Race #400 – Dannie Benjamin Mission Fund 5k – Belmont, NC – 10/14/17

This wasn’t the most exciting race to pick for my 400th, but that’s the way it worked out and it was kind of fun even though I’m no fan of trails. About half of this race is on the road and the other half on single-track trails that wind through the woods on the outskirts of Belmont. This race and the Daniel Stowe race back in February are the only two predominantly technical trail races I’ve ever run, and the constant worry about falling and/or twisting an ankle make trails an unpleasant experience for me. Fortunately I didn’t break anything. I did twist my ankle on the trail, bad enough that it’s bothered me some for a few days since then but hopefully I’ll be back to normal by next week’s half marathon.

One thing that struck me about this race was how welcoming the church members who were volunteering were. When I arrived at the church and got out of my car the volunteers were being led in prayer, and I even got a couple of invitations to join them at their Sunday morning service. Several times before and after the race I subtle spirituality and kindness that was unusual for a Saturday morning 5k. It wasn’t pushy or anything, but just a nice change of pace from what’s usually seen at a local race.

As for the race itself, it was small (only 66 finishers) but I was pleasantly surprised to finish 6th overall. I did drop a notch in the YMCA series to 3rd place, but only by 1 point, finishing about 15 seconds behind Andy Cook, who I was tied with for 2nd place. Andy is an accomplished trail runner so I was really happy to be fairly close behind him at the end.

There were several fancy cameras in attendance with people snapping pictures like it was a Hollywood premier. Unfortunately as far as I can tell there are no photos that have been made available to runners and I couldn’t find any on the church website either. If I ever find them I’ll try to include a link and change my rating.

Race Number:  400

Race Name:  Dannie Benjamin Missions Fund 5k

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina (First Baptist Church)

Date:  October 14, 2017

Race Rating:  81

Winners (Top 25):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Course: Approximately 1 mile side streets and 2 miles technical trail.

 

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 64 degrees, 94% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

 

My Stats:

Time:  25:23
Pace:  8:11
Age Group:  1 of 4
Overall:  6 of 66
Average Heart Rate:  158
Maximum Heart Race:  169

***************
* 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
4 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

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

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
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
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
x – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
x – 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
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:  81

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

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

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

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

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

Race Number:  395

Race Name:  Stop Soldier Suicide 10k/5k

Location: Belmont, North Carolina

Date: September 23, 2017

Race Rating:  92

Winners (10k Top 20):

Winners (5k Top 20):

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

 

Elevation:

 

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

 

Race Results:

 

My Stats:

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

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

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

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
2 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

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

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   92

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Race #379 – Belmont Classic 5k – Belmont NC – 05/27/17

I always look forward to the Belmont Classic 5k and this was the eighth time I’ve run it, which is probably the most times of any race. Part of the appeal to me is that it’s always the Saturday before Memorial Day, and maybe it’s one of my favorites since it’s local and so many of my running friends are there. It never seems to be without controversy for one reason or another, but this year things went much more smoothly than last year, when a policeman stationed at one of the turns sent everybody the wrong way, resulting in disaster (I ended up with an “official” time of almost 40 minutes last year).

 

I managed to come away with 1st in the 65-69 age group this year with a time of 22:50, but not without some competition. Both Jerry Price and Walt Talley finished not far behind me, both in under 25 minutes. I was happy to be under 23:00 again. Not sure how long that will last.

 

A few hours later Linda and I went to a cookout at our son David’s house in Charlotte. As the kids played in the pool and the women talked about things that women talk about, some of the guys played basketball. In my younger years basketball was my game, and I had a pretty good jump shot if I say so myself. I played lots of pickup basketball games at the park with the younger guys right up until age 45 (20 years ago), and I decided at that time I should probably retire or risk a major injury. Well, all of that kind of slipped my mind as I tried to revive a little bit of the glory of my youth. Oh, I can still shoot, and jump, at least a little bit, but within about 12 hours of this ill-conceived notion that I still had what it takes on the basketball court, my back was killing me. As I write this five days later, I’m still out of commission. I’m walking gingerly and haven’t been able to run at all over the past five days.

