Race #301 — American 4-Miler — Charlotte, NC – 07/04/15

2015-american-4-miler-LOGOA nor’easter blew through Connecticut last Sunday, and the wind and rain persuaded me not to run the Fairfield Half Marathon that I had been looking forward to while visiting my daughter and her family in the area. A day later I ran an easy 10-mile training run to make up for the lost mileage and could barely walk afterwords. It crossed my mind that maybe in some cruel twist of fate my 300th race would be my last, but I woke up the next morning and was able to walk again without much pain, so life returned to normal.


Normal for me lately isn’t quite what it used to be when nothing hurt. Besides a hernia that’s plagued me for the past couple years, I now seem to have a hip problem. I’m avoiding the doctor for now, but my Google diagnosis seems to indicate a possible acetabular labral tear. That could be completely wrong since more testing would be needed to know for sure, but I think I’ll just keep running until it hurts too much to run. My pace is off about 20 seconds per mile from last year, which I can live with, and the pain is more annoying than debilitating, so I think I’ll just stay in denial for the time being and maybe it’ll go away.


2015-american-4-miler-Number-of-Runners-graphThe American 4-Miler is part of the Run for Your Life Grand Prix series races and is a fairly big event with more than 800 finishers. The name has changed since I last ran it two years ago (it was the July 4th Spectacular 4-Miler then) and I think the course is different, but my memory’s pretty much shot when it comes to remembering race courses, particularly in Charlotte.  As you can see in the graph above, there was a huge increase in the number of participants this year.


Just as in the King Tiger 5k a few weeks ago, the 60-64 age group was loaded with some fast people and I barely squeaked into the top 3 of the age group because Jerry Clark won 3rd Masters with his blazing fast time that was (as always) in the neighborhood of a state age group record. Bob Nelson and Dave Forrest (who placed 4th in the age group of the 2013 New York City Marathon) both ended up finishing about 50 seconds ahead of me, so I could see them both throughout most of the race but never could really make much progress on catching them.




The post race festivities were really nice and included a good band and lots of tents set up where you could get food, information, etc., but I mostly just hung out and talked to different friends who had run the race.


AmericanShirtsOh, and I gotta mention the shirt! It was a blue tech singlet with the race logo and after 301 races it goes down as one the greatest race shirts ever! It’s comfortable, fits perfectly, and in my opinion looks fantastic, so it’ll go into my rotation to wear every week until I ruin it, which hopefully will be a while. I actually considered changing into this shirt before the race, which is something I’ve never done, but it’s definitely race-worthy! My wife Linda couldn’t run the race because she’s in a boot due to a broken foot (ouch!) but she was registered so I picked up her shirt and she loves it too.


Race Number:  301


Race Name:  American 4-Miler (formerly the July 4th Spectacular 4-Miler)


Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina (Park Road/Dilworth area)


Date:  July 4, 2015


Race Rating:  103



  • M:  Bert Rodriguez (age 35) — 20:47
  • F:  Alice Rogers (age 37) — 23:16


Course:  A few ups and downs but no major hills. Elevation gain: 125 feet; Elevation loss 121 feet.


Weather at Start:  Overcast, 75 degrees, and 78% humidity.


Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos


I’m glad to see professional quality photos in the local races. These start at $13.95 for a single shot, so they’re kind of expensive although some race pics in big races are much pricier.


My Stats:

Time:  29:26
Pace:  7:22
Age Group:  4 of  16
Overall:  91 of  816
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  177
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  23:03  (73.1%)


Thanks to Margaret McDonald for catching a photo of me crossing the finish line.




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
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – 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
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – 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

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

5 – 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

5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

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
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (10 extra points for one of the best race shirts ever!)

TOTAL:  103




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