Race #342 – The Scream! Half Marathon – Jonas Ridge, NC – 07/16/16

2016-the-scream-medalOne of the few half marathons you’ll find in the month of July, The Scream is a race I look forward to every year. I’ve missed it a couple times — once because of an injury and once because of the weather — but I’ve been registered for it every time it’s been run. This time around the weather was better than in any of the previous years. It was near 100% humidity but the temperature was fine although maybe just a little warm for some folks.

 

This year was my slowest time ever for The Scream, which I expected, but I was just a little disappointed that I didn’t finish in under 1:40:00, instead finishing in 1:40:55, not terrible but a couple minutes slower than on what I would think is a harder course at Downhill at Dawn last month.

 

One of my favorite things about this race other than the 9 miles or so of downhill running is that it draws people from all over, especially the Western part of North Carolina, so there are a lot of friends I only see occasionally and some that I just see at this particular race. Speaking of friends, one of the finest people I know, Matt Longworth, set a course record this year with a blistering time of 1:11:41, and his girlfriend Carolyn Yang, who is also a speedster, finished 2nd overall and 1st female with a time of 1:21:19.

 

As always, the logistics for this race could be considered a nightmare. You park at Brown Mountain Beach then ride a bus to the starting line in Jonas Ridge maybe 15 or 20 miles away, then after finishing the race in the middle of nowhere you catch the bus again to ride 5 miles or so back to where the cars are parked. Oddly, to me this has become a part of the race that I like. It’s a nice bus ride both ways that gives you time to relax and enjoy the scenery and visit with some friends who are also on the bus.

 

On arrival back to Brown Mountain Beach, there’s plenty of food and the awards are held after food is served. The food has varied from year to year. This year it was barbecue and it was delicious and plentiful.

2016-the-scream-richard-from-bobby-aswell

Race Number:  342
Race Name:  The Scream! Half Marathon
Location:  Jonas Ridge, North Carolina
Date:  July 16, 2016
Race Rating:  86
Winners:

2016-the-scream-winners

My Age Group (60-64):

2016-the-scream-60-64-agegroup
Course: Rolling hills on paved mountain roads for the first 2 miles, followed by about 9 miles of mostly downhill (with a couple of uphills) on a gravel service road with the remainder on a mostly flat dirt road to the finish line.
Race Results:

 

Click Here for Race Website
My Stats:

  • Time:  1:40:55
  • Pace:  7:42
  • Age Group:  1 of  7
  • Overall:  47  of 263
  • Average Heart Rate:  160
  • Maximum Heart Race: 173
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:26  (73.49%)

 

***************
* 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
6 – 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
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
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
4 – Design: (1-5)
1 – 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 (at Brown Mountain Beach): (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:  86

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Race #338 – Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon – Black Mountain, NC – 06/04/16

2016-DAD-course1When I ran this race two years ago I considered it my best race ever — a 1:29:25 half marathon at age 62. It’s a feat that I knew I’d never duplicate and looking back at it now I’m still surprised that I was able to somehow crack 1 hour and 30 minutes in a half marathon, especially at that age. That was a 6:49 pace for 13.1 miles, and sadly over the ensuing two years I’m now having a problem running even 1 mile at a sub 7-minute pace.

 

Knowing there was no way to get close to the performance of two years ago, I went into the race this time with a goal of running under 1:40. Just a couple years ago I was averaging under 1:40, but last year (2015) in 16 half marathons I only managed to go under 1:40 on four occasions, with the best being 1:37:49 at The Scream! Half Marathon in July. Fortunately I didn’t have any major aches or pains and felt pretty good going into the race, 100% humidity I managed to come away with my best time of the year at 1:38:49.

 

The race begins at the Ridgecrest Conference Center, which is a Christian retreat just outside of Asheville. It’s a beautiful setting and most of the runners who are staying overnight stay in the accommodations offered by Ridgecrest. Hard to beat a quiet venue tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains where you just have to wake up on race morning and walk right out the door to the starting line.

 

With the mostly downhill course, pleasant setting, and time to visit with running friends, this has become one of my favorite racing events of the year.