 

I was planning on running one of my favorite races this weekend — The Charity Chase Half Marathon in Hickory — but there’s no way that will happen at this point. My best hope right now is that I’ll be able to run the Grizzly 5k next week, but for now I’m on a day-to-day basis as far as whether or not I’m able to run. At age 65 I always have it in the back of my mind that I may be one injury away from hanging up my running shoes, but I’m gonna hope this is not the one. Oh, and in the meantime I’ll stay away from the basketball court.

 

Race Number:  379

Race Name:  Belmont Classic 5k

Location: Belmont, North Carolina

Date:  May 27, 2017

Race Rating:  91

Winners (Top 25):


Course: Downtown Belmont and surrounding neighborhoods. Two big hills, one in the first mile and one in the third mile.


Elevation:


Weather at Start:  Sunny, 70 degrees, 3 mph WNW wind, 78% humidity.

Race Results:

My Stats:

  • Time:  22:50
  • Pace:  7:21
  • Age Group:  1 of 5
  • Overall:  24 of 206
  • Average Heart Rate:  164
  • Maximum Heart Race:  173
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:48 (72.92%)
Always lots of friends in attendance at this race!

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

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent ($$$)
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
7 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
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)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
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
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

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

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   91

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Race #369 – Belmont Abbey Rail Trail 5k – Belmont, NC – 03/11/17

Contrary to the implications in the name, the Rail Trail 5k is actually all on the paved streets surrounding the Belmont Abbey campus. It’s the second race in the Gaston County YMCA series and close to home so I like it. It’s practically flat except for just a couple small hills near the turnaround on the out-and-back course so it’s pretty fast.

 

There’s nothing fancy about it but the post-race food was good this year and included hot chocolate and pastries and other good stuff from “The String Bean,” a popular local restaurant. The tech T-shirts were nice as well but awards for the age group winners were kind of pathetic — only a cheap medal for 1st place only in 10-year age groups. Uh, somebody should have a talk with the race director to let them know we appreciate our cheap medals 3-deep.

 

Race Number:  369

Race Name:  Belmont Abbey Rail Trail 5k

Location: Belmont, North Carolina

Date:  March 11, 2017

Race Rating:  68

Winners (Top 25):


Course: Out-and-back course on paved streets surrounding Belmont Abbey College. Mostly flat.


Elevation:

Weather at Start: 45 degrees, 5 mph N wind (feels like 42 degrees), 36% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  21:52
  • Pace:  7:03
  • Age Group:  2 of 9 (ages 60 and up)
  • Overall:  18 of 139
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:03  (76.14%)

 

***************
* 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
5 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
0 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes (short about 1/10 mile)
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
0 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
0 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
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 (1st place only)
3 – 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)
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
4 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
2 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

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

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

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  68

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Race #365 – Hearts-a-Bustin’ 5k – Belmont, NC – 02/11/17

After avoiding trail races for years, I finally decided since it was the first race in the local YMCA race series I’d go ahead and run my first single-track trail race ever, and I’m happy to say I didn’t break an ankle or do a face plant. Having come out without any scrapes or bruises I’ll count it as a success, although I still favor running on pavement and this could have been my last trail race as well as my first. It was nice to get out again with all of the friendly runners who compete in the YMCA series, and I’m looking forward to the series this year although my schedule already has me missing one or more races because of conflicts so I’m not likely to be one of the top competitors.

 

The race is held on the trails surrounding the famous Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and a ticket for free admission to the garden is included with the race entry fee. Since I’m a nature photography enthusiast and the garden is just 5 miles or so down the road from my house, I’m a season pass holder and visit often. It’s not peak season now for the garden but it’s still a great place to visit, especially for a couple who are celebrating Valentine’s Day.

 

Race Number:  365

Race Name:  Hearts-a-Bustin’ 5k

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina

Date:  February 11, 2017

Race Rating:  83

Winners (Top 30):

Course: Mostly single-track trail around Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden except for beginning and end on paved road in park.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 50 degrees (felt like 46), SSW wind at 9 mph, 43% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  23:55
Pace: 7:43
Age Group:  3 of 7
Overall:  25 of 182
Average Heart Rate:  163
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:48 (69.06%)

***************
* 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!
7 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
0 – 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
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
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:  83

 

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Race #360 – Girls on the Run Fall 5k – Belmont, NC – 12/03/16

This was the final race of the season for the Gaston County YMCA race series and, as you might imagine, was overloaded with 4th grade girls from around the county. It’s a fun event, especially for the girls, but personally I’d prefer the race series wouldn’t be included with the three GOTR races in the county during the year. Nevertheless, everybody young and old seemed to have a good time. We ran the same course as just a few weeks ago at the BCO (Belmont Community Organization) Turkey Trot just a couple weeks ago, and it’s a nice course through mostly the side streets of Belmont.

