) so it wasn’t bad for where I am now.


There was a fantastic finishers medal even for the 5-miler. The shirts are great too and it’s one I’ll actually wear. Food was so-so, but there was a great band that provided entertainment at the post-race party. Nearby parking was available in the CPCC parking garage for 5 bucks, but it’s probably worth the extra $5 to park close to the race instead of scrounging around for a free parking spot several blocks away.


Race Number:  355


Race Name:  Rocktoberfest Half Marathon & 5-Miler


Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina


Date:  October 15, 2016


Race Rating:  99




5 Mile Course:



Half Marathon Course:


Elevation (5 Miler):

  • Gain: 257 feet
  • Loss: 246 feet


Weather at Start:  Cloudy, 55 degrees, 88% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from Marathon Photos

My Stats:

  • Time:  36:22
  • Pace: 7:17
  • Age Group:  2 of 7
  • Overall:  17 of 348
  • Average Heart Rate:  161
  • Maximum Heart Race: 170
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time: 28:32 (74.7%)



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
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
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

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

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

2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
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

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

5 – 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

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

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

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

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

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
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  99



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Race #21 – Ortega River Run 5 Miler – Jacksonville FL – 02/28/09

Friday was my birthday, so when Linda asked me what I wanted I was more than happy to announce that I had picked out a race 400 miles away for this Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. After last week’s bone chiller in Asheville we were both ready for something a little less frosty. The forecast for the Carolinas was miserable but Jacksonville was expecting a high of 80 degrees for Saturday. I liked the sound of that, and with the little bit of leverage I gained from it being my birthday, we were off to the races in the sunny confines of Florida.
We arrived at Jacksonville Beach about midnight Friday and got an oceanfront room so we could enjoy the rest of Saturday after the race and got up bright and early and headed for the Ortega River Run. The weather was as beautiful as the 5-mile course that wound its way through tree-lined neighborhoods as well as across two bridges that crossed over the Ortega River.
This was my first 5-mile race (you might remember I just started running 6 months ago in September 2008) and I was excited that it met all the expectations I had for it. My first mile was the slowest because of all the congestion at the beginning of the race and my fifth mile was the fastest (7:22). This was one of the few races I haven’t taken a walk break at all. I’m still an advocate of Jeff Galloway’s run/walk strategy and I’ll be using it plenty, especially in long races, but I felt so good in this one that I just kept going.
Almost everything about this race was perfect: the food, the T-shirts, the course, the atmosphere, and the crowd. The after-race food was the best we’ve seen anywhere and included (all free for runners) Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, bananas, bagels, a variety of chips, coffee, doughnuts (while they lasted), and more that I didn’t get around to.
The one drawback for me personally was that my registration information was somehow messed up and initially I wasn’t listed as being in the race although my number and times were listed. It took a couple of phone calls after we got home but the race officials straightened it out and even took the time to email me afterwards and apologize for the mixup.
Linda happened to get a photo of me just before I crossed the finish line. The photo shows 40:28 but my official chip time from the time I crossed the starting line to the finish was 39:11 (7:51 pace) so I’m really happy about that for my first 5-mile race.
We both came home sunburned and happy from spending Saturday afternoon on Jacksonville Beach in the 80-degree weather and within an hour of getting home the snow started falling and we had our biggest snowstorm (about 8 inches in Gastonia) in the past five years. It was well worth the drive and we’re talking about doing it again (or one of the other Jacksonville races) next winter.
Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
10 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
10 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 100
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