Race #275 – Jack O Lantern Jaunt – Concord, NC – 10/25/14

With lots of longer races on the schedule for this fall I decided to take this particular weekend to run a couple of 5k’s — one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Since I tend to be fairly miserable anytime the temperature dips below 60 degrees, the 5:30 p.m. starting time of the Jack O Lantern Jaunt worked out perfectly for me on this mild autumn day. It’s a nice small race held on the grounds Frank Liske Park in Concord, a beautiful 238-acre park that was once part of the working farm of Stonewall Jackson Training School, a boys reformatory built in the early 1900s. It’s the first time I’ve run a race here and it’s a special place for me because I was a member of that group of incorrigible boys who called Jackson Training School home for at least part of my youth. While The Beatles were producing their greatest music, Elvis was marrying Priscilla, and tens of thousands of people marched on Washington to protest the Vietnam war, I spent the greater part of 1967 learning how to behave myself in the confines of this now legendary reform school. For many of the inmates it was just a stepping stone to bigger and better things such as a permanent life of crime, but for me it was a valuable learning experience. I stumbled plenty for a couple of years afterwards, but ultimately settled down and decided to be a productive citizen. When sharing about my juvenile delinquent past, I’m always reminded of this quote attributed to Dr. Phil: “Instead of being ashamed of what you’ve been through, be proud of what you have overcome.”

Oh yeah, the race… The 5k followed the perimeter trail around the park, and about 90% of it was unpaved. I’m strictly a road runner so “unpaved” is not a word I’m fond of, but it was fine except in a couple of short areas where it seemed like there was a lot of sand and it was a little hard to get a grip with my running shoes. In the first half mile of the race I could count all of the runners ahead of me and I was in 10th place. Little by little I gained momentum and some up ahead drifted back, and I finally worked my way up to a 5th place finish.

Stan and Jinnie Austin and their son Noah did some house cleaning at the awards. Stan won as 1st Male Overall,
Jinnie was 1st Female Overall, and Noah won a Best Costume award. For the record, Stan didn’t wear the mask while
he was running, Jinnie wore her cat nose for at least part of the race, and Noah converted his gnome beard to chest hair.
This was my wife Linda’s first race since she contracted Bell’s Palsy on August 20th. She did great and won
1st Place Grand Masters Female (ages 50 and over) and I won 1st Place Masters Male (ages 40 and over).
Those are special awards for us since we’re both 62
(it’s not always easy to finish ahead of people who are 10 or 20 years younger).

My Stats:
Time:  20:56
Pace:  6:44
Age Group: 1 of  1 
Overall:  5 of  76 (6.6%)
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  16:32 (77.99%)
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
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
6 – Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no
5 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes
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)
0 – 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
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
0 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
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
2 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!
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
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:  78
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