I wanted to walk as I went up this hill near the finish, but my friend Kenny Primm was right on my tail so I decided a walk break might not be a good idea.

For some unexplained reason I ran my fastest 5k of the year in this race (22:01), only a week after running my slowest 5k of the year at the ChristmasTown 5k in McAdenville (23:36). No doubt that was a tougher race but most other runners were virtually the same speed in both races so I was a little surprised to do as well as I did, especially since my training and diet had remained the same during the interval between races.

 

The standard race awards were handed out after the race, followed by the awards for the Top 10 runners (male and female) in the Gaston County YMCA race series. I finished 2nd Overall Male for the season with 1,045 points, just behind Jimmy Glover who accumulated 1,060 points. Somebody jokingly (I think) referred to my 2nd place finish as “First Loser” but I was actually really happy to finish that high in the final standings, having completed the season without any major meltdowns or injuries. I’ll turn 65 this February and it’s unlikely I’ll finish as high as 2nd in the future.

 

It was only the third year of the local race series and I feel like local runners are fortunate to have it. For quite a few years I traveled to a lot of races out of the immediate area, partly for the excitement of doing a race in a new city or more exotic locale, but as I get older I appreciate the chance to get up on Saturday morning and drive just a couple miles to a local race that’s loaded mostly with friends that I know and run with regularly, so as long as I’m able to continue running this is most likely what I’ll stick with.

Top 50 Males in the Gaston County race series.

 

Top 50 Females in the Gaston County race series.

 

Race Number:  360

 

Race Name:  Girls on the Run Fall 5k

 

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina

 

Date:  December 3, 2016

 

Race Rating:  93

 

Winners (Top 25):

Elevation:

  • Gain:  103 feet
  • Loss:  143 feet

 

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 45 degrees (felt like 41), North wind at 7 mph, 53% humidity.

 

Race Results:

 

*** Click Here for 429 FREE Race Photos on Flickr from Matthew Gregory
My Stats:

Time:  22:01
Pace:  7:06
Age Group:  2 of 3
Overall:  7 of 751
Average Heart Rate: 159
Maximum Heart Race: 173
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 17:18 (75.02%)

 

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

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

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
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
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

REST ROOMS
1 – 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
5 – 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
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no (* couple of blocks away from venue)
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  93

 

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Race #357 – Holy Angels 4-Miler – Belmont, NC – 10/29/16

2016-belmont-rotary-4-miler-logoThis was the 11th race of the 15-race Gaston YMCA series and is a mostly flat and fast out-and-back course beginning at the Holy Angels facility and going through downtown Belmont. It’s organized by the Belmont Rotary Club and many of the runners dress in Halloween costumes. As a matter of fact, I spent much of the race running behind one girl dressed as Minnie Mouse and another dressed like a witch. Hey, they were fast!

 

From the outset my friend Bernhard took the lead and held it all the way to the finish. Through the first 3 miles I was the second male. I did manage to finally catch and pass to two girls in the last mile, but two younger guys also managed to catch and pass me in that last mile. I did end up 4th overall, which is a great spot for me, and my pace of 7:03 was one of the best I’ve run all year.

2016-belmont-rotary-4-miler-start

There were 5-year age groups but only 1-deep, which is understandable in a race this small (there were 77 finishers in the 4-miler and 42 in the 2-miler).

 

Race Number:  357

Race Name:  Belmont Rotary 4-2-1 Costume Dash Run Tu Tu Holy Angels*

  • This race wins the award for the longest official name, or at least it appears to be official on the flyer. I usually just call it the “Holy Angels 4-Miler.” It’s the closest thing to the 5k they ran on the TV show “The Office” a few years ago that was called “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure.”

