Race #180 – China Grove Main Street Challenge 5k – China Grove, NC – 06/08/12

I only run a handful of nighttime races each year and they’re normally not my favorites because I have a hard time with my diet during the day leading up to an evening race, but it’s hard not to like this Friday night extravaganza that features great entertainment, delicious food (pizza, watermelon, Cheerwine, etc.), fast runners, a flat course, and a small town that goes all out to create a first class event.

It’s the fourth time I’ve run the China Grove 5k and since it’s flat and the course hasn’t changed at all it provides a good benchmark for how I’m doing each year. Over those four years my times have varied by less than a minute, with a slowest time of 21:51 in 2009 to a fastest time of 20:57 in 2010. In last year’s race I was disappointed with my time of 21:44 and it sent me into a frenzy of dieting and deciding to run every day.

I’m happy to report that as of this race I managed to run the entire year without taking a day off and averaging a little over 5 miles a day during my running streak, and also that I lost 10 pounds with the diet. I’m not quite as happy to report that I gained all of the 10 pounds back over the Christmas holidays last year and as much as I would like to lose that extra weight I haven’t been able to, but I’m still trying. The 6 slices of pizza that I had after this race probably didn’t help.

I doubt that either the half-hearted dieting or the daily running really were of much benefit for anything other than just keeping me on track, but I did manage to chip away 20 seconds off last year’s time, finishing in 21:24. Interestingly, the first year I ran it I came in 4th place in the 55-59 age group. The top three finishers in the age group that year all finished within a second of each other, also at 21:24! It’s the only time I’ve ever seen three people at the top of an age group with identical times.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  21:24
Pace:   6:54
Age Group:  1 of  10
Overall:  66 of 565
Average Heart Rate:  162
Maximum Heart Race:  175
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:12

* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *

Note: With my new rating system (started in December 2011) 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. I generally like all of the races I run. If there’s something that really rubs me the wrong way I’ll mention it in the summary above.

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)
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

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

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

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 – 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!
1 – 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
1 – 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
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

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

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)
0 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
1 – 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:  71

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