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 *
***************

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 #386 – John & Jessie Kelley Half Marathon – New London, CT – 08/05/17

Since I was visiting my daughter in nearby Essex, Connecticut, I was excited to see a local half marathon that I could run. This race has been held since 1962, making it the oldest road race I’ve ever been part of and I would guess one of the oldest in the country. It’s named after John J. Kelley, winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon who later went on to coach Runner’s World editor and Boston winner Amby Burfoot when Amby was in high school. Kelley was also a two-time Olympian and winner of several other marathons, including the Yonkers Marathon eight times.

 

The race is held at the beautiful Ocean Park Beach in New London; unfortunately, this year was a washout with constant rain during the race so the beach setting wasn’t great on this particular day. No problem though. The pre-race downpours settled down and by the time the race started it was more of just a light rain that continued throughout but never became too bad. I’d like to come back next year in what will hopefully be better weather.

 

It wasn’t my best half marathon but I was actually pretty satisfied to finish in 1:44:09, which landed me in 6th place out of 32 runners in the 60-69 age group. At age 65 I’m really not thrilled when there are 10-year age groups, but it seems to happen more often, especially as you get older. If there had been the normal 5-year age groups I would have placed 3rd in the 65-69 age group, so that’s a little consolation.

 

This race has been different distances (around 12 miles) over the years, and in recent years 11.6 miles, but this year was the first time it has been measured as an actual half marathon (13.1 miles).

 

Finally, I’ve got to mention that this race is entirely FREE… No registration fee at all! Apparently it’s always been that way. I didn’t know what to expect when I registered online after finding the race listed, but it’s not only a legitimate race but excellent in every way: plenty of volunteers, great timing (although not chip-timed), good food afterwards (think clam chowder), and lots of runners. There were 552 finishers this year but I think the crowd was lower this year because of the rainy weather.

Race Number:  386

 

Race Name:  John & Jessie Kelley Half Marathon

 

Location: New London, Connecticut

 

Date:  August 5, 2017

 

Race Rating:  76

 

Winners (Top 25 Overall):

 

Course:

 

Elevation:

 

Weather at Start:  Rain, 72 degrees, wind SSE 11 mph, 94% humidity.

 

Race Results:

 

Click Here for Race Website

I was happy with my time of 1:44:09 but it was only good enough for 6th place in the 10-year age group.

My Stats:

 

  • Time:  1:44:09
  • Pace:  7:57
  • Age Group:  6 of 32 (60-69 age group)
  • Overall:  118 of 552
  • Average Heart Rate:  158
  • Maximum Heart Race:  171
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:11 (71.92%)

 

 

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – 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!
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
10 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!   (10)–>>> FREE!!!
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)
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)
5 – 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)
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
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
0 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
x – Design: (1-5)
x – Material Quality: (1-3)
x – 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
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:  76

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Race #384 – The Scream! Half Marathon – Jonas Ridge, NC – 07/15/17

Since its inception in 2011, The Scream! has been one of the races I look forward to every year. I’ve had to miss it twice — once because of injury and another time because of the weather — but I’m always eager to do it again.

 

It’s an odd race in some ways. Runners park at the Brown Mountain Beach Resort along Wilson Creek somewhere between Morganton and Lenoir North Carolina. It’s in the middle of nowhere at the foot of the mountain and just getting there on the winding road is half the fun. Once you’re parked, it’s time to get on a bus and travel about 20 miles to the starting line at the top of the mountain in the town of Jonas Ridge. After exiting the bus and getting your bib and maybe something from the convenience store, it’s another half mile jog to the starting line. After you run the 13.1 miles to the finish line you end up in the tiny ghost town of Mortimer, where there’s a little convenience store in an old house and not much else that I could see. You then hop on the bus again to return to Brown Mountain Beach Resort which is about another 7 or 8 miles away. There’s plenty of food when you get back (catered barbecue this year — some years it’s been different). Some runners cool off in Wilson Creek and others just hang around for the awards, but it’s a pleasant place and a good chance to meet up with runners you haven’t seen in a while.

 

As advertised, the half marathon course is mostly downhill, with a net elevation drop of a little over 2,000 feet. That makes it faster than most but it can be a little deceptive too. There’s also more than 500 feet of elevation gain along the way.

 

This year I was about 10 minutes slower than the first time I ran this race in 2011 (1:42:01 this year as opposed to 1:32:11 in 2011) but that’s no big surprise since I’m now 65 years old and definitely slowing down. Whatever the time, I’ll be looking forward to running this race again next year.

