Race #402 – Spencer Mountain 10k/5k – Gastonia, NC – 11/04/17

This is one of the races I look forward to every fall, partly because of the near legendary hill you have to climb to the finish but also because it’s just up the road about 3 miles from my house. It’s actually in the town of Ranlo, which is just outside Gastonia.

The “Spencer Mountain 10-Miler” seemed to me to be one of the most iconic races around and I remember hearing about it long before I ever became a runner in 2008. During last year’s 10-miler there was an unfortunate accident where one of the runners was hit by a car and severely injured, which resulted in a decision to discontinue the 10-miler and replace it was a 10k instead that would go in the same direction as the 5k and would be much more manageable in terms of traffic control.

It’s too bad that this race is dwindling in popularity. This year there were only 40 finishers in the 10k and another 59 in the 5k, for a total of 99 runners. The first year I ran it back in 2009 there were a total of 287 finishers. There are too many races these days to choose from so a race needs to do something to stand out from the crowd and unfortunately this one seems like it’s on autopilot. Better post-race food, better awards, and a person with a camera who can produce some race photos would possibly give it a boost.

I ran the 10k and for me personally I liked the course. It was out-and-back for what used to be the last 5k of the 10-mile course, and even though it was the part with the most hills it was also the most scenic part of the race. The big hill is still part of the course, but at least you get to go down it on the way out so it kind of evens things out a little.

I was happy with my finishing time of 47:33, which was 7th overall, and managed to squeak by Andrew Cook so once again we are tied for second place in the Gaston County YMCA series with 582 points each. There are only two races left in the series, and while neither of us has a chance to catch speedy Jimmy Glover unless he happens not to show up (unlikely), it’ll be fun to see how things turn out between me and Andrew. He pointed out to me that the next race in the series is a much bigger race (about 1,200 runners) so it’s likely that we’ll have a larger gap between us then. He also told me he’s coming back a day early from his vacation in Arizona so he can be back in time for the race, so he’s serious! Unfortunately the trophies for 2nd and 3rd place are virtually the same (wish they’d change that) so all either of us will get for 2nd place will be bragging rights, but it’s fun to have that extra element of friendly competition.

Race Number:  402

Race Name:  Spencer Mountain 10k & 5k

Location:  Ranlo, North Carolina  (Just outside Gastonia)

Date:  November 4, 2017

Race Rating:  79

Winners (Top 20):


Course:  Out-and-back course on rural mountain road with lots of ups and downs. First and last mile of the course is flat.




Weather at Start:  Unseasonably warm, sunny, 64 degrees, 88% humidity (Probably the last warm race of the year!)


Click Here for Race Results



My Stats:

Time:  47:33
Pace:  7:40
Age Group:  1 of 2
Overall:  7 of 40
Average Heart Rate:  165
Maximum Heart Race:  172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:57 (72.31%)


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
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!
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!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – 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
0 – 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
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

4 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 – 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
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

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

0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
0 – 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

2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – 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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  79

Please like & share:

Leave a Reply