Race #159 – Freedom Park New Year’s Ultra Run Half Marathon – Morganton, NC – 01/31/11

I didn’t really have any big plans for a race on New Year’s weekend, but on Thursday night when Stan Austin mentioned on Facebook that the ultra run in Morganton was adding a marathon and half marathon option at the last minute, I jumped at the chance to get one final half marathon in for the year. If you’re scoring at home, you may remember that I had intended to run a half marathon every month in 2011. It didn’t quite work out because I got sidetracked in November, but I managed to run a couple during two months and with this one on the last day of the year I ended up with 13 for 2011. I’ll keep trying to run 10 or 12 half marathons a year as long as I can. Right now it’s my favorite distance since it provides plenty of challenge while not requiring any extra training.

Since the marathon and half marathon were just added in the final week with no advertising at all, they were both tiny races, with only 6 runners in the marathon and 12 in the half marathon. Still, running simultaneously on the 1-mile walking track around Freedom Park along with the 24-hour ultra race there were plenty of runners on the track. In order for all the races to end at the same finish line the half marathoners lined up at a mark probably a third of a mile or so from the finish line and the marathoners were maybe a third of a mile in back of us. We all started promptly at 10 a.m., exactly two hours after the ultra began. I took the lead in the half marathon and was ahead for about 6 miles, but all the while there were two girls following me carrying on what seemed to be a leisurely conversation and I knew it was just a matter of time before they nonchalantly pranced around me. As they passed I managed to gasp out a few words: “What kind of time are you shooting for… 1:30?” I asked. Without missing a beat and hardly breathing, one of the girls just said, “-ish” and they were on there way. I watched them fade off into the distance little by little until the last lap when they were probably a half mile ahead of me.

I did finish third overall in the half marathon and was the first male finisher so that was nice, but it was such a small race it’s hard to revel in the accomplishment of being “1st overall male” so I’ll try to restrain myself.

As I write this the results aren’t available yet. My guess is that David Lee of Lee Timing is probably sleeping all day after being up for the 24-hour race and half the night before it started just getting everything ready. Once the results are available they can be found at the link below.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Website

* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *

RACE COURSE  (20 possible points)
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
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  (6 possible points)
3 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
0 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
0 – 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)
1 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
1 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
0 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
0 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS  (8 possible points)
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
2 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

PARKING  (8 possible points)
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
0 – No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  57*

* With my new rating system there’s not a chance of any race scoring near 100. If it’s important to you, look at each individual category to see how points were earned (or not). Just trying to be more objective with the details.
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