Chillin' with friends at Ridgecrest on the night before the race.
Chillin’ with friends at Ridgecrest on the night before the race.

 

Race Number:  338

 

Race Name:  Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon

 

Location:  Black Mountain NC to Old Fort NC

 

Date:  June 4, 2016

 

Race Rating:  103

 

Winners:

2016-DAD-winners

 

Course: First 3.5 miles is out-and-back, mostly down going out and up coming back, all on paved roads in Black Mountain. Next 4 miles or so is downhill on a dirt road leading paved road at the bottom of the mountain. Remainder of the race (5-6 miles) is paved and fairly flat with some additional downhills leading into Old Fort. Definitely a fast course with much more downhill than uphill.

2016-DAD-map

 

Elevation:

2016-DAD-elevation

Weather at Start:  Clear, 63 degrees, 94% humidity.

 

Race Results:

 

 

Click Here for 1100+ FREE Race Photos on Flickr

Lots of great free photos on Flickr!
Lots of great free photos on Flickr!

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:38:49
  • Pace:  7:32
  • Age Group:  1 of  6
  • Overall:  32 of  462
  • Average Heart Rate:  164
  • Maximum Heart Race: 179
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:17:09 (75.68%)

 

***************
* 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
5 – 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)
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)
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

REST ROOMS
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

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
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:  103

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Race #331 – Kings Mountain Marathon and Half Marathon – Clover, SC – 04/23/16

2016-km-half-LOGOOver the past few years this has become one of my favorite races. It’s close to home so there are always plenty of friends in attendance, but it’s also well organized. It’s small, this year with less than 200 finishers combined in the half marathon (141) and full marathon (49), but it’s a great atmosphere with the course traversing along the roads of Kings Mountain State Park and into the Kings Mountain National Military Park. It’s one of the hilliest courses I’ve run, but I always come away with a sense of satisfaction after completing the tough course.

 

2016-km-half-sheri-giwelke
One of the highlights of this year’s race was meeting Sheri Gewelke in person. She’s a remarkable runner from Tennessee who happens to be a friend of my grandson Ryan. Last year she ran 115 miles in a 48-hour ultra. Even more notable is the fact that she has eight children and all of them are great runners as well. A couple of examples: Her 5-year-old daughter just broke the Tennessee state record for the mile with a time of 8:10, breaking the old record by 15 seconds! Also, her 9-year-old daughter was recently featured in Running Journal for being the youngest finisher of a half marathon.

 

This was the third time I’ve run this half marathon, and since the course has remained the same it provides a good benchmark for how my running is coming along. It’s no secret that I’m slowing down, but I wish my demise was a little more gradual. My modest goal this year was to run under 1:50:00, and as I approached the uphill finish I could see that the clock read 1:49:52. As hard as I tried to pick up the pace, I didn’t have much left, and I was just a little bummed that my official gun time was 1:50:01. I did feel a little better later when I saw that my chip time was actually 1:49:53, which landed me 2nd in the 60-64 age group by Stephen Price from Charlotte, who’s been kicking my butt on a pretty regular basis lately.

 

I’m hoping to be back next year and hopefully not too much slower, although I keep telling myself that the important thing is to just keep going.

 

Race Number: 331

 

Race Name:  Kings Mountain Marathon & Half Marathon

 

Location:  Kings Mountain State Park (Clover, South Carolina)

 

Date:  April 23, 2016

 

Race Rating:  92

 

Winners:

2016-km-half-top30-full
Full Marathon Top 30

 

Half Marathon Top 30
Half Marathon Top 30

 
Course:  Half marathon course is out-and-back with lots of hills and several miles of gravel road (that’s not too bad to run on). Plenty of shade helps.

 

Elevation:

2016-km-half-elevation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Weather at Start:  Sunny, 61 degrees, 82% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Website
My Stats:

 

2016-km-half-friends

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
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
0 – 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
5 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
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
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

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

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

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

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
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:   92

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Race #326 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, Tennessee – 04/03/16

2016-knoxville-half-STARTThis was my sixth year in a row at the Knoxville Half Marathon, and sadly, it will probably be the last time I’ll be running it. It’s a great race and I’ve come to enjoy it, but next year I’m already making plans to run the Cooper River Bridge Run 10k instead, which always falls on the same weekend.

