The bone-chilling weather didn’t keep the crowd away from the Charlotte 10-Miler and 4-Mile Run this year. In only its fourth year (the first year was timed by Queen City Timing), this race has become one of Charlotte’s premier foot races, thanks in part to the unusual but challenging 10-mile distance, which is a nice step up from 5k or 10k for someone who’s training for a half marathon or full marathon. The rest of the credit for making this a top notch race goes to Start2Finish Event Management, an innovative full service race management company that seems to do everything right. I’ve run a few of the races they’ve managed since they arrived in Charlotte (headquarters is in Memphis) and every one has been special in some way. Local race directors would do well to adopt some of the S2F methods!
Other than the cold weather I can’t think of anything bad to say about this race, so here are a few of the highlights:
- Best shirt ever! A tech hoodie with a beautiful design… It’s in the rare category of a race shirt that I’ll actually wear, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be my favorite!
- Instant results printout. This is something they do at all S2F races, and it’s a great improvement over waiting for a printout to be posted, or even worse, not knowing the results until the awards ceremony.
- Finish line video! It’s easy to find your finish since the clock is displayed on screen (mine wasn’t great but still I appreciate it).
- Pancakes, sausage, and hot coffee provided by Big View Diner! They really couldn’t keep the pancakes and sausage hot (although they tried), but the coffee was steaming and there was plenty of it even after the race (I filled up my cup before leaving).
- Fantastic medal! Great finishers medal for everyone who ran the 10-Miler.
- Race-day registration. I signed up on race day, which I always prefer. Yes, it’s a little more expensive but if I’m not able to make it to a race (or don’t want to go) then I’m not out of anything. A lot of races this size don’t have race-day registration.
- Drawing for Hoka shoes. I think they gave away two pairs of Hoka shoes (retail $150) in a drawing. I didn’t actually catch the drawing on this day but somebody else told me that saw it.
- TapSnap Photo Booth… Yep, free professional photos after the race provided by TapSnap!
- Nice age group awards! I won an insulated travel mug that works well and a pair of Balega socks. While a nice trophy is always appreciated, these days the practicality of something usable works out better for me.
- Downloadable finisher certificate.
- Five-year age groups for both races.
The 4-Miler started promptly at 7:30 a.m., followed about 10 minutes later by the 10-Miler. Last year I ran the 4-mile race and was thinking I’d do the same this year, but after missing several recent races because of cold weather and having some cold half marathons coming up soon (most notably the New York City Half on March 15th) I figured I should run the 10-Miler just to get back into the habit of racing longer distances and braving the cold (I usually opt for the treadmill when it’s cold). The course was predominantly run on Charlotte’s greenway system, and following last week’s ice storm I was a little concerned that there would be ice on some of the wooden walkways that go across the water. It turned out that ice wasn’t a problem at all except for a stray slick patch every once in a while. There was also a stretch of a mile or so that wasn’t paved, but it wasn’t muddy at all due to the freezing temperatures.
As usual, I was more concerned with the guys closer to my age than the young speedsters up front, and most of the Charlotte area old fast guys were present, most notably Butch Holt, Bob Nelson, and Randy Mendat. When the dust settled, Bob and I finished 1st and 2nd in the 60-64 age group and Butch and Randy finished 1st and 2nd in the 65-69 age group, with finishing times all within 2 minutes of each other.
Age Group: 1 of 5
Overall: 73 of 700 (there were also 160 in the 4-Mile race)
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 59:01 (75.2%)
* RACE RATING *
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
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
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no
0 – 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)
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
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
6 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals (for 10-miler)
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
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes
x – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
5 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes (5)lots of free pics! (Free TapSnap photos!)
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
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
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)