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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Race #350 – Run for Green Half Marathon – Davidson, NC – 09/17/16

run-for-greenThe Run for Green Half Marathon marks the unofficial start of the half marathon fall season locally. It’s the first half marathon of a half dozen or so that I’m planning on running before the end of the year, and I was a little apprehensive going into the race owing to the fact that I haven’t run a “normal” half marathon since Kings Mountain in April. Of course there was Downhill at Dawn and The Scream over the summer, but those are both fast races with much more downhill assistance than you normally get in a race.

 

This one is known for being fairly hilly, especially the big hill in the 12th mile, which always gives me fits. Gone are the days when I consider anything over 1:40:00 a disappointment in a half marathon, and I thought that if I could just stay under 1:50:00 in this race it wouldn’t be bad. Best case scenario that I could imagine would be to break 1:45:00, so when I finished in 1:44:23 I was more than satisfied with the result.

 

Just before the race I spotted 71-year-old Wade Clark from Pittsboro NC, who I had never met but I’ve heard his name mentioned many times as being a great runner and is still running great times in his 70s. We started off the race side-by-side, then I pulled ahead of him in the first mile, thinking that I would most likely be seeing him again before the end of the race. I took a look back about 11 miles into the race, and sure enough, there he was maybe 100 yards behind me. I knew he was an old school runner who didn’t believe in walking, and of course I walk every time I hit a rough patch (or a hill) so things didn’t look good for me to stay ahead of him. Long story short though, I barely managed to stay ahead of him to the finish line, which was somewhat of a miracle given the number of times I walked in the last two miles. Of course, we’re not in the same age group so it didn’t really matter, but being older guys and competitors we both want to do our best, especially against other old guys. Oh, and I checked the state age group records afterwards and his time beat the state record for the 70-74 age group by more than a minute!

 

Race Number:  350

 

Race Name:  Run for Green Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k

 

Location:  Davidson, North Carolina

 

Date:  September 17, 2016

 

Race Rating:  103

 

Winners:

2016-run-for-green-winners-half-marathon

 

2016-run-for-green-winners-10k

 

2016-run-for-green-winners-5k

 

Course:  Beautiful course on the greenways and through upper class neighborhoods of Davidson. Some tough hills, especially in the 12th mile.

 

Elevation:

2016-run-for-green-elevation

 

Weather at Start:  Partly cloudy, 66 degrees, 100% humidity.

 

Click Here for Complete Race Results

 

2016-run-for-green-richard-finish-watermarked
Professional photos are available… but expensive.

Click Here for Race Photos from Marathon-Photos.com

 

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:44:23
  • Pace:  7:59
  • Age Group:  1 of 8
  • Overall:  49 of 221
  • Average Heart Rate:  160
  • Maximum Heart Race:  170
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:22:10  (71.05%)

 

***************
* 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
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: (0-9)
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)
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:  103

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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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