 
As much as I like the Knoxville race, the only reason I’ve made it out there for six straight years is to run with my grandson Ryan, who’s now 28. We did what we called “The Annual Grandfather/Grandson Half Marathon Challenge” (or something like that) and every year it has given us a chance to do something together. We managed to string together five years of half marathons, which I think is quite an accomplishment, especially given the fact that I’m an old man and Ryan’s not a long distance runner. He’s a great athlete — All-State football player in high school, college baseball player, weightlifter, and bodybuilder — but being a long distance runner was never on his to-do list. Having Ryan run a half marathon every year was a little like having me enter a weightlifting contest, and I have the upper body strength of a third grade girl.

ryan-kennedy-2016
Although Ryan inherited my biceps, he’s been less enthusiastic about running long distances.

 

So we decided that we wouldn’t do the grandfather/grandson half marathon thing this year. Ryan said his doctor advised him that long distance running wouldn’t be good for some particular aches and pains he’s been having, and I found that out after I had already registered for the race and paid for a hotel room, so I figured since it was already paid for I may as well go.

 

This was the first year I stayed at the host hotel, the Holiday Inn where the expo was held and where the race started. In previous years we had stayed a few miles outside of Knoxville to save some bucks on the hotel, then drove into the city on race day. The convenience of staying in the hotel room until 15 minutes before the race and not having to stand in the porta-potty line more than made up for the extra cost. Kind of odd that it took me 326 races to figure that out.

 

One thing I like about this race is that they have a special “Senior Grand Masters” award that’s given to the fastest runner over 60 years old. I’ve been fortunate to win it for the past three years (2013, 2014, and 2015) so one reason I wanted to run this year was to see if I might be able to squeak out one more year before being overtaken. I’ve slowed down quite a bit over the past year so I didn’t have any big expectations, and I wasn’t surprised (although there was just a tinge of disappointment) when I didn’t win it this year. Instead it was won by 61-year-old Ernie Brooks, a great runner who works with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.

 

A great thing about the Senior Grand Masters award is that even if you don’t win it, if the person who does win is in your age group it bumps you up a spot, so I was happy to get bumped up to 1st place in the 60-64 age group.

 

2016-knoxville-half-60-64-results

 

Race Number:  326

 

Race Name:  Knoxville Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k

 

Location:  Knoxville, Tennessee

 

Date:  April 3, 2016

 

Race Rating:  118 (one of the highest ever… a lot of things done right! See detail below)

 

2016-knoxville-half-MAPCourse: Lots of rolling hills through city streets, neighborhoods, and along the greenway. There’s one humongous hill in the 7th mile that many runners seem to take pride in running the whole way without walking. I think I walked 3 times on that one.

 

Elevation:

2016-knoxville-half-elevation

 

Weather at Start:  39 degrees, 44% humidity, NE wind 3 mph, sunny.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Official Race Photos from SportPhoto

 

Click Here for FREE Race Photos on Flickr

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

 

  • Time:  1:45:50
  • Pace: 8:05
  • Age Group:  1 of 53
  • Overall:  193 of  2183
  • Average Heart Rate:  162
  • Maximum Heart Race: 171
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:23:19 (70.08%)

 

2016-knoxville-half-bobblehead

 

***************
* 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
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

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

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
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
6 – 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
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  118

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Race #324 – Tobacco Road Half Marathon – Cary, NC – 03/13/16

2016-tobacco-road-LOGOI’m cutting back on traveling for races this year, but this is a race I really enjoyed two years ago so I decided to go back along with some of my running friends from the Gaston County Runners. It’s a big race but not so big you’re completely lost, with 2262 finishers in the half and 974 in the full marathon this year.