 

Race Number:  384

 

Race Name:  The Scream! Half Marathon

 

Location:  Jonas Ridge, North Carolina

 

Date:  July 15, 2017

 

Race Rating:  98

 

Winners (Top 25):

 

Course:  First 2 miles are rolling hills at the top of the mountain, followed by about 9 miles down a dirt road to the bottom of the mountain, with the last couple miles fairly flat to the finish.

 

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 70 degrees, 100% humidity, calm winds

 

Race Results:

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:42:01
  • Pace:  7:47
  • Age Group:  1 of 5
  • Overall: 42 of 255
  • Average Heart Rate:  155
  • Maximum Heart Race:  167
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:31 (73.42%)
I was taking one of my many walk breaks about 12 miles into the race when I heard my name and looked around. It was my friend Marcy, who ran with me the last mile as we provided each other some encouragement to the finish line.

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – 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

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)
0 – 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

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

  • I added 10 points to the total just for the race experience. There are a few things that result in a lower point score such as parking and no professional photography, but overall this is a unique and enjoyable race that every half marathon runner should experience if you’re able to. 

TOTAL: 98

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Race #375 – Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon – Las Vegas, NV – 04/29/17

It’s 2,180 miles one way from Gastonia NC to Las Vegas, so this was a special destination race for me and it was a great one. The race organizers definitely know what they’re doing and everything was top notch, from the race website and communicating what to expect to the professional quality photos that runners were able to download for absolutely free.

 

A few months back I decided it would be nice if this could be my 100th half marathon, but in order for it to be #100 I would need to run 6 half marathons over a 9-week period for that to happen. I managed to meet that goal, but as I write this six days after the race my legs are still beat up and I only managed to run one very slow mile this week. I feel like I’ll be back to normal over the next week or two, and I’ll probably run this week’s planned 5k, but I have a feeling it’ll be a slow one, and I’m thinking I’ll take a break from so many half marathons in the future. Instead of a half marathon every month, which has been a general rule of thumb with my racing, I think a more realistic and doable goal would be four to six half marathons a year for as long as I can handle it.

 

A group of eight of us from my running club (Gaston County Runners) flew out for the race so it was nice to have some friends along. We all stayed on the Las Vegas strip but that’s not really my thing, so I think next time around I’ll stay closer to the race site, which is around 20 miles from downtown. Another good reason for that and a reason I’m planning on coming back in the future is that my oldest son lives in Las Vegas and actually woke up on race day with runners from this race running past his house. He turns 50 on May 24th and hasn’t been a runner, but he’s considering it, and it would be fantastic if we could run this race together one year. I began running at the age of 56 so he’s got plenty of time. Oh, and before I get back to talking about the race, the real highlight of this whole trip to LV was visiting my son, his three kids (my grandchildren), and their four kids (my great grandchildren!). All of the great grandkids had been born since our last trip nine years ago to Las Vegas, and being around them for the first time was surreal. I knew them from Facebook, but getting to know them in person was a real treat, and it was a beautiful experience to get to see each of their personalities up close for the first time. For that reason alone I’d like to add this race to my calendar every year for as long as I can.

 

Back to the race. Runners parked about a mile from the finish line — half marathoners parked at Walmart and marathoners across the street at Target. The buses were really nice and I remember thinking they looked as good or better than the airplane we flew out on. Marathoners were taken near the top of the mountain to an elevation of 7,633 feet (higher than any mountain in North Carolina by the way) and the half marathon runners started at an elevation of 4,522 feet. The elevation at the finish line was 2,507 feet so was plenty of downhill in both races. Of course, with a little over 2000 feet of downhill I hoped for a blazing fast time but I wasn’t expecting any miracles, so just finishing in under 1:40:00 was an accomplishment since I hadn’t done it this year. I was somewhat satisfied with my finishing time of 1:38:02, which was 2nd in the 65-69 age group.

 

The post-race fare included cherry pie, pizza, and the usual assortment of post-race food. It was a little disappointing that there wasn’t an awards ceremony for age group winners. A little strange actually, since everything else was done so perfectly for the rest of the race. No big problem though. There was a special medal for age group winners (very nice) that was in addition to the spectacular finishers medal that all runners received.

 

All in all it was a great race — one of my favorites — and I’ll plan on returning as often as I can. It will most likely be my fastest race each year that I do it, so it’ll provide a clear benchmark for my current potential.

