Race #393 – Race 13.1 Half Marathon – Greenville SC – 09/09/17

The Race 13.1 series has just been around a couple years but already seems to be making a big splash in the half marathon pool. I’ve seen some of their races advertised but since they have been in conflict with other races I had scheduled I haven’t participated in one until now. I saw that this half marathon in Greenville would be followed by one in Charlotte in just a couple weeks, and those two races fit into my schedule perfectly so I signed up for both.

I took advantage of the season’s pass, which costs $150 up front but then allows you to register for just $15 for any of their Race 13.1 half marathons that are scattered around 10 or more states, but heavy on the Carolinas since they’re centered in Raleigh. So right off the bat I saved around 100 bucks and I’m planning on probably running five or six of their races over the next year so it seems like a great deal to me.

With running friend Katie Freid after the race.

Since Greenville is about 80 miles from home I left early and arrived in plenty of time.  There was tons of free parking near the starting line and the porta potties were plentiful as well. There was a total of around 500 runners in the three races (300 in the half marathon and 100 each in the 5k and 10k) and that’s a good size for my tastes.

The course was almost entirely along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is a great place to run. The trail is mostly flat and scenic, but the first half mile of the race that leads to the SRT was mostly downhill, which is great except to finish the race you have to come back up the hill. That’s not too bad but it’s a lot easier to finish downhill instead of struggling to the finish line.

The post-race party was great, especially the fresh pizza, and the finisher medals for the half marathon were really nice. The age group awards were also nice medals. There were just a couple of small beefs I had about the age group awards. One was that there was not an age group ceremony. Instead of calling the age group winners up to receive their awards you just went to a tent where they checked the results and gave you your medal. It wouldn’t be a lot more trouble to announce the winners and have them come up for their awards. Us age groupers kinda like it that way. The other small beef was that for the 5k and 10k there was only an award for 1st place instead of the top 3 in each age group. I realize there weren’t as many runners in those races but perhaps that’s one of the reasons why.

Overall it was a great race and I’m looking forward to more of the Race 13.1 series in the coming year.

Race Number:  393

Race Name:  Race 13.1 Half Marathon – Greenville SC

Location: Greenville, South Carolina

Date: September 9, 2017

Race Rating:  108

Winners:

 

Course:  Mostly flat out-and-back course along the scenic Swamp Rabbit Trail.  It’s all paved and plenty wide enough for runners going both ways.

 

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 61 degrees, 8 mph NNE wind, 77% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race 13.1 Website

Professional race photos are available but kind of expensive. Could be worth it though if they caught a great pic of you!

My Stats:

Time:  1:45:03
Pace:   8:01
Age Group:  1 of 4
Overall: 44 of 246
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:53 (71.3%)

Great finishers medal and likewise for the age group awards!

***************
* RACE RATING *
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RACE COURSE
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
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
1 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less) (* 1-deep in 5k and 10k)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – 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)
8 – 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
1 – 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
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  108

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Race #367 – GHS Half Marathon – Travelers Rest, SC – 02/25/17

The weather was perfect for this great race that runs mostly along the Swamp Rabbit Trail from Travelers Rest, South Carolina, to Greenville. It was an exciting day for me, partly because it was my first half marathon since last October, but also because it’s my last race in the 60-64 age group. Next week I enter the 65-69 age group where I will be the young kid of the bunch! It’s only the second time I’ve changed age groups, having started running at the age of 56, and five years really does make a difference, so now instead of being hounded by the young 60-year-old runners I’ll instead try to be a pest to the 69-year-old guys. At this age my goal is to hang around long enough to make it at least to the 70+ age group.

 

The warm weather (61 degrees at the start) was too hot for many runners, but for me it’s just right, and it made the 13.1 miles almost pleasant despite the fact that I hadn’t run more than 10 miles at one time over the past 4 or 5 months. It also helped that the course has a net drop in elevation. It’s not a lot — less than 200 feet altogether — but enough to give you a little boost along the way.

 

With 1,318 finishers in the half marathon and another 329 in the 5k, it’s a great size — not too big and not too small. There was plenty of free parking at the high school where the race started. There was an extra charge to ride the bus back to Travelers Rest but I had some friends running so we coordinated it so some parked at the start and others at the finish and we were able to carpool.

