Race #288 – Rail Trail 5k – Belmont, NC – 03/21/15

RT5K LogoIt was a relief after last week’s huge race with 20,000 strangers to come home to a nice small race with about a hundred runners. There’s something to be said for driving a few miles, getting out of the car, picking up your race number, warming up with friends, running a familiar course, and being back home before noon.


The Rail Trail 5k is somewhat of a misnomer. Just seeing the name of the race the first thought that comes to mind is that it’s a trail race. It’s actually all paved on the roads surrounding Belmont Abbey College.  I had planned to run a different race until I realized that this would be the first race in the Gaston Race Series. It’s a series of 12 local races and I’d like to stay close to home this year as much as possible so this should be fun since a lot of my friends will be running the races.


I always prefer race-day registration and this was the easiest registration ever. All they wanted was my name, age, and whether I was male or female. Quite a nice change from the overly complicated registration forms I usually see on Saturday mornings.

As with many of the local races, Matthew Gregory used his skills to provide professional quality photos of the runners. All of the photos are on his Flickr page (link below).


Since many of my running group’s training runs have been held at Belmont Abbey I was very familiar with the out-and-back course, which has just a couple of small hills and a couple of turns. I felt pretty good considering I spent most of the week limping around trying to recover from the half marathon on the previous Sunday. I finished 12th overall out of 95 finishers.

Award winners at the Rail Trail 5k. Photo by Matthew Gregory.


Next week is my third half marathon in four weeks. It’s the 5th annual Grandfather-Grandson race with my now 27-year-old grandson Ryan at the Knoxville Half Marathon!

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from Matthew Gregory (on Flickr)

My Stats:

Time:  21:10
Pace:  7:01 (course was short by about .08 mile)
Age Group:  1 of  4
Overall: 12 of  95
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  16:35  (77.82%)



3 – 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
0 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
0 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
5 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
0 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes  (short 0.1 mile)
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

5 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!  ($20 on race day!)
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)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
0 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 70+ group (1)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – 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

2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – 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

6 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
3 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

2 – 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
5 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!  (Really nice tech shirt!)
2 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

5* – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
5* – Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes (5)lots of free pics!
(* – Actually free professional quality photos… at least 1 each for most runners)

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
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes (Gaston Race Series)
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   79



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4 Replies to “Race #288 – Rail Trail 5k – Belmont, NC – 03/21/15”

  1. GOOD job. So you are passing on the run this Sunday? The Knoxville half sounds fun.
    I’m ready for my 50 miler tomorrow. 125 runners and only 2 older then me, a 73 year old man and 66 year old women. Weather starts out at 35 deg and 57 by afternoon with a tail wind coming back for the last 23 miles from 10-15 mph. Also a 100 miler with 75 runners but I’m not that crazy.

    1. Had to stop at mile 16 because of back spasms. Was ahead of my pace by 30 seconds a mile. At mile 13 started leaning to the right real bad. Susan thinks maybe favoring my right knee was the problem. Went on 3 more miles mainly walking thinking I could work it out. A couple from Wichita who were watching their daughter run knew I was in pain so they picked me up at crossroad 2 miles from next aid station and Susan. Once I got in their car I was disqualified. My first race I never finished.

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