Thousands of Hi-Res photos of this race are available for FREE download!

Race Number:  375

Race Name:  Revel Mount Charleston Marathon & Half Marathon

Location:  Las Vegas, Nevada

Date:  April 29, 2017

Race Rating:  113

Marathon Winners (Top 25):

 

Half Marathon Winners (Top 25):

Course:  Mostly downhill course on paved roads in Kyle Canyon at Mount Charleston just outside Las Vegas. Very few turns in the entire race, and only a little bit of uphill in the 11th mile.

 

Elevation:

My Garmin printout confirms the amount of downhill in the half marathon. There was more than twice as much downhill in the full marathon.

 

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 55 degrees, 14 mph North wind, 24% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

Photos (and several videos) show up on each runner’s results page. Here’s a link to mine as an example.

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:38:02
Pace:  7:29
Age Group:  2 of 21
Overall:  143 of 1705
Average Heart Rate:  162
Maximum Heart Race:  175
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:16:25 (76.4%)

My Mile Splits

***************
* 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
5 – 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)
0 – 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)
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
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

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

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
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
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:   113

 

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Race #372 – RaceFest Half Marathon – Charlotte, NC – 04/08/17

This was my 99th half marathon and the 5th half of 6 over a 9-week period that I planned in order for the 100th to be the destination race my group has planned soon for Las Vegas. This was also my third half marathon in 15 days (Saturday to Saturday to Saturday) and I’m happy to have a break of a couple weeks before #100.

 

RaceFest is a popular race in Charlotte and one I’ve looked forward to doing most years since I’ve been running. There are fewer runners now — a total of 1,312 combined in the 10k and half marathon this year as opposed to 2,443 in 2010 — but that’s a trend that most races are facing now due the abundance of races each weekend. And while I’m comparing 2010 to 2017, I noticed that I was 12 minutes slower now than then (1:47 vs 1:35). Ouch. Another bad trend but inevitable I guess.

 

Race Number:  372

Race Name:  Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon and 10k

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

Date:  April 8, 2017

Race Rating:  100

Winners:

 


Course:  Somewhat rolling course through pleasant upscale neighborhoods in South Charlotte on mostly wide streets. A few big hills but nothing drastic. One stretch for a mile or so on a narrow bike path with uneven pavement is a mess. This has been added in the past few years and it would be nice if they’d get rid of it in future races. Heard several complaints about the bike path from other runners and I didn’t like it either.

Elevation:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Professional Race Photos from Carolina Snapshot

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:47:05
  • Pace:  8:11
  • Age Group:  1 of 5
  • Overall:  115 of 768
  • Average Heart Rate:  155
  • Maximum Heart Race: 167
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:23:28  (69.95%)

 

Race photos are always a plus, but one Hi-Res image from this race will cost you $25.99.

***************
* 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
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

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
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
3 – 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
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
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
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:   100

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Race #370 – Spartanburg Half Marathon & 5k – Spartanburg SC – 03/25/17

This race is what was once the iRecycle Half Marathon, a race that ran for seven years in Spartanburg. I only ran it once, back in 2009. That was more than 300 races ago (it was Race #57). The recycling program was discontinued but some folks wanted to continue having the half marathon so this was the first year of what is now called the “Spartanburg Half Marathon.” I hope they’re able to continue because every city of this size needs a half marathon.

The race was small, with only 76 finishers in the half marathon and even fewer (35) in the 5k. With 76 runners spread out over a 13.1 mile course it can get lonely out there, and for much of the race I was virtually by myself for long stretches. The course was marked pretty well in most places and the city police did a good job of stopping traffic at most intersections, but there were some places where there was no one around and no markings could be seen so you had to guess which road to take. I guessed pretty well until the last (or one of the last turns) where I took the wrong route. Fortunately I was able to follow signs to the high school where the race started. I wasn’t the only one who got off track, and I overheard one runner saying he ran more than 14 miles. My watch read 13.17 miles at the finish so I ran the correct distance albeit in a roundabout way. It may have gotten messy if this had been a bigger race with major competition on the line, but I think everybody was just happy it was over.

Race Number:  370

Race Name:  Spartanburg Half Marathon & 5k

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina

Date:  March 25, 2017

Race Rating:  62

Winners (Top 15):

Course: Road course over combination of city streets, neighborhoods, and greenway. Plenty of rolling hills with 656 feet of elevation gain.