 

The finish at Peace Center in Greenville was fantastic, and the post-race food, medals, and awards were all great as well. I finished 3rd in the 60-64 age group and got one of the biggest trophies ever! It’s too big for my trophy case but that’s okay because it looks pretty good to me by the fireplace.

The finish and awards ceremony were at Peace Center in Greenville.

 

One final thought is about the race photos. There were about 3,000 photos from a couple different sources. They’re all free for download in Facebook friendly low resolution but you can buy a high resolution download for only 5 bucks.

 

This is a race that I’d like to keep on my to-do list for as long as I’m able to keep pickin’ ’em up and puttin’ ’em down. It’s also the first of six half marathons I plan to run over the next nine weeks if nothing on me breaks between now and then. This was half marathon #95 and I’m hoping my destination race in Las Vegas will be #100 on April 29th.

 

Race Number:  367

Race Name:  GHS Half Marathon and 5k

Location:  Travelers Rest to Greenville, South Carolina

Date:  February 25, 2017

Race Rating:  122  (That’s a record!… A lot of things were done right!)

Overall Winners (Top 20 Males Overall):

Winners (Top 20 Females Overall):

My Age Group (60-64) and the one I would have won (65-69) if I had been two days older:


Course: Point-to-point course run mostly along the paved Swamp Rabbit Trail with a gradual drop in elevation. It’s only a drop of 10 or 15 feet per mile on average but it helps. Lots of pleasant scenery along the way. Very popular route for bicyclists, but that wasn’t an issue during the race (I saw tons of them on the way back to get my car… looked like fun!).

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 61 degrees, South winds at 7 mph, 88% humidity.

Click Here for Full Race Results

Race Photos:

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:42:18 (chip)
  • Pace:  7:49
  • Age Group:  3 of 25
  • Overall:  169 of 1,318
  • Average Heart Rate:  162
  • Maximum Heart Race:  173
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:20:32 (72.5%)

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

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

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

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

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
3 – 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)
8 – 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
4 – 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
5 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
10 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

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

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

TOTAL:  122

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Race #313 – Spinx Run Fest Half Marathon – Greenville, SC – 10/31/15

2015-spinx-LOGOThis is a great racing event but it’s kind of off the radar for most Gastonia/Charlotte area runners, probably because there are so many other fall races. Most of my running friends in Gastonia ran the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon just two weeks earlier and not everybody wants to ramp it up so soon for another major race. There are actually four different races that make up the Spinx Run Fest: 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon. I of course chose the half marathon option as always.

 

By the way, I was registered to run the New York City Marathon, which was held the day after this one, but I decided not to go. I had registered back in January when I had temporarily lost control of my senses. My daughter lives in Brooklyn and I was notified by the New York Roadrunners that my time at last year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon (1:32:13) made me an automatic qualifier so I went ahead and signed up. In the months since then I decided to stick with the decision I made five years ago when I ran the 2010 NYC Marathon that I would never run another marathon. I’m no fan of beating up my body, at least not for 26.2 miles, and I’m happy with my decision to stay home and race locally instead.

 

The weather in Greenville was nearly perfect for the race. It was a little colder than I like but the colder weather makes for better running, even for me. I made the 80-mile drive down I-85 by myself and was happy to see that at least a few of my friends from NC made it to the race.

 

My main goal was to finish at under 1:40, so I was really happy with my chip time of 1:38:51, which was 1st in the 60-64 age group.

 

A couple other things…

  • I registered a week or two before the race and was told when I picked up my number that I was too late to get a shirt but they would mail me one. I won’t hold my breath.
  • The post-race food is great! It appeared to me that the food was provided by the Spinx folks (that’s a big convenience store chain in SC) and all three years I’ve run this race the setup has been similar. There are neatly wrapped sandwiches, cups of fresh fruit, yogurt, and more. Lots of tasty stuff!

