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 #188 – Midnight Flight 10k – Anderson, SC – 08/31/12

Generally I’m not a fan of nighttime races, but this one’s an exception. One of South Carolina’s top racing events of the year, the Midnight Flight (10k, 5k, and 1-mile) brings out several thousand people to run, cheer, volunteer, or just watch. It’s the fourth year in a row that we’ve participated and it’s one I always look forward to. Part of what makes it special for me is that it marks the beginning of the Running Journal Grand Prix, which is nine races throughout the Southeast. I’m hoping to run most of the Grand Prix races this year.

One of the drawbacks of traveling to a race that’s out of the Charlotte area is that there aren’t as many people there who we know, but it was good to see several of our friends from the Gaston County Runners as well as several other friends from our area who came down to get a start on the Grand Prix season. Most notably for me was Bob Nelson, who’s not only a friend but my age group competition most of the time when we race.

Linda and me at the registration table before the race.

The weather was warmer and more humid than I remember from past years. I noticed at the beginning of the 5k race at 10:00 p.m. the temperature on the bank clock near the starting line said it was 87 degrees. I’m not sure of the humidity level but it felt like it was 90% or higher. The 10k race started an hour later at 11:00 p.m. and it may have been a little cooler, but not much.

I made sure to wear my glasses this year because I remembered that last year without my glasses I couldn’t see my heart rate in the dark, and I always like to monitor my effort by my heart rate as I run. This race is an out-and-back course with almost a complete mile of downhill in the first mile of the course, which means that the 6th mile is almost all uphill. One thing I like about an out-and-back course is that you can see where you’re at in relation to everybody else. I tried to count the runners ahead of me and there were about 40 as I made the turnaround at the halfway point. I hadn’t looked back to see who was behind at all up until that point, and as soon as a turned I spotted Bob Nelson not far behind. Over the past several years I think Bob and I have agreed that he’s usually faster than me up hills and I’m usually faster down hills, and both of us knew that the last mile of this race is one big uphill climb. Ordinarily I try to keep my heart rate between 165 and 170 but I decided to nudge it up to 171-172 to stay ahead of Bob. I looked back at around 5 miles into the race and he was maybe 20 yards behind. After that I waited for him to pass me but he never did. When you get back to the starting line there’s a right turn that goes about a quarter mile to the finish line and it’s a pleasant gently sloping downhill finish. I wasn’t quite sure where Bob was and when I didn’t see him behind me I wondered for a minute if maybe he had passed me and I just hadn’t noticed. It turns out that he had a harder time with the final hill than I did this year and he ended up a minute or so behind me, and we finished 1st and 2nd in the 60-64 age group.

A lot of people chose to wear their cool yellow tech T-shirts in the race!

It was a good start for the Running Journal Grand Prix season. This year my wife Linda, who just turned 60, is competing in the Grand Prix for the first time, and in her first race she finished in 2nd place in the 60-64 age group.

For me, it was nice to win the age group, but in the Senior Grand Masters category I was 2nd to a well-known speedster from Louisiana, 65-year-old Sherman Stanford, who finished about 2 minutes ahead of me, and who will most likely mow down all of the 60- to 69-year-old runners if he decides to run all or most of the races this season. Butch Holt was also absent as he was running a marathon in Bend, Oregon this weekend but he told me recently that he’ll be back to run several of the GP races including the Rocket City Marathon, so it should make for a fun and interesting season.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  45:09 (chip time)
Pace:   7:15
Age Group:  1 of  7
Overall:  35 of  308
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:19
Age Graded Score: 73.94%

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* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *
**************************************

Note: With my new rating system (started in December 2011) there’s not a chance of any race scoring near 100. If it’s important to you, look at each individual category to see how points were earned (or not). Just trying to be more objective with the details. I generally like all of the races I run. If there’s something that really rubs me the wrong way I’ll mention it in the summary above.

RACE COURSE  (20 possible points)
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
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  (6 possible points)
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
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)
1 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
1 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
1 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS  (8 possible points)
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes — IndependentMail.com

PARKING  (8 possible points)
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

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
0 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
1 – No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
1 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  75

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Race #143 – Midnight Flight 10k – Anderson, SC – 09/02/11

This was my third straight year of running the Midnight Flight 10k, the first race in the Running Journal Grand Prix. After running a disappointing time of 47:07 in last year’s race I hoped to redeem myself by running under 45 minutes this year. Things worked out well for me and I chopped about 4 minutes off last year’s time, finishing in 43:09 (with a chip time of 43:04), finishing in 1st place in the 55-59 age group.