Elevation:


Weather at Start:  Sunny, 48 degrees, calm winds, 87% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:45:04
Pace: 8:05
Age Group:  1 of 1
Overall: 10 of 76
Average Heart Rate: 160
Maximum Heart Race: 170
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:54 (71.29%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – 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
4 – 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)
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
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)
3 – 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)
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)
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
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:   62

 

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Race #368 – Corporate Cup Half Marathon – Charlotte, NC – 03/04/17

Now in its 37th year, and Corporate Cup is one of Charlotte’s most established races. It’s also one of the biggest with well over 3,000 runners combined in the half marathon, relay, and 5k. The venue is the Wells Fargo Atrium in uptown Charlotte, which provides a cozy atmosphere if the weather’s cold in early March, and this year it was a chilly 36 degrees at the start of the half marathon.

 

This was my first race in the 65-69 age group so it’s nice to once again be one of the young guys in the group. One kind of sad phenomenon of aging runners is that the older you go in age groups the fewer the number of runners you compete against. I’m all for placing in the top 3 in my age group but it’s a little sad that out of more than 800 finishers in the half marathon there were only 5 who were in the 65-69 age group. I think most real runners want to keep going for as long as they can but for one reason or another (injuries and sickness mostly) there is a huge drop-off by the time a runner reaches their 60s. I’m hoping to keep going for many more years but only time will tell if that is a possibility. Other than being a bit slower I’m still doing okay though, so for now at least I’m thankful to still be hanging around.

 

Race Number:  368

Race Name:  BB&T Corporate Cup 5k and Half Marathon

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

Date:  March 4, 2017

Race Rating:  91

Winners (Top 5 Overall):

Course:  Starts and finishes in uptown Charlotte and travels through upscale Charlotte neighborhoods. A few tough hills, especially Morehead Street near the end of the race.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 36 degrees, 4 mph SE wind, 44% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from Carolina Snapshot

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:44:29
  • Pace:  7:59
  • Age Group:  1 of 5
  • Overall:  168 of 814
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:27 (71.69%)

 

***************
* 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
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!
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
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)
3 – 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
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
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
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

Nice — but expensive — photos were available from Carolina Snapshot

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:  91

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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%)

***************
* 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 #356 – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – Myrtle Beach, SC – 10/23/16

2016-mb-mini-logo

Always a lot of fun, the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon has become the #1 racing event of the year for my running group, the Gaston County Runners. Counting families of runners we probably had 40 or so in attendance this year and it’s always great to get a bunch of friends together away from home. We did a couple of group runs together aside from the race, and of course we ate out a lot, no doubt consuming many more calories than we expended with our running. Still it was fun, and those of us who have some self-control (not me) could get back to our sensible diets when we returned home.

 

Once again the weather was beautiful. It was cool at the start but warmed up nicely by the time we hit the boardwalk for the finish line at what used to be The Pavilion, which was for decades the center of activity for Myrtle Beach.

 

I carpooled with some friends to the starting line on Sunday morning and we arrived a little over an hour from the start so we’d have time to get a good parking spot and hit the porta potties before the main part of the crowd arrived. It was cool enough that we all returned to the car to warm up until about 15 minutes before the starting gun.

 

As I went up near the front of the starting line I greeted 61-year-old Robbie McLendon, a great guy and fantastic runner from Hartsville, South Carolina, who is known all over South Carolina for his running prowess. Robbie hasn’t missed a day of running in almost 39,000 days and over that time has averaged almost 9 miles a day. I’ll let you do the math, but that’s some phenomenal numbers. As Robbie and I were talking, up came 60-year-old Jimmy Arnold from Rockingham, North Carolina, who is possibly North Carolina’s most outstanding runner over 60 years old. We all shook hands and Jimmy told me this would be his fifth half marathon of the year, and in two of the first four he was under 1:30:00. I wasn’t surprised since I’ve been well aware of his running accomplishments. With these two running powerhouses in the race I figured placing in the top 3 of the 60-64 age group might be a longshot, especially since I was 2nd last year and was beaten by somebody else. I have to keep reminding myself that the most important thing is to do as well as I can, whether or not I place, but still it’s nice to get one of the age group awards so it’s always something I shoot for.