 

Race Number:  313

 

Race Name:  Spinx Run Fest

 

Location:  Greenville, South Carolina

 

Date:  October 31, 2015

 

Race Rating:  97

 

Course:  Overall beautiful course mostly through downtown Greenville and along the local greenways and parks. The race ends in the minor league baseball stadium, Fluor Field, lapping around the outfield and ending at home plate.

 

Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  431 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  427 feet
  • Minimum Altitude:  838 feet
  • Maximum Altitude:  1017 feet

Weather at Start:  48 degrees (felt like 45 degrees), 74% humidity, 7 mph NNE wind

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Website

 

2015-spinx-richard-awards

2015-spinx-richard-STATSMy Stats:

  • Time:  1:38:51
  • Pace:  7:33
  • Age Group:  1/14
  • Overall:  54/1150
  • Average Heart Rate:  164
  • Maximum Heart Race:  174
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:17:44  (76.19%)

 

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* RACE RATING *

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RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
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
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!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

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

POST RACE
9 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – 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
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

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

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

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

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

TOTAL:  97

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Race #194 – Spinx Run Fest Half Marathon – Greenville, SC – 10/27/12

After spending a good portion of last week’s half marathon run in Myrtle Beach sounding like I was coughing up a lung, I decided to maybe take a couple weeks off from racing and give my body some time to recover. I had already registered for the Spinx Half Marathon but was about 95% sure I wouldn’t feel good enough to run it.

I woke up Monday morning with the intention of taking Linda to the doctor to get checked out. After running the Myrtle Beach half she had taken a tumble after tripping over something while exiting the finishers corral and from her symptoms it seemed like she might have a rib fracture. The doctor agreed and for the next six to eight weeks she’ll be out of commission as far as running is concerned.

While we were at the doctor’s office I decided to see if they could fit me in he could shed some light on why I’ve been coughing so much over the past month. The doc decided to do a spirometry (lung function test) and I wasn’t able to complete it because I couldn’t exhale all of my breath without coughing. He then proceeded to give me a breathing treatment that didn’t help a lot, but after repeating it a second time I was finally able to complete the spirometry. In the end I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and asthma, was given three medications, and was sent on my way.

I started the medication and began feeling better right away. Most of the coughing stopped although I still coughed some while running and did a lot of coughing after a hard run, but all in all I had improved by at least 80% by the end of the week so I decided to run the Spinx Half Marathon after all.

The Spinx Run Fest is actually three races (Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k) and is one of South Carolina’s biggest racing events of the year. It’s a beautiful course and it ends at Fluor Field, the Greenville minor league baseball team’s home park, which is patterned after Boston’s Fenway Park, complete with the Green Monster in left field. Runners enter the park in deep center field with their names being announced and run around the field, finishing at home plate in front of a large crowd of spectators who are mostly there to see their own friends and loved ones but do a lot of cheering for those they don’t know.

I was a little surprised with my slower time this year — 1:41:39 — since it was almost a full 10 minutes slower than my time last year in the same race (1:31:57), but it was good enough to win the 60-64 age group so I probably shouldn’t feel too bad about it. I don’t monitor my pace in races but just my heart rate, and in this race I was able to get to a heart rate of 168 and hold it there throughout almost all of the race so I thought my time should be better. I mentioned this to a friend when we were doing a recovery run on Sunday morning and he suggested that maybe the medication had affected my heart rate, and that sounds pretty logical so I’m hoping that’s the cause and it will remedy itself once the medication is completed.

This was the second race in the Running Journal Grand Prix season. I’ve managed to eek out a win of just a few seconds in the first two races over my friend Bob Nelson from Charlotte. Next week is the third race in the series, the Vulcan Run in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a great race but we’re on a budget right now that doesn’t include a trip to Birmingham. Bob will be there but I won’t be going so he’ll almost certainly be ahead of me after the first three races. After that I’ll see if I can catch up with him in a couple of the RJGP races coming up in the Charlotte area.

My Stats:

Time:   1:41:39
Pace:   7:45
Age Group:  1 of  23
Overall:  116 of  1520
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:22:14  (72.01%)

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* RACE RATING *
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Note: I made a few adjustments to the rating system as of 10/27/12 to give races a chance to score more rating points, so it can be futile to compare an older race with a newer one. Hopefully the different items on the checklist will inform you of what you need to know about a race. I’m still trying to keep it as objective as I can. The total points points possible are more than 100 but I’m trying to fine tune it so that good races end up in the 85-100 range. It’s too much trouble to go back and make changes to the old race ratings, but one of these days after all of the fine tuning is done it may be much easier to compare races with each other.