It was a little sad not having some of the Charlotte area guys there who I’ve run the RJ Grand Prix with over the past two seasons, but a couple of other Charlotte runners are there this year — Butch Holt and Louis Messina — so we’ve still got some representation from the area. I’ll be switching age groups on February 27, 2012, before the end of the current season, so the only points I’ll get will be in races before that date. I told Linda last year that I wouldn’t run this series this year, but since I’ll still be eligible for points in six races and they’re all a lot of fun I decided to give it a shot. Linda’s not thrilled but I think she kind of enjoys the traveling, and I figure as long as I’m able to do it and get some points I’ll stick with it.

At the beginning of the race I lined up near the front with Louis and we noticed that Butch had left us and lined up directly behind William Walker, a particularly fast runner in Butch’s age group (60-64) who has finished ahead of Butch a couple times this year. They’re two of the fastest runners in the state in that age group, and both of them are usually way ahead of me at the finish line. As we took off at the beginning of the race I expected to look ahead and see them out ahead of me but I didn’t see either one of them. I reached the 1-mile marker at 6:17 and still hadn’t seen them so I figured Butch’s plan was just to stay with him and not let him get away. Usually Butch goes out like lightning though so I wondered if a slower early pace was a good idea for him. The course is out-and-back, and as I turned around and ran a tenth of a mile or so I saw Butch, then another tenth of a mile behind him was William, so I figured Butch decided somewhere along the line that William wasn’t having one of his better races and he better take off on his own pace.

For me, knowing that Butch Holt was behind me gave me some incentive to try to keep up my pace. The last race we did together on July 4th was one of my fastest 5k races of the year, where I finished in 20:23. In that one Butch had completely left me behind after I stayed pretty close to him for the first mile. He finished that race in 19:44, faster than I’ve ever run, so let’s just say he’s usually not too worried about me. The sixth mile of this race is the toughest mile by far, with a long uphill climb that seems to go on forever. The past two times I’ve run it I’ve stopped and walked at least once and probably two or three times (I don’t remember exactly) but this year I was determined to keep running. I checked my heart rate as I approached the hill and it was 173 beats per minute, which is high for me but not too unusual. I decided to try to keep my heart rate at that level, speeding up if I saw 172 and slowing down if I saw 174, and I’d check it every 30 seconds or so. That seemed to work for me and the readout on my Garmin said I averaged a heart rate of 174 in the sixth mile. I crossed the finish line with the clock reading 43:09, with Butch 10 seconds behind at 43:19. In about six months I’ll be in Butch’s age group, and I’m hoping I can stay in good enough shape to give him a little bit of competition. Right now when I’m running my best and he has an bad day, I’m right there.

Click Here for Race Results

Race Rating:

4 – 1-10  Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
6 – 1-10  Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10) (Nice hat this year!)
5 – 1-10  Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10  Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
8 – 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)
0 – 0/5   Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=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)
7 – 1-10  Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10  Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 1-10  Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10  Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5   Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10  Bathroom Facilities
0-10  Other

TOTAL – 96

Race Stats:

1st Overall Male:  Ricky Flynn (31:50)
1st Overall Female: Caitlin Ranson (39:37)
Total Finishers: 318

My Stats:

Time:  43:09 (43:04 chip time)
Pace:  6:56
Age Group: 2 of 16 (1 of 15 counting Grand Master bump-up — 1st place AG)
Overall:  31 of 318

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Race #101 – Midnight Flight 10k – Anderson, SC – 09/03/10

If race #101 is any indication of future race results, it could be a long journey for the next 100 races. It wasn’t all bad for me at this year’s Midnight Flight 10k in Anderson. I did manage to finish in 2nd place in my age group this year, which is higher than my 3rd place finish last year. However, I was also 4 minutes slower in this year’s race, finishing in 47:07 as opposed to last year’s 43:12. Ouch.
The time and temperature sign near the starting line said it was 84 degrees at the 11 p.m. start of the race, but I’m not sure that was correct since those things seem to be wrong a good portion of the time. I’m still wearing a big brace on my right knee and a smaller one on my left knee. I’m not sure if that could be slowing me down but it’s definitely not making me any faster. I could probably think of a half dozen more excuses but I have a feeling that I’ve just slowed down quite a bit due to a combination of factors and probably either need to shake up my training routine or get used to being slower. I’m not ready to concede defeat just yet so I’ll probably try to shake things up in my training and see if I can get back to what was normal a few months ago.
Regarding the race itself, the Midnight Flight 10k is the first race of the new season of the Running Journal Grand Prix, which is a series of ten races held throughout the Southeast U.S. , sponsored by Running Journal Magazine. The top eight runners in each 5-year age group as well as Masters (40-49), Grand Masters (50-59), Senior Grand Masters (60-69), and Veterans (70+) earn points. Last year I was the Grand Masters Champion for the season, earning points in seven races. This year there’s no way I’ll repeat that performance since I’m not running quite as well and I also won’t be able to run as many of the races, but win or lose, all of the races are a lot of fun and several are local so I’ll run as many as possible.
Here’s a list of the races on this year’s schedule:
Although the Midnight Flight 10k is the smallest of the Running Journal Grand Prix races with only about 400 runners, it’s still a great race with a lot of community support. The 5k race, which begins an hour earlier at 10 p.m. actually had more than 1,000 finishers and is part of the Palmetto Grand Prix and the Run & See Georgia Grand Prix. There are also several hundred runners in the 1-mile race that begins at 9:15 so there are a total of around 2,000 runners involved as well as a lot of spectators.
Almost everything about the Midnight Flight is great (food, entertainment, volunteers, etc.) except for one notable exception: the age group awards. This year, just like last year, the age group awards were hand towels. They were imprinted with the Midnight Flight logo, which was nice; nevertheless, hand towels for awards, especially in one of South Carolina’s premier road races, are disappointing. I’m sure there is a local trophy shop that could use the business, and I hope in the future they’ll consider giving trophies instead.
Race Rating:
8 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 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)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=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)
7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0-10 Other
TOTAL – 100
My Stats:
Time: 47:07
Pace: 7:35
Age Group: 2 of 8
Overall: 70 of 371
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Race #50 – Midnight Flight 10k – Anderson SC – 09/04/09

