Race #315 – Santa Scramble 5k – Concord, NC – 11/21/15

2015-santa-scramble-courseThis was my 7th running of the Santa Scramble — the most of any race I’ve done — so I must like it.

What’s great:

  • The Course:  It’s the fastest 5k race I know of. You park at the finish line then take a bus to the starting line. From there it’s virtually flat or downhill the entire way. There’s a little bit of climb that’s hardly noticeable but the huge downhill in the third mile makes up for it.
  • The Crowd:  It’s the first entry of the Concord Christmas parade, so for the first 2 miles there is a huge crowd of spectators along the way, probably 20,000+ or so this year!
  • The Cost:  It’s just 20 bucks if you register on race day, and even cheaper if you register earlier online. If you want a shirt it’s an additional $7, but I like having the option and already have enough shirts.
  • Awards/Age Groups:  There are 3-deep 5-year age groups in addition to Masters and Grand Masters. The overall plaques are nice and the medals for age groups are okay but a step down from the cool Santa trophies they used to give.


What’s not so great:

  • The Food:  Don’t come to this race expecting a feast afterwards. I got half a banana and somebody said they saw apples (I didn’t see them). They had some Gatorade but seemed to run out in about 5 minutes and starting handing out cups of water from a cooler that I hope they filled up inside the building.
  • No Water Stops:  I don’t stop for water during a 5k race but some people do, and I heard several complaints about it when there were no water stops along the course.
  • The Logistics:  Parking at the finish and riding a bus to the starting line can be a problem. Fortunately the weather was nice this year so it was fine but if it’s cold or rainy it’s an issue. Since the race is part of the parade the race director has to get the go-ahead from the parade organizers and sometimes the race is delayed for a while. It started pretty much on time this year though.
  • Race Photos:  There aren’t any unless you’ve got a friend with a camera who’s at the race.
  • No Race Website:  Hard to get good info about the race. There used to be a website but it disappeared.

Race Number:  315

Race Name:  Santa Scramble 5k

Location:  Concord, North Carolina

Date:  November 21, 2015

Race Rating:


  • M:  Jonathan Thacker (Age 37, Bakersville NC) – 16:31
  • F:  Meaghan McCauley (Age 23, Concord NC) – 19:17

Course:  One of the best! Just a slight upward tilt in the first mile as the course runs straight through downtown Concord along the Christmas parade route lined with people. Much of the same along the second mile but a little more downward incline. The third mile has a nice long downhill of around four-tenths of a mile just before a slight uphill finish for the last tenth of a mile.


  • Elevation Gain:  129 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  211 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  568 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  771 feet

Weather at Start:  Sunny; 57 degrees; ENE winds 4 mph; feels like 57 degrees

Click Here for Race Results


My Stats:

Time:  20:50
Pace:  6:34
Age Group:  2 of  9
Overall:  27 of  385
Average Heart Rate:  162
Maximum Heart Race:  172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  16:32  (78.56%)

Always plenty of running friends at the Santa Scramble, including Ralph Shore, the REAL Santa Claus!


3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
0 – 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
0 – 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
1 – 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 online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Easy to find results: (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
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

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
3 – Design: (1-5)
1 – Material Quality: (1-3)
2 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

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

0 – 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  (*after race)
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
10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (*extra points for 20,000+ spectators!)

TOTAL:  86

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One Reply to “Race #315 – Santa Scramble 5k – Concord, NC – 11/21/15”

  1. GOOD job!! I need to find a downhill race. The wife and I are running a 5k similar to that Saturday night in Topeka. it leads off the Christmas Parade at 5pm. The route takes us by the State Capitol .
    You and the Misses have a HAPPY Thanksgiving!!
    GOD Bless!!

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