 

The weather was unusually warm and humid (63 degrees and 94% humidity) at the start. That’s too hot and humid for most runners but I love it so no complaints from me on that. I like mostly everything about this race except for a couple of exceptions. Parking is a problem unless you pay $10 to park at the race site, which has a limited number of parking spaces. The first time I ran the race I parked at a site several miles away and took the bus to the race site, then had to take the bus back after the race. The buses were fine and everything went smoothly, but I paid the extra 10 bucks this year just for the convenience of having my car nearby.

 

The only other quibble I had was that the age group awards weren’t handed out at the awards ceremony. They only announced the overall winners, and told the age group winners to pick up their awards at a table on the side of the tent. It would have been nice to have all of the awards announced and let the age group winners by recognized, which is the way things are usually done. That wouldn’t have cost a cent extra, and while the vast majority of runners couldn’t care less, the age groupers take it a little personally.

 

Speaking of age groups, I managed to eek out a 2nd place finish in the 60-64 age group with a time of 1:44:30. These days I’m pretty happy just to finish under 1:50 so managing to get under 1:45 was even better, although I have to admit it’s harder for me now to run 1:45 than it was just two or three years ago to run 5 or 10 minutes faster. This was my 88th half marathon and I’m considering quitting half marathons altogether but would like to get to a total of 100, so I guess I’ll at least try to hit that goal over the next year or two, then back off to just running shorter races.

2016-tobacco-road-before-start-with-friends
With friends before the start of the race.

Race Number:  324

 

Race Name:  Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon

 

Location:  Cary, North Carolina (Raleigh area)

 

Date: March 13, 2016

 

Race Rating:  99

 

2016-tobacco-road-half-map

Course: Flatter than most although a few long gradual hills. It’s an out-and-back course with the first (and last) 2.5 miles on paved streets leading to the American Tobacco Trail (ATT), with the remainder of the race on the unpaved but smooth trail. The full marathon follows more of the ATT.

 

Weather at Start:  63 degrees, 94% humidity, partly cloudy.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Photos

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:44:30
  • Pace:  7:58
  • Age Group:  2 of  24
  • Overall:  194 of  2262
  • Average Heart Rate: 166
  • Maximum Heart Race: 177
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:22:16 (70.97%)

2016-tobacco-road-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
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
8 – 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
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
x – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
x – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

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

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
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
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no (*for $10)
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no (*for $10)
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no (*remote parking)
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no  (*remote parking)

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:  99

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Race #323 – Corporate Cup Half Marathon – Charlotte, NC – 03/05/16

2016-corporate-cup-LOGOWith more than 3,000 runners in the half marathon and 5k combined, this is one of Charlotte’s biggest races of the year. With both pre- and post-race activities held in the Wells Fargo Atrium, it provides some nice shelter if needed although this year it was almost warm enough to stay outside. There are quite a few rolling hills as is the case with all of the Charlotte half marathons, and people seem to love to hate the climb up Morehead in the 12th mile. It’s a long climb but not really that steep — just kind of a nuisance since you’ve been racing for about 12 miles when you hit it.

 

I was a little apprehensive about running a different half marathon only a week before the Tobacco Road Half, but fellow runner Steve Price told me at the recent Charlotte 10-Miler he could get me into this one for free, so I jumped at the chance to overdo it once again. This was my first half marathon since I crashed and burned in Florida on December 13th, and since that time my aches and pains have caused me to reduce my mileage. This was only my third race of 2016 but I’m feeling ready to get out and run again. I expected to be slower at the Corporate Cup this year so I wasn’t surprised to finish 6 minutes slower than last year’s time at 1:45:58. A couple years ago that would have been a disappointing time, but that was then and this is now and I’m slower, so I was happy just to finish in under 1:50:00. I would hope I might still be able to run a sub 1:40:00 half once or twice in the coming year but whether or not that happens I’d just like to appreciate the fact that I’m still running, even if it’s slower.