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
5 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 – 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
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

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

POST RACE
7 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (3)adequate  (7)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)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
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)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

WEBSITE
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

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

TOTAL:  102  (see note at top of ratings about changes)

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Race #150 – Spinx Run Fest Half Marathon – Greenville, SC – 10/29/11

This will go down as one of my most memorable races. It was my 150th race in a little more than three years, so that’s a bit of a milestone in itself, but more importantly it was my all-time fastest half marathon of the 28 half marathons that I’ve run. I was amazed when I reached the finish line in 1:31:57, which is 14 seconds faster than I ran in The Scream a few months ago. I never thought I could run a better time than The Scream since it was loaded with 8 or 9 miles of downhill running, so a PR on this fairly hilly course in Greenville, South Carolina, was something I didn’t even consider before running. My goal going in was to finish somewhere in the 1:34 to 1:37 range and I would have been happy anywhere in that area.

 With 2,635 finishers in the three races — marathon (436), half marathon (1,268), and 5k (931) — this is one of the largest racing events of the year in Upstate South Carolina. This year the half marathon was the second race in the Running Journal Grand Prix series, which I have run for the past two years and plan on continuing this year as well, at least until my 60th birthday in February when I’ll be changing age groups.

For the most part the three races were on three separate courses although a few times during the race we ran side-by-side with runners from the full marathon for short distances. The full marathon was an out-and-back course but the half marathon was more of a loop that ran through different areas around Greenville. We ran through city parks, down greenways, and through business areas and scenic neighborhoods. It was a  beautiful course but as slow as you’re traveling when you’re on foot, there’s only so much sightseeing you can do when you’re in a race. I started out fast as I always do and a half mile or so into the race there were only four runners ahead of me. I’m accustomed to being passed often as the race progresses but on this day I wasn’t passed nearly as much as usual, ending up 35th overall out of 1,268 finishers for 3rd place in the Grand Masters category.

I started the race with Butch Holt and Louis Messina, two other Charlotte area runners who are following the Running Journal Grand Prix this year. Both won their age groups in this race, Butch in the 60-64 age group and Louis in the 65-69 age group. Butch is one of the fastest runners in the 60-64 age group in North Carolina, and in February I’ll be moving up to that group as well. Today I jumped out ahead and wasn’t sure where Butch was, but I felt certain that he wasn’t far behind. Sure enough, when I got to a big turn on a hill 8 miles into the race, I took a peek back and Butch was right behind me. He’s caught me plenty of times in races so it’s never a surprise, and I try to look at things philosophically… I’m running as best I can, and if anybody goes ahead of me it’s because they’re able to run faster, at least at that moment. As mentioned earlier, I get passed a lot and it’s something I’m used to and don’t fret over. I’ll just finish the race wherever I’m capable of finishing and I hope everyone else does the same.

Usually when Butch passes me in a race he’s out of sight within a minute or two. On this day though, after he passed he wasn’t leaving me completely behind. I looked at my heart rate and it was 165. Earlier in the race I had been comfortable running at a heart rate of 168 beats per minute so I stepped it up just a little to get to 168, and before I knew it I was within about 2 or 3 seconds of Butch. At one point 9.6 miles into the race I actually caught him for a few seconds before he took off again, although I was able to stay about 2 or 3 seconds behind.

I passed the 10-mile clock and just caught a glimpse of it. I didn’t really catch the time but I felt like I was doing pretty well and I decided to rev up my heart rate a little more from 168 to 170 and see how I felt. Everything seemed right so I decided to hold it there if I could over the last 3 miles. Usually in those last few miles of a half marathon I’m fading fast and slowing down to the 7:30 range, give or take, but today everything was clicking. I ran mile 11 at 7:05, then mile 12 at 7:07. I caught Butch somewhere around the 12th mile, took a chance on passing him, then tried to hold on. Mile 13 for me was at a 6:44 pace and I’m pretty sure that’s the fastest 13th mile I’ve ever run. I crossed the finish and took a look back, and there was Butch just a few steps behind. I’m hoping over the next few years while we’re in the same age group I can make things interesting by keeping up with him, at least part of the time.