 

As the race started, Jimmy took off like a rabbit and was quickly out of reach. I saw Robbie in the first mile and I thought I passed him somewhere in the first or second mile but I wasn’t actually sure it was him, so I didn’t know if I was actually ahead of or behind him. None of that really mattered though, as I was just trying to run the best race I could at the time. A few miles into the race I caught up with friends Amy Edelstein and Mitchell Rippy, who were running together. I grunted a greeting as best I could and ran along for a couple minutes, then took off a little ahead of them. Several minutes later Amy caught up with me and said Mitchell was having some issues and she went ahead of him, and she asked if I minded her running along with me. I’d love to be able to run with Amy, but truth be told, she’s in a different league than me, and pacing with me would be a disaster for almost anyone, especially a good runner. My racing technique is a patchwork of run pretty fast, then jog a while, then walk a bit, then whatever. I tend to mix it up like that throughout races, which would drive most people bonkers, but it seems to work for me, especially now that I’m older and need to take frequent breaks in races. Amy ran along for a few minutes until I was ready to walk again, and I told her she should take off and keep up her good pace, which she did.

 

As we entered Ocean Boulevard for the last 5 miles of the race I thought about what a great course this is. Of the many half marathons I’ve run I think this 5-mile stretch is my favorite. It’s flat and along the ocean, with palm trees and big hotels and pockets of cheering spectators scattered along the way to keep you pumped up. There’s a big crowd lining the sidewalk and cheering as you approach the Sky Wheel and Pavilion area. There’s still a mile to run as you continue on down Ocean Boulevard for another half mile then get on the new boardwalk for the curvy trip back up another half mile to the finish. Some runners don’t like the wavy boardwalk finish but it’s my favorite part of the race, and if you run the tangents it’s really not too bad, especially knowing that the end is in sight.

 

I finished in 1:38:46, which is 2 minutes slower than I ran here last year (1:36:44) but my fastest half marathon of the ten I’ve run since then, and 3 seconds faster than Downhill at Dawn, which was my fastest thus far in 2016. For the 60-64 age group, Jimmy smoked it and almost broke 1:30:00 again, but I did manage to come in 2nd and finish a couple minutes ahead of Robbie, who was 3rd. It was an honor to be with those two at the top of the age group, and I’m relieved to know that next year I’ll graduate to the 65-69 age group. No doubt there will be tough competition there as well, and of course I’ll be a year older and slower so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens then.

Robbie McLendon, Richard Hefner, Jimmy Arnold
Robbie McLendon, Richard Hefner, Jimmy Arnold

 

Race Number:  356

 

Race Name:  Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon

 

Location:  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

 

Date:  October 23, 2016

 

Race Rating:  111

 

Winners (Overall Top 20):

2016-mb-mini-overall-top-20

 

Winners (60-64 Age Group Top 20):

2016-mb-mini-ag-top-20

 

Course: Flat and fast point-to-point course. The last 5 miles along Ocean Boulevard and the boardwalk is my favorite 5-mile stretch in any race.

2016-mb-mini-map

Elevation:

  • Gain:  25 feet
  • Loss:  37 feet

 

Weather at Start:  Sunny, 48 degrees, 57% humidity, 7 mph NNW winds.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Official Race Photos

 

Click Here for Some Free Photos on Facebook

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

 

 

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

REST ROOMS
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)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

There are lots of good professional photos along the course and at the finish line, but they're not cheap.
There are lots of good professional photos along the course and at the finish line, but they’re not cheap.

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
3 – 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
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
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  111

 

Great time with the GCR on Monday morning with a recovery run along the boardwalk.
Great time with the GCR on Monday morning with a recovery run along the boardwalk.
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Race #355 – Rocktoberfest Half Marathon & 5-Miler – Charlotte, NC – 10/15/16

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

 

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

 

2016-rocktoberfest-me-and-aaron-chan
With race buddy Aaron Chan.

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

 

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

 

Race Number:  355

 

Race Name:  Rocktoberfest Half Marathon & 5-Miler

 

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Date:  October 15, 2016

 

Race Rating:  99

 

Winners:

2016-rocktoberfest-winners

5 Mile Course:

2016-rocktoberfest-course-5m

 

Half Marathon Course:

2016-rocktoberfest-course-hm

Elevation (5 Miler):

  • Gain: 257 feet
  • Loss: 246 feet

 

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

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from Marathon Photos

My Stats:

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

 

***************
* 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
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

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
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)
5 – 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)
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
5 – 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
0 – 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:  99

 

2016-rocktoberfest-group

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