 

Race Number:  323

 

Race Name:  Corporate Cup Half Marathon and 5k

 

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Date:  March 5, 2016

 

Race Rating:  93

 

Winners:

2016-corporate-cup-winners
Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  483 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  470 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  616 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  802 feet

Weather at Start:  41 degrees, 61% humidity, wind 3 mph

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Photos from Carolina Snapshot
My Stats:

Time:  1:45:58
Pace:  8:06
Age Group:  3 of 9
Overall:  181 of  957
Average Heart Rate:  164
Maximum Heart Race: 174
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:23:25  (69.99%)

***************
* 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
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
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
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
3 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – 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
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:   93

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Race #314 – Tryon Half Marathon – Tryon, NC – 11/14/15

TRC_ShirtThis one went way beyond my expectations! The Town of Tryon, nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a beautiful area in general. I knew in advance that the course would be about three-fourths unpaved, which I generally dislike, but the crushed gravel was packed enough to not give me any problems and there were no big chunks of gravel where I might twist an ankle. I was a little slower than I’ve been in my last few races, but that’s probably more of a personal issue on my part. The course was surprisingly flat considering the mountainous terrain of the area. There were plenty of gradual ups and downs but I don’t remember any huge hills at all during the race.

 

Late registration was only half the price of Thunder Road ($60 on race day versus $120 at the expo for Thunder Road) so I didn’t expect much in the way of extras. Wow, was I surprised! In the more than 300 races that I’ve run I’ve never seen so much delicious post-race food! I think I counted six large banquet tables filled with everything you could possibly imagine for breakfast. The food was provided by a local church and I believe it’s something they do for this race every year. I would hope it continues, as the meal alone puts this race in a category all its own. In my rating system, on a scale of 1 to 10 I’m giving it a 15… yep, it was that good.

2015-tryon-HM-richard-food
This is just a small portion of the post-race breakfast. (Photo from the Tryon Running Club Facebook page)

The age group awards were hand made pottery from a local artist and were nice, and there were 5-year age groups, which is always good, but the age groups only going 2-deep was a little bit of a drawback.

 

I gotta admit, I kind of missed the hoopla surrounding Thunder Road since it’s one of the major racing events in North Carolina, but this was a great alternative, a different kind of racing experience but fantastic in its own right!

2015-tryon-HM-richard-course
Lots of beautiful fall scenery along the course. (Photo from Tryon Running Club Facebook page.)

Race Number:  314

Race Name:  Tryon Half Marathon

Location:  Tryon, North Carolina

Date:  November 14, 2015

Race Rating:  98

Winners:

  • M:  Ryan Courtnay (Age 28)(Canton, NC) – 1:18:13
  • F:  Jennifer Fisher (Age 35)(Columbus, NC) – 1:29:41

Course:  About 75% smooth crushed gravel and 25% pavement. No big hills but some long inclines on the out-and-back course. Surprisingly flat for a mountainous region.

Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  489 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  506 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  856 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  984 feet

Weather at Start:  46 degrees (felt like 41 degrees); wind NNW 13 mph; 31% humidity.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Age Group Awards Results

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:42:22
Pace:  7:48
Age Group:  1 of  12
Overall:  48 of  284
Average Heart Rate:  165
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:23 (71.74%)

2015-tryon-HM-richard-running-cropped
Thanks for this photo goes to Chad Lenox, who had already finished the race and was taking pictures by the time I approached the finish line.

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
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
5 – 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
5 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

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

AGE GROUPS
0 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
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
3 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
15 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average) (*15 = Through the roof!)
4 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

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

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

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

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

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

TOTAL: 98

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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%)

 

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

* 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
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 #312 – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – Myrtle Beach, SC – 10/18/15

2015-mb-mini-STARTThis race has become a highlight of my fall running season. Over the past few years it has been the favorite destination race for my running group, the Gaston County Runners, with its flat course and beautiful run along Ocean Boulevard for the last 5 miles of the race, ending with a run up the boardwalk with the finish line at the site of the old Pavilion.

 

It was a little colder this year but still pleasant enough for late October. I wore gloves, tights, and had my ears covered with 180s throughout the race with temperatures warming only from the low 40s to high 40s. That was comfortable for me but of course resulted in the usual jokes about me not being able to handle the cold (which is true).

