Race #294 – Kings Mountain Half Marathon – Clover, SC – 05/02/15

2015-KM-HM-medalThis race has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the toughest marathon/half marathon races around, but it’s close to home and in a great setting. I ran the half marathon, of course, just as I always do, since 13 miles is about all my legs can handle.  This was my 75th half marathon since I began running almost seven years ago and the 5th for me this year.

Race Number:  294

Race Name:  Kings Mountain Marathon/Half Marathon

Location: Kings Mountain Battlefield State Park between Clover, SC and Kings Mountain, NC)

Date:  May 2, 2015

Race Rating: 100




  • Male:  Todd Reynolds (Benbrook, Texas) – 3:13:43
  • Female:  Rebecca Murdock (Fayetteville, Arkansas) – 3:29:04


Half Marathon:

  • Male:  Nathan Beamguard (Hamptonville, NC) – 1:33:18
  • Female:  Mila Harris (Southern Pines, NC) – 1:37:18


Course (Half Marathon):  Lots of hills! The course runs along the roads from the Kings Mountain Battlefield State Park (SC) up to the adjacent Kings Mountain Battlefield National Park. It turns off onto a dirt road that you run for 2 miles before turning around at the halfway point in the race and return on the same course to the start (out-and-back).


Many of us wore “Running for Danny” stickers to honor our friend Danny McBee, who died suddenly two weeks ago.

Weather at Start:  58 degrees and sunny

  • Nice back-to-nature course through state and national park.
  • Post race hamburger/hotdog cookout provided by Boy Scouts after race.
  • Nice medal.



  • Extremely hilly, but we know that going in. You don’t run this one to get a new PR.


Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from Noel Thomas Manning on Facebook

Click Here for Race Photos from Brother Monte on Flickr

Click Here for Race Website


All photos for this blog entry were provided by Noel Thomas Manning, who did a great job getting pics of many runners. See the link above for his Facebook album for this race.


My Stats:



3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – 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

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

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

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

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

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

0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
7 – 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
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

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
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (*Option for tank top instead of T-shirt)

TOTAL:  100


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Marathon Runners Forget How Awful Marathons Are — Science of Us

The memory of the pain fades by the six-month mark.

Women who have done both say that running a marathon is kind of like giving birth, in that the memory of the pain fades astonishingly quickly — or else you’d never, ever do the thing again. It’s not a perfect analogy, obviously: One event leaves you with an adorable, tiny human of your very own, whereas the other is significantly more likely to leave you with fewer toenails than you had when you started. Regardless, there’s some new evidence that marathoners, like new mothers, quickly forget the pain of the ordeal, according to a new study published recently in the journal Memory.

Psychologist and Science of Us contributor Christian Jarrett reported on the research at the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, writing:

Source: Marathon Runners Forget How Awful Marathons Are — Science of Us

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Race #109 – New York City Marathon – New York, NY – 11/07/10

I have to admit, the Big Apple took a bite out of me. Really though, it had little to do with the city itself — it was great — but there’s no 26.2-mile stretch on the planet that appeals to me if I have to run the entire length of it. To those who know me well, that’s no surprise because for the past few months I’ve had a case of Marathoners Remorse. As I built my mileage up from 40 to 50 miles per week (too quickly of course) I started getting some small, nagging injuries. The worst one was what the physical therapist called “a weak quadriceps muscle in combination with a tight IT band,” which was resulting in my knee getting off track as I landed with my right foot. Exercises and stretching have gotten that pretty much under control but I wore a brace right up until this marathon mostly as a precaution. Then there have been problems with toes and shin and calves, and before I lose everybody to a major snoozefest I’ll just say that all of that made me decide in advance to be happy with fewer miles in the future and leave the marathons to those who enjoy them. Linda is under strict orders to take a ball peen hammer to the side of my head if I ever even mention that I’d like to run another marathon.
So that’s that. Haile Gebrselassie and I decided to retire from marathons on the very same day and in the very same race. He dropped out of the race at around the 16th mile. I hit the wall somewhere between the 16th and 20th miles and would have liked to bailed out, but due to some not-so-great planning on my part, our plane was scheduled to leave LaGuardia at 4:05, which meant I needed to finish the race, walk out the mile-long chute, find Nicole (my daughter) and Linda, and get to LaGuardia in time.
Of course there was plenty to see in the race, running through so many eclectic neighborhoods in New York, but just as interesting to me was the logistics of how runners made it to the starting line. I was scheduled to take the Staten Island Ferry over from Manhattan at 5:45 a.m. Nicole dropped me off about 5:40 and just a couple minutes later they shuffled the huge crowd of runners onto the ferry. I heard somebody say that it held 6,000 people and I was pretty amazed that the whole crowd got on. Once we arrived at Staten Island we were loaded on buses and taken 4 miles to the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The runners were divided among three areas that each held around 15,000 people. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that they weren’t able to come up with 45,000 folding chairs, but it was a little uncomfortable sitting on the ground for 4 hours while we waited for the race to start.
It was fun to see the race from the inside after watching last year on television. As we crossed the bridge leading into Brooklyn from Staten Island there was a lot of excitement. It’s a 2-mile long bridge so it was uphill for a mile and my face was freezing in the cold breeze that was blowing over the Hudson River. Some runners kept their warm clothes on until they left the bridge, leaving a trail of gloves, hats, and sweatshirts behind in the third mile.
Nicole lives in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, which the race crosses at about 7 miles into the race, and we met where the race intersected with their street. As you can see by the pics, I was all smiles at that point of the race. After our little 5-second photo-op, I was back on my way. I actually felt pretty good up until maybe 15 or 16 miles into the race, and then things started to unravel. Nothing major really, but I’m not one of those people who loves to run until it hurts, and that seems to be an undeniable fact about marathons… it hurts to run that far.
As I crossed the 20-mile mark in the race I saw that my time was almost exactly 3 hours. At that point I knew there was no way I could qualify for Boston since I would need to run the last 10k in 45 minutes. I can do that on a good day, but not after running 20 miles. Since my legs were already shot I knew I’d have trouble even making it in an hour, so I had to decide whether to try hard to run the last 10k in under an hour or just take it easy on myself and not push it. I decided on the latter, and over the last 6.2 miles I just kind of went into mosey mode, stopping at all the water stops and eating bananas and oranges when they were offered, and running when I reminded myself I had a plane to catch or that I was just prolonging the misery.
When it was finally over I was exhausted and just happy to see the finish line. Everybody was lining up for post-race photos but I just kept walking. I’d rather remember what I looked like at 7 miles. My official time was 4:09:23, which was 17,963rd place out of 45,350 runners who started the race. That’s right around the 40th percentile, so maybe that’s not so bad for an old guy. It was fun in some ways and a great experience that I’m glad to have had, but you can bet I won’t be running any more marathons in this lifetime.