The big five-oh! It was my 50th race since I started running last Labor Day weekend and finishing 50 races was one of my main goals for the year.
The Midnight Flight 10k in Anderson, South Carolina, is the first race on the Running Journal Grand Prix schedule. It’s a biggy and was well worth the 110-mile trip down Interstate-85 in Friday afternoon Labor Day weekend traffic to get there. We arrived at the race site about 8:00 p.m. and the celebration was already in full swing. There was a blues band playing on the stage and plenty of free food as we waited for the races to begin. There was a 1-mile race at 9:00, a 5k at 10:00, and the grand finale, the 10k, at 11:00 p.m. That’s definitely late for running and actually past my bedtime but there was plenty of excitement to keep me awake until the race started.
I met up with Bob Nelson at the starting line a few minutes before the race. Bob was last year’s Running Journal Grand Prix champ in the 55-59 age group and also the RFYL Grand Prix champ and has proven time after time that he’s the fastest runner in my age group in the Charlotte area. Like all of the other fast runners I’ve met, Bob downplays all of his own running accomplishments and quietly prefers to just let his running speak for itself.
As the race began there was just a little touch of autumn in the air and it felt great cruising down a slight grade for most of the first mile. I knew this was an out-and-back course and I’d have to make up for my lack of uphill speed by going faster downhill. Just ahead of me maybe 3/4 of a mile into the race were Bob Nelson and two of the Charlotte area’s other fastest Bobs — Bob Heck and Bobby Aswell. I knew they were all pacing themselves, but since that doesn’t fit into my “fast-downhill-slow-uphill” style I apologetically blew past all three of them, knowing they’d catch me eventually but thinking it would still be a good move for me, which I think it was. They all caught me again and passed me somewhere around 3 or 4 miles. I wasn’t able to catch Bob Nelson again but was able to keep him on my radar for the rest of the race, with him finishing 50th overall and me finishing 51st about 20 seconds behind. Interestingly, right about the 5-mile point I decided to take a short walk break for about 20 seconds (it was either walk or die at that point). After about 10 seconds I heard footsteps behind me and heard somebody yell: “Don’t stop now! We’re almost finished!” as he passed me. He looked like he could be in my age group and I could see up ahead that he also passed Bob Nelson. After the race I saw him and talked to him a few minutes where the race results were being posted. He was Jerry Hutto from Aiken, South Carolina, and he finished 1st in the 55-59 age group, followed by Bob Nelson in second and me in third. I was actually elated to finish as high as third though and my time of 43:11 beat my old 10k PR by over 5 minutes!
It was my first 10k since March and I was amazed to end up with a 6:57 pace. Here are my mile splits…
Mile 1 — 6:24
Mile 2 — 6:47
Mile 3 — 7:06
Mile 4 — 6:57
Mile 5 — 6:58
Mile 6 — 7:36
I actually took two short 20-second walks in that last mile, which you can kind of see in the pace, but it did feel good at the time.
By the end of the 10k race the celebration surrounding the race had pretty much ended. The 5k race, which had well over 1,000 runners, had ended over an hour earlier and much of the crowd had gone home. The band was packing up to leave, and about all that was left was the 10k finishers who wanted to see if they placed in the official results, which were posted a little after midnight. There really wasn’t an awards ceremony. If you placed in the race you picked up your award and left with zero fanfare. The age group awards were actually hand towels emblazoned with the “Midnight Flight 09″ race logo. Again I thought a medal or trophy would have been preferable, but most of us (including me) were in it for the experience — and the Running Journal Grand Prix points!

Race Rating:
8 – 1-10 Website (Informaton, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
1 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, 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)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=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)
7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 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)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 0-10 Other
TOTAL – 95
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