 

At last week’s half marathon my time was 1:41:19, and my goal for this race was to go under 1:40:00, which has been a rare occurrence for me this year. I felt pretty good as I warmed up during the first few miles, and as much as I dislike colder weather it probably helps my running times and it was a pleasant surprise to see that I was averaging closer to 7:20 per mile as opposed to the 7:40 that I’ve been running in half marathons. I recently bought a new running watch — Garmin Forerunner 225 — and it’s been a big help. In the past I’ve only monitored my heart rate, giving no thought to my pace, but I set my main “racing screen” (for lack of a better term) up to show current heart rate in the middle, current mile pace on top, and overall pace on the bottom. That allows me to consider both my heart rate and pace at once. I’m sure that’s just common sense to most people but it took me a while to figure out it would help me.

 

Back in April my running friend Danny McBee passed away unexpectedly. This was one of Danny’s favorite races, so this year many of his family members came down to watch one of Danny’s nephews, Robert McBee, run in honor of Danny. Although Robert had been a runner when he was younger, it had been many years since the now 48-year-old had run a half marathon. I spoke to him the night before the race and he told me that when he began training a few months ago he just hoped to finish in under 2 hours. When training went well he revised his goal to sub 1:50, and shortly before the race he decided he’d shoot for a time under 1:40. He jokingly said he’d try to keep up with me. I was impressed with the sub 1:40 goal and told him that if that was the case I’d be pretty far behind him since I’ve had a hard time breaking 1:40 this year.

 

As the race progressed I could see Robert out ahead of me occasionally, and about 2 miles from the finish on Ocean Boulevard I realized that there was no one between him and me. I was gaining gradually but not enough to catch him without putting some extra effort into it. About 1.5 miles from the finish I was still probably 20-30 yards behind him so I turned it up a notch and soon caught him. We talked a little and he thanked me for pushing him although I doubted he really needed me. We talked some about Danny and how he’d be proud to see us running along together near the finish line. We didn’t really talk about finishing together but I think it was understood. We just settled into what was a comfortably fast pace for both of us and glided together through the last mile and a half, and as we crossed the finish line we held hands and raised them high in honor of Danny. It was one of those special race memories that will always be remembered. It was also faster than either of us expected, with him easily beating his goal of 1:40 and me finishing my fastest half marathon of the year.

2015-mb-mini-me-robert-wheel

 

2015-mb-mini-me-and-robert-boardwalk

As I’ve come to expect, this race was again one of my favorite races of the year, with the only downside being the lack of professional photography. In the past there have been photographers along the course, along the boardwalk, and at the finish line. Sadly, this year the professional race photographers who had been working the race pulled out, reportedly because not enough people bought photos. On the bright side, the race organizers did manage to provide 300 or so free photos on their Facebook page, which included a couple of me, so I’m happy, but with 4,000+ runners in the two races I’m sure there were some disappointed runners who ended up with no photos at all. Would love to see about 10 times the number of free photos next year that would include the great majority of runners. Some races are doing that now and it’s a great perk for runners as well as a good selling point for the race.

 

Race Number:  312

 

Race Name:  Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon

 

Location:  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

 

Date:  October 18, 2015

 

Race Rating:  97

2015-mb-mini-WINNER

Winners:

  • M:  Brett Morley (Age 23) (Greenville, SC) — 1:09:52
  • F:  Alyssa Bloomquist (Age 25)(Greenville, SC) — 1:18:16

2015-mb-mini-COURSE-MAP

Course:  The race begins at the Coastal Grand Mall, which provides plenty of parking. It continues up Grissom Parkway, then a short stretch on the greenway, with the last stretch of more than 5 miles down Ocean Boulevard and back up the boardwalk to the site of the old Myrtle Beach Pavilion, with the after-party a block away at Plyler Park. It’s one of my favorite courses in more than 300 races, and those last 5 miles are spectacular. The entire course is almost completely flat with the exception of a small ramp leading to the greenway entrance. One small drawback of the point-to-point course is that the finish line is several miles from the starting line, but free bus transportation is provided back to the starting line with buses leaving every few minutes.

2015-myrtle-beach-mini-erica-ildiko
My daughter-in-law Erica and her friend Ildiko did a great job in their first Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon.

