The Bethel community just outside Waynesville provided the setting for the popular 2003 movie, “Cold Mountain,” and it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful area for a race in the autumn. This was the 17th year that the Bethel Half Marathon was held on the second Saturday in October. Unlike road races that are held in larger cities such as Asheville or Charlotte, this race depends on the support of the local non-running community to serve as volunteers, and they do an amazing job. As soon as we arrived at around 7:30, about an hour before the start of the race, just outside the door to the middle school gym there was already a table set up with a variety of homemade sweets such as brownies, hot coffee, and more. The race route was manned by not only the local residents but also by several different volunteer fire departments and EMT services as well as six motorcyclists who traveled back and forth along the course looking for anybody who needed assistance. At the end of the race there was the famous potato soup that I had heard about (very good!) as well as tomato bisque and bean soup as well as some of the regular food and drinks you usually see at races.
The race awards were ceramic pottery-type thingies (I got a napkin holder for 2nd place age group). The awards were fine and fit in with the down-home atmosphere of the race. Holding the awards ceremony in the school gym is great. The weather was beautiful on this particular day but it’s nice to be able to go inside if you need to.
One huge faux pas that really needs to be changed is that the overall male and female race winners were announced AFTER everybody else. By then, as is usual with road races, only a handful of people were there and even those two winners had left. There’s a good reason that in every race I’ve been to (that I can remember) the overall winners are announced FIRST, so they can be recognized for their accomplishment.
I ran the half marathon and Linda ran the 5k. In all there were about 300 finishers, with 227 in the half marathon and the remainder in the 5k.
I was a little disappointed in my time of 1:41:07, but it was exactly 2 minutes faster than my recent Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon time so maybe it wasn’t too bad. Honestly though, there weren’t nearly as many hills in this one and I hoped to be under 1:40. I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not in a previous post, but Linda said to me recently that my time has generally gotten slower since I began heart rate monitor training about six months ago. It’s true I know, and over the next few months I’ll decide if I should abandon the heart training or maybe just change something else in my training.
This was my long run of the week. Next weekend I’ve got one last 20-mile training run scheduled, then another half marathon the following week as I begin my taper leading up the the New York City Marathon on November 7th.
6 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
6 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
4 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No) (Asheville Grand Prix)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups) (although 5k was 10 years)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
4 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities (indoor but no porta potties)
TOTAL – 90
Age Group: 2 of 12
Overall: 41 of 227