Location:  Holy Angels (Belmont, North Carolina)

Date:  October 29, 2016

Race Rating:  83

Winners:

2016-belmont-rotary-4-miler-top-25-overall

 

Course: Out-and-back through downtown Belmont, mostly flat but a couple small hills.

2016-belmont-rotary-4-miler-map

Elevation:

  • Gain:  95 feet
  • Loss:  83 feet

Weather at Start:  Cloudy, 63 degrees, 83% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

2016-belmont-rotary-4-miler-gcr

***************
* 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
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
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
0 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOTAL:  83

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Race #351 – Stop Soldier Suicide 10k/5k – Belmont, NC – 09/24/16

2016-stop-soldier-suicide-startIt was the second year of this Belmont race held to benefit the Stop Soldier Suicide organization. I missed the race last year but was honored to be a part of it this year. Race director Ronald Rhodes has been touched personally by a soldier suicide and he works tirelessly throughout the year organizing this race and working for the cause.

 

This year the race is part of the Gaston County YMCA series so plenty of my local running friends were there, which is always nice. The weather was great, and there were some nice touches such as a drawing for free meals at several local restaurants. Awards were handed out by local TV personality Ken Lemon of WSOC-TV.  All of the finishers of the 10k received a nice medal. There were also Visa gift cards for the 10k ($125, $75, and $50 for male and female overall Top 3 runners).

 

There were no issues along the 10k course, but a snafu occurred in the 5k resulting in quite a few of the top runners to run off course for as much as a mile before getting straightened out. I was running the 10k so none of that affected me.

 

I’m far from being in great shape but this was my fastest 10k of 2016 so I was happy about that. On August 20th I had run my slowest 10k ever (51:37 at OrthoCarolina) and my goal for this race was to at least get back down under 50:00.

2016-stop-soldier-suicide-01

 

Race Number:  351

Race Name:  Stop Soldier Suicide 10k and 5k

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina

Date:  September 24, 2016

Race Rating:  108

Winners:

2016-stop-soldier-suicide-top-20-10k

 

2016-stop-soldier-suicide-top-20-5k
Course: Pleasant course through neighborhoods and side streets of Belmont. Not too hilly. Streets were closed to traffic. Plenty of volunteers at turns but a mixup in the 5k resulting in extra mileage and slower times for 5k finishers, as seen in the 5k results.

2016-stop-soldier-suicide-map

Elevation:

  • Gain:  212 feet
  • Loss:  214 feet

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 66 degrees, 88% humidity.

 

Race Results:

 

Click Here for FREE Race Photos on SmugMug
My Stats:

  • Time:  47:14
  • Pace:  7:37
  • Age Group:  1 of 3
  • Overall: 9 of 95
  • Average Heart Rate:  162
  • Maximum Heart Race: 169
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  37:04 (72.09%)
2016-stop-soldier-suicide-awards-with-ken-lemon
Awards were handed out by Ken Lemon of WSOC-TV.

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

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

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
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: (0-9)
5 – 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)
6 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
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
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
-5 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (5 points deducted for 5k course mixup)

TOTAL:  108

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Race #337 – Belmont Classic 5k – Belmont, NC – 05/28/16

2016-belmont-classic-LOGO“The bigger the screw-up, the better the story!” At least that’s what I like to tell myself. I love this race and look forward to it every year, partly because it’s always on Memorial Day weekend and unofficially marks the beginning of the summer races, and that’s my favorite time of the year to run.

I know this course well, and when the police officer pointed us to the right instead of the left at a key intersection, I said to Teresa Harrill, who was running next to me at the time, “Wow, they must have changed the course this year.” I hadn’t heard about a change and it’s been an almost perfect 3.1 mile loop that we’ve run for years, but I figured there must be some reason we were diverted, maybe construction or something.

 

So all of us — yep, everybody in the race including those of us who had run it many times before — headed off in the wrong direction. I thought we’d turn to the left fairly quickly but all of the runners kept going in the same direction, straight ahead. After a half mile or so I started thinking we couldn’t possibly be going the right way since I knew we were getting farther and farther away from the finish line.