Elevation:

  • Gain:  19 feet
  • Loss:  26 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  7 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  36 feet

Weather at Start:  46 degrees, 53% humidity, winds NNE at 10 mph (felt like 42 degrees)

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

Click Here for Free Photos on Facebook

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:36:44
Pace:  7:22
Age Group:  2 of  37
Overall:  72 of  2581
Average Heart Rate: 161
Maximum Heart Race: 169
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:16:04  (77.85%)

2015-myrtle-beach-mini-richard-award
I finished 2nd in the 60-64 age group.

***************
* 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
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
2 – 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)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
5 – 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:  97

 

2015-myrtle-beach-mini-grandkids
My grandkids turned the construction barriers into a jungle gym.
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Race #311 – Run Against Addiction Half Marathon – Spindale, NC – 10/10/15

2015-RAA-starting-lineThis race was a pleasant surprise for me. It was the nearest and most reasonably priced half marathon and some of my friends were running it so I thought I’d give it a shot, and I’m glad I did. It was small (71 finishers), which was partly due to the steady rain that fell before, during, and after the race. I’m sure that kept some folks home, but there were also a lot of other races vying for those runners who were willing to get wet. My biggest fear was that there wouldn’t be a timing company involved, so it was nice to see the Racing Toes tent set up at the finish line. They’ve done a good job with all the races I’ve run where they did the timing, and this one was no exception.

 

2015-RAA-pre-race
As dreary as it appeared before the race, lots of good support from the community, the volunteers, and the fire department made it a fun day at the races.

 

The rain wasn’t actually that bad during the race. Much of the course was along the local rail trail that was mostly unpaved but not a bad running surface at all, and there were no puddles to dodge even though the rain was fairly constant.

 

2015-RAA-newspaper
Justin Rollins and Jackie Golden led the race for the first several miles in Rutherford County’s first ever half marathon.

Despite the wet weather, the support was great, with plenty of volunteers along the well-marked course. There were also a bunch (maybe 10 or more) of vendor tents set up at the race venue who were giving out information and free stuff such as water bottles, frisbees, shopping bags, etc.

 

Post-race food was great, or at least what I had. I saw a tent set up with hot dogs and other stuff that looked good to me, but I was told at the finish line that the Italian restaurant across the street had free pizza for runners. I went over with a couple friends (Justin and Brandon) and they gave us each a huge piece of pizza and a free drink to go along with it. Pizza always tips the scale of happiness in a favorable direction for me, although the bathroom scale tends to suffer a little, but hey, I just ran 13 miles.

 

I finished 9th overall and got 3rd place in the Masters Division, which is all runners over 40, so I was really happy about that. At age 63 it’s rare for me to get a Masters award at all, especially since many races don’t have a Masters category and if they do they’re only 1-deep.

 

I hope they’ll continue to have this race and if they do I’ll look forward to running it in the future. I’m hoping for a sunny day next year!

 

2015-RAA-richard-and-justin
Me and Justin Rollins after the awards ceremony. Justin took 1st place in the 30-39 age group and finished 5th overall.

 

Race Number:  311

 

Race Name:  Run Against Addiction Half Marathon and Two Mile Run/Walk

 

Location:  Spindale, North Carolina

 

Date:  October 10, 2015

 

Race Rating:  90

 

Winners:

  • M:  Todd Jofreda (Age 39) — 1:21:54
  • F:  Sara Hartman (Age 35) — 1:44:36

 

Course:  Fairly flat course with no major hills although some steady inclines. Most of the race was on the rail trail, unpaved but a good running surface. Race begins and ends downtown and also includes some rural roads. Nice fall scenery!

 

Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  440 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  450 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  961 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  1108 feet

 

Weather at Start:  61 degrees, 100% humidity, steady light rain.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

Time:  1:41:19
Pace:  7:44
Age Group:  1 of  10
Overall:  9 of  71
Average Heart Rate:  160
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:41  (73:02%)

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

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

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

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
0 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 70+ group (1)
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)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
3 – 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)
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
2 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

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

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
5 – 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 — *(Rutherford County Race Series)
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  90

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