Linda, Richard, and Nicole together for a quick photo at Mile 7 of the 2010 NYC Marathon.
Race Rating:
Note: It’s really hard to compare this race with a local race. Things such as having 110 professional photographers make direct comparisons impossible but I’ll do a general rating anyway. Suffice it to say, it’s probably the biggest racing spectacle in the world.
10 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
10 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
9 – 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)
10 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
1 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 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)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0-10 Other
TOTAL – 102
My Stats:
Time: 4:09:23
Pace: 9:30
Age Group: 512 of 1638 (31:3%)
Overall: 17,963 of 45,350 (39.6%)
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Race #30 – New Jersey Marathon – Long Branch NJ – 05/03/09

It was the best of times. Here’s me (in the white shirt) just before the finish line in about 4:02…
It was the worst of times. Here’s me lying on a stretcher with hypothermia and dehydration about 10 minutes after the race…
So it wasn’t the ideal ending, but was a good experience nevertheless. I ran the New Jersey Marathon in memory of my mom, who (you might remember) died in New Jersey 50 years ago this year (1959). I was happy to have run the race, and even happier not to have joined her with my ultimate demise.
This year’s New Jersey Marathon was cold and rainy. It might have stopped raining a few times during the race. I’m not sure because after a while I was oblivious to the rain and was just kind of on autopilot. I know that a lot of people run a marathon and when they finish they swear they’ll never run another one, but a couple weeks later they’re looking for a new one to run. That won’t be the case with me. One is enough. Although I love to run, too much of a good thing is not always a good thing, so it was my first and last marathon, and that’s a promise.
Aside from the miserable weather and my near death experience at the end, the race itself was really nice. The people in charge of the NJ Marathon really go all out to provide a top notch marathon for participants, and it seems like the whole city of Long Branch is behind it as well. The crowd support even in the rain was amazing. There were several sections along the route where people lined the streets about a half-dozen deep, shouting encouragement as the runners came by. The hundreds of volunteers were great as well.
The expo was in a large tent (not quite large enough) in Pier Village, a beautiful place on the beach filled with shops and restaurants. When we first arrived there about noon on Saturday it was raining so it was hard to appreciate everything in the area, but things cleared up later on Saturday afternoon and the rest of the day was nice. The expo was good but really needed to be in a larger venue such as the large hotel next door or at least in a larger tent. The hundreds of people in the tent were completely crammed in so it was hard to move around.
One thing about the races in general that I like most is the interesting people I meet along the way. In this race somewhere about mile 20 I met up with Lawrence Diggs, a 68-year-old from New Jersey who began running at the age of 49 and was running in his 64th marathon. He explained to me that he got started too quickly today because he was the guy who sang “God Bless America” just before the race and he wasn’t able to get farther back in the pack so he started up front and got pulled along at a fast pace, leaving him out of gas just like me at about the halfway point. He was a real inspiration and encouraged me to keep going during those last few miles of the race, and his stories made the time pass by a lot faster. Somewhere in the 25th mile we got separated and I didn’t see him again.
A major problem for this race is the parking situation. There are just not enough parking spaces anywhere nearby to accommodate 10,000 runners and the people coming to watch them run so the main parking area is at the Monmouth Park race track, which is about 5 miles away. When I arrived at about 5:30 a.m. at the parking area there were about 10 school buses loading up. They filled up quickly and along came more buses, but there were thousands of people and no real lines or organization for getting on the buses so you kind of just had to nudge and bully your way in if you wanted to get on a bus.
The good far outweighed the bad though. The T-shirts for this race are the very best I’ve ever seen for any race: long-sleeved blue tech shirts that are beautifully designed on the front AND back with no advertising at all on the back. The finishers medals were great as well and you also got a really nice finishers hat. I lost mine in the shuffle as the medics were giving me oxygen but that’s understandable. I should mention that all of the medical people involved were amazing. They had their hands full with people like me but made sure every person with a medical problem was taken care of. Some of my vital signs were a little iffy such as a heart rate in the low 50s and they wanted to take me to the hospital but I was feeling a lot better after 15 or 20 minutes and had a plane to catch so I declined the offer, but they still made sure and found me some dry clothes (which we hadn’t even thought of bringing) and had one of the volunteers personally drive us back to our car at the race track.
Race Rating:
  • 6/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
  • 10 -10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 8 -10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 7 -10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
  • 10 -10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 4 – 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)
  • 9 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 2 – 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)
  • 0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
  • 9 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
  • 2 – 1-10 Other (Amazing crowd support, volunteers, and medics)
TOTAL – 100
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