 

There were three or four other runners around me and I yelled something along the lines of “We’ve got to turn around… There’s no way this is right!” I stopped dead in my tracks and looked around. Nobody paid any attention to what I said and I thought about the situation. There were more than a hundred people behind me and I couldn’t get up the nerve to run right back through that crowd, so I turned and caught up with the group I had been running with, figuring that the race was pretty much over since we were completely off track but I might as well stay with everybody else.

 

Finally I could see Mitchell Rippy stopped up ahead. He’s easy to spot since he’s about 6’5″ tall and was wearing a bright yellow shirt. That was the point where reality set in for everybody, and we all turned around. There were several runners ahead of Mitchell at that point and none of those knew the course well enough to realize they were headed in the opposite direction. From what I was told, they all ran until they hit 3.1 miles and then knew it was a hopeless cause and they mostly did an easy jog back to the race site.

 

I had a snafu at the starting line and my watch started updating instead of timing me at the beginning so I didn’t have the correct distance, but I ran somewhere between 4.5 and 5 miles before getting back to the finish line. I ended up jogging back with Dianne Allen and we caught up with Katie Freid and all stayed together until the finish. All hope was lost as far as a decent time so we just enjoyed what turned out to be a training run.

 

When we made it back to the venue around 39 minutes later, everybody in attendance knew the race was a mess. The “winning” time was over 30 minutes and all of the fastest runners were farther away from the finish line when they turned around. With everybody turning around in different spots as they were alerted by the oncoming runners who were coming in the opposite direction, pretty much everybody ran a different distance.

 

Just a few seconds after I crossed the finish line I saw Steve D’Avria, who was not the race director but was in charge of the timing. I made the suggestion that we should line up and run it again. He said he wasn’t in any hurry and after checking with a couple of folks in charge Steve said the race would restart at 9:00 for anybody who wasn’t happy with their time and wanted to run it again.

 

I tried to spread the word around folks I knew that we’d line up and run it again but most of them thought I was nuts. It’s one thing to run a 10k, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to run a 5k, then a couple minutes after you finish line up and run the race again. You run a 5k at 5k pace and you’re pretty much whupped after you finish it. There seemed to be very little interest is re-running the race but there were a few of us who were itching to go again.

 

I saw Steve again and he told me the race was going to start again at 9 o’clock sharp for everybody who wanted to run it. It was about 8:58 and I headed to the starting line while most people didn’t budge. My friend Bernhard was as eager as me to make things right. A few others were straggling to the starting line as Steve counted down out loud so they’d know he meant business.

 

“15, 14, 13, 12, 11,…” Steve yelled as I frantically waved and motioned for people to join us. Bernhard and I took off when the count reached zero. We thought we were alone but Rob McBee and Derek Hyatt took off just after we left. So that was it. Four runners plowing through the 5k again in order to get a legitimate time. Having just finished the other race we were all tired but gave it all we had left. The volunteers had been tipped off that the race was starting again and it was a pleasant surprise to see them all there and the roads still closed to traffic despite only four runners coming through. I ended up third of the four runners at 22:44, and was actually happy to finish at a time close to what I’ve been running despite a hard run just a few minutes earlier.

 

It wouldn’t hold up in court and I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep over it, but my understanding was that if we ran the race again the official race results would be changed to the time of the race where we actually ran 3.1 miles. Instead, we were informed after finishing the race that it would be treated as a separate race and all of the results from the first race would stand.

 

Folks, here’s the deal: The four of us who ran the second time didn’t do it because we wanted to run more; we did it to rectify a screw-up on the part of the race organizers. The way I looked at it was that if you were satisfied with your time the first time around you could keep it, but if you wanted to make things right you went back to the starting line and ran the correct distance no matter how tired you were after having run a race just a few minutes earlier.

 

In summary, since all 160 runners in the first race ran different distances and different speeds once they found out the race was a train wreck, all of the results from the first race are meaningless. The only actual results that are correct were those of the four runners who ran the correct distance afterwards. Everybody could have run the race again but only four runners chose to do it, and for that we received no benefit at all. In the grand scheme of things none of the numbers matter, but just for this one small moment in time, I worked hard to change 39 minutes to 22:44, and I’m just a little bummed that I didn’t get credit for that. Because of that I’m deducting 10 points from the race score and, again, it’s all just numbers that don’t mean a lot for posterity, but it’s all I’ve got for now. Of course, if they change the official results to reflect to times of the four of us who ran the correct distance, then I’d remove the 10-point deduction. All of the number changing is easy, at least on paper.