I should add that regarding the race itself, it’s one of the best. The organizers, the Greenville Track Club, in particular race director Ed Hughes, really know how to put on a good race. The post race food was fabulous, the long-sleeved tech shirt and design is easily one of the best shirts I’ve received in 150 races. Finally, the finish line is inside Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, the Class A minor league baseball team, which has to be one of the greatest minor league stadiums in the country. It’s designed like Fenway Park complete with the 30-foot high “Green Monster” wall in left field, and runners enter in right field and then run three-fourths of the way around the inside of the park to the finish line near home plate.

Click Here for Half Marathon Results
Click Here for Full Marathon Results
Click Here for 5k Results


Click Here for Official Race Website (find photo link here when available)


Race Rating:

9 – 1-10  Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
6 – 1-10  Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10  Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10  Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
10 – 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)
4 – 1-10  Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 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)
6 – 1-10  Bathroom Facilities
0-10  Other

TOTAL – 101

My Stats:

Time:  1:31:57
Pace:  7:01
Age Group:  1 of 29 (3rd place Grand Masters)
Overall:  35 of 1,268

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Race #41 – Candlelight Run 5k – Greenville SC – 06/20/09

It would be our third race in about 24 hours, but Linda and I agreed that the biggest nighttime race in South Carolina, on a course filled with 21,000 luminaries, sounded like fun and a nice way to celebrate our 30th anniversary (it’s the 21st actually) so we decided to head down that way. Mitchell Rippy had mentioned to me at the Summer Breeze 5k Saturday morning that he and Bubba Anthony were heading down to the Candlelight Run that night. I’m not sure if he said Columbia or I just processed the information wrong, but I was ready to set sail for Columbia. The race directors had a block of rooms reserved at Embassy Suites at a special rate for runners, and luckily we called ahead for reservations just before we left town. The reservations clerk informed us we were heading for Greenville instead, which was a nice surprise since it’s actually closer to us.
As we approached Greenville, a time and temperature sign along Interstate 85 rubbed in the fact that it was 95 degrees, but we figured it would cool off some in the two hours until race time. It did cool off a bit but was still probably about 85 degrees and muggy when the race started at 9 p.m., and as we crossed the starting line I was reminded that there’s a reason that many sane people don’t sign up for this type of thing. Nevertheless, there we were, heading up the first long hill with 2,000 other crazy people who paid money to run up some long hills on one of the hottest nights of the year. On the other hand, we also got to run down those same hills on the way back and the final mile was virtually all downhill. That was helpful, but I was so tired from going up the hill in the opposite direction I had a hard time running fast back down the hill. As you can see from the spikes on the graph from my Garmin, I reverted back to my old standby — the run-walk-run — and walked six times during the race.
I’d really rather prefer not walking at all during a 5k race, but when I feel like it will help me recover and possibly run better a little later in the race, it still works for me. Despite all of the walk breaks I still finished in 23:28, and Linda and I both got 3rd place in our age divisions, which we thought was a nice way to celebrate our 30th anniversary!
The post-race celebration was great, with plenty of food as well as music and lots of people dancing before the awards ceremony. The results of the race weren’t posted ahead of time so you had to wait around to see if you won an age group award. That’s no problem if you won, but if you didn’t win it’s kind of disappointing. I’m sure most people would prefer knowing ahead of time. The T-shirts were nice, but since we registered late we didn’t get one. No problem there, but the more thoughtful races (it happened at the Summer Breeze yesterday) give a discount of five bucks or so if they run out of T-shirts, but they didn’t do that here.
I didn’t get any good photos at this race but there were professional photographers at the race and photos as well as race results can be found through the Candlelight Run website and the Greenville Online site (see link below).
Race Ratings
9 – 1-10 Website (Informaton, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
3 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
6 – 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)
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)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0-10 Other
TOTAL – 94
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