 

Despite all of the complaining I’m still a fan of the Belmont Classic and I’ll be back next year, but you better believe I’ll make the correct turn at that intersection.

 

Race Number:  337

 

Race Name:  Belmont Classic 5k

 

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina

 

Date:  May 28, 2016

 

Race Rating:  65

 

Winners:

2016-belmont-classic-results
Since everybody in the race ran a different distance (due to turning around at different times), the “official” results are useless and show the winning time at around 31 minutes. All runners could have lined up again at 9 a.m. and ran the course again (correctly) but only these four runners took that challenge.

 

Course: What can I say? It’s a good course when you run it correctly.

 

Weather at Start:  Clear, 68 degrees, 68% humidity

 

 

* 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.]
0 – 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
0 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
6 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
0 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

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

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

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

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

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
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
x – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes (* I saw cameras but no pics yet… hopefully some free photos and I will change score and add link if I find them)

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

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
-10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (*Wrong turn disaster)

TOTAL:  65

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Race #327 – Belmont Rail Trail 5k – Belmont, NC – 04/09/16

2016-belmont-rail-trail-LOGOThis year I’m planning on a lot more local races and a lot less traveling. The Gaston County YMCA race series fits right into what I’d like to do for now, and this was the 2nd race in this year’s 15-race series. I missed the first one back in February, but they’re only counting the top 10 performances for runners so I’ve got plenty of time to make it up as long as I stay healthy throughout the season.

 

I ran the Belmont Rail Trail 5k last year and enjoyed it. This year it was much the same, looping around Belmont Abbey College. It’s a pleasant but fairly small 5k. My biggest disappointment was that not many of the folks from my running club, the Gaston County Runners, are participating in the series, but there are a few of us, and the best part of the races is being able to run with your friends.

 

Parking was a little bit of an issue. There’s a huge parking lot but it was already pretty full from the students who lived in the apartments so it didn’t leave a lot of space for the runners to park their cars. I think everybody managed to park nearby along the side of the road though, so it worked out.

 

The awards were inexpensive medals, which is fine, but the age groups were odd. Not only were there not 5-year age groups, but from what I could decipher the age groups were as much as 20 years. Here’s what I think they were:

  • Under 20 — Prospects
  • 21-40 — Freshmen
  • 41-50 — Sophomores
  • 51-60 — Juniors
  • Over 60 — Seniors

As I approach my mid-60s the age groups are becoming less important to me personally since races handle the over-60 runners differently, but to a lot of runners who race often one of the most important determining factors as to whether they will run a race or not is that they have normal 5-year age groups. It’s not the award that matters, but most runners want to see how they compare to others in the same age category. Just a year or two of age matters, so by the time you’re at the “old” end of your age group you’re eager to advance to the next one where you can be one of the younger runners. Five years makes a big difference, but ten years is practically two different generations.

 

Last year Matthew Gregory took a lot of great photos for this race (as he does for most of the Gaston YMCA series races) and shared them for free. This year he was sick so he couldn’t make it. Hopefully he’ll be back for most of the other series races. His photos are usually better than the ones you have to pay big bucks for in a lot of races.

 

I like this race and I do hope it will continue, but for it to grow they’ll need to switch to 5-year age groups.

 

Race Number:  327

 

Race Name:  Belmont Rail Trail 5k

 

Location:  Belmont, North Carolina (Belmont Abbey College)

 

Date:  April 9, 2016

 

Race Rating:  64

 

Winners (Top 20):

2016-belmont-rail-trail-winners

 

Course: Nice paved out-and-back course around the main road at Belmont Abbey College. Just a couple of small hills.

2016-belmont-rail-trail-MAP

 

Elevation:

2016-belmont-rail-trail-elevation

Weather at Start:  48 degrees (felt like 44), 9 mph W wind, 43% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

Time:  22:13
Pace: 7:09
Age Group:  1 of  6
Overall:  11 of  115
Average Heart Rate: 164
Maximum Heart Race: 174
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:28  (74.34%)

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* RACE RATING *
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RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
0 – 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
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)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
0 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
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
3 – 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)
2 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – 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
0 – 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:  64

 

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