Monday, April 14, 2014

Race #250 - RaceFest Half Marathon - Charlotte, NC - 04/12/14

A milestone race for me -- race number 250! When I ran my first 5k back in September of 2008 I really didn't have any intention of making it a habit. It was just something I wanted to try to do. Clearly things have gotten out of hand, but I'm happy and in better physical shape at age 62 than at any other time in my life. This was my fifth half marathon in the past six weeks and was the fastest of those five (1:36:41). Won my age group in all five of those half marathons!

Pros:
  • One of Charlotte's biggest racing events of the year with more than 2,000 finishers (1305 in the half marathon and 767 in the 10k).
  • SouthPark Mall setting is great, providing free nearby parking for thousands of cars.
  • Very nice course through mostly upscale South Charlotte neighborhoods.
  • One of the nicest T-shirts of any race.
  • Great age groups awards -- New Balance Apparel -- always something I look forward to in this race!
  • Good crowd support for a local race and one of the best finish lines, with plenty of cheering supporters.
  • This was my son Dave's first 10k! Little by little the whole family is starting to appreciate the value of running, and that makes the old man happy and proud!

Cons:
  • Hills -- I guess there's no way around them in this area, but there are a lot of them in this race, especially the 7th mile on Sharon View Road.
  • They do have a single Masters award for both male and female categories, but it would be great to see Masters 3-deep. Of course I'd also like to see awards for Grand Masters (50-59), Senior Grand Masters (60-69), and Veterans (70+). Even 1-deep would be great. It's done in many other places; why not Charlotte?
  • Can't think of anything else bad to say... It's a great race!

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos from Carolina Snapshot

Aerial view just after the start of the race.

My Stats:

Time:  1:36:41 (chip time)
Pace:  7:23
Age Group: 1 of  12
Overall:  69 of  1305  (5.3%)
Average Heart Rate:  163*
Maximum Heart Race:  177
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:16:45  (77.15%)

* Over the past couple of races my average heart rate seems to have stabilized back down to the level it used to be before the prescription medication I've been taking (and still take) had raised it up by 5 or 10 beats per minute. I hope it stays down but I guess I'll just have to see over time.



Plenty of supporters lined the road to the finish line.


***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
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

Beautiful custom medals for
both the 10k and half marathon!
AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - 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

POST RACE
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

REST ROOMS
1 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - 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

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
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

WEBSITE
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
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


TOTAL:  104

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Race #249 - Come See Me Half Marathon - Rock Hill, SC - 04/05/14

Pros:

  • One of South Carolina's oldest races (37 years), but first year as a half marathon.
  • Small race (134 finishers in half marathon and 245 finishers in the 5k) was a nice departure from the huge races I've been running lately.
  • Fewer runners allow more people to place in their age groups. Not a surprise, but it's nice when you can take home an age group award in a half marathon.
  • Nice finish on the South Pointe High School track.
  • Timing handled by Queen City Timing, who always does a great job and posts quick results.


Cons:

  • Got chased by a dog in the middle of the race while running out in the country! Not the fault of the race directors, of course, but next time I'll be carrying pepper spray.


Additional Notes:

  • I didn't register for the race until I got there, and just as I was getting ready to register I was approached by running friend Henry McMaster, who kindly offered to transfer his bib to me because he wasn't able to run. Race day registration was $65 (actually pretty cheap for a half marathon) but it sure was nice to get in free, especially since I haven't worked in a year and a half! A big thanks to Henry, who wouldn't even let me pay him half price for it and say to just pay it forward! I will!
  • I hardly ever overdress (for me) but I did for this one. Usually with temperatures in the 50s I'm comfortable wearing Under Armour Cold Gear, but with the sun beating down on me at 6 miles I left my warm shirt at the water stop, hoping to get it back at the end of the race. I was elated to get it back after the race when somebody sent it to the finish line.
  • Heart rate average down to a more normal 165 in this race.
  • Had a great time at the after-race breakfast at Anna J's Restaurant in Rock Hill with some of our running friends.


Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Free Photos on Come See Me Facebook Page (68 photos mostly of 5k finish & 5k awards)

My wife Linda got 1st place in  the 60-64 age group in the 5k!
My Stats:

Time:  1:39:02
Pace:  7:33
Age Group: 1 of  2
Overall:  11 of  134
Average Heart Rate: 165
Maximum Heart Race:  176
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:18:37  (75.32%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
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)
0 - 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

AWARDS
5 - 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!
3 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals



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

REST ROOMS
0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - 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

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
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

WEBSITE
0 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
x - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
0 - 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
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes


TOTAL:  88




Friday, April 4, 2014

Race #248 - Knoxville Half Marathon - Knoxville, TN - 03/30/14

Pros:


  • Almost 10,000 runners competed in the three races (full marathon, half marathon, and 5k)
  • It was the 4th annual Grandfather-Grandson Knoxville Half Marathon for me and my now 26-year-old grandson Ryan.
  • Great finish on the 50-yard-line of Neyland Stadium, home of the Tennessee Volunteers.
  • Very good expo at the Convention Center adjoining the World's Fair Park.
  • Spectacular start with band playing Rocky Top and a large crowd cheering runners.
  • 24 bands and musical acts playing along the course.
  • Nice course along the Tennessee River, through upscale neighborhoods, and along the Knoxville greenway.
  • Lots of good post-race food including pizza and chocolate milk. I wish the pizza could have been kept warmer on this cold day, but cold pizza is better than no pizza.
  • Beautiful finisher medal with a rotating Sunsphere.


Cons:


  • No race-day packet pickup.
  • You can park close to the start OR close to the finish, but not both. It's not a huge distance if you're familiar with the area, but good luck if you don't know where you are.
  • For the first two years we ran this race the post-race activities were held in the nearby basketball arena. This year and last year it remained in the football stadium. That would be fine if the weather was warm, but with temperature only about 40 degrees after the race I was ready to get out of there. 
  • Race results not posted after the race. I won the Senior Grand Masters but didn't find out until I got home that night since I was unable to get a late checkout at our hotel.

Click Here for Half Marathon Results

Click Here for Full Marathon Results

Click Here for 5k Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos from SportPhoto

My Stats:

Time:  1:40:33 (chip)
Pace:  7:41
Age Group:  1 of  46
Overall:  143 of  2488 (5.7%)
Average Heart Rate:  164
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:50 (74.18%)

With my grandson Ryan Kennedy after the race.
It was the fourth year of our annual Grandfather-Grandson half marathon!

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
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)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
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
3 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
5 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
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!
5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

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

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
1 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - 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

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
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
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes


TOTAL:  109

It's a fantastic finish on the 50-yard line of Neyland Stadium.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Race #247- Charlotte 10-Miler & 4-Mile Run - Charlotte, NC - 03/23/14


Pros:
  • Loved the race! This is one I'd like to do every year but of course that depends on what else is happening since it's such an active time of the year for races.
  • Sunday morning race! This was originally scheduled for a Saturday but due to bad weather was rescheduled on a Sunday. I'd like to see more Sunday races so keeping it scheduled for Sunday in the future would be great.
  • Pancakes, sausage, and hot coffee for breakfast awaited runners at the end of the race! I've never seen so many pancakes in my life. It wasn't easy to keep the pancakes and sausage warm but it tasted great to me.
  • Pleasant course mostly on the paved greenway. Mostly flat except for the killer hill in the 3rd mile of the 4-mile race.
  • In addition to professional photos by Carolina Snapshot there was a TapSnap photo booth that allowed runners to get a free professional photo that was printed right on the spot. First time I've ever seen it, but it was wildly popular. I didn't take the time to stand in the long line but next time around I think I will. The photos I've seen from it were great (I'm including one example below).
  • No waiting for results. As soon as you finished the race you could walk over to the timing tent and get a printout of your results and know whether or not you placed in your age group.
Cons:
  • I can't think of anything that I didn't like about this race! Maybe somebody else will leave a comment about something that rubbed them the wrong way, but for me it was all good.
Additional Comments:
  • I ran the shorter option (4-Mile Run) on this race, which was only a part of the complete Charlotte 10-Miler course, so I can't speak for the longer race except for pre- and post-race activities.
  • There were many more runners in the 10-Miler (332 finishers for the 10-Miler and only 89 finishers in the 4-Mile Run).

Click Here for Race Results

As you can see from my time in the 3rd mile,
I thought the hill would never end.

Nice finish line in the shopping center parking lot.


All-you-can-eat pancake breakfast right after the race!


Yup... I parked right next to the finish line!


It pays to show up whether you run or not! Jane got the starting time mixed up and arrived too late to run.
No problem... The sensor picked up her bib and gave her a finishing time. She was the only one in her age group
so she got 1st place. Oh, and she also won a pair of Hoka running shoes in the drawing!


Some of my running friends from Shelby. They're perfect models for this example of the TapSnap photo booth,
which provided free photos and a printout as soon as the photos were taken.


My daughter-in-law Erica had a great run in the 10-Miler as she trains for her first half marathon next month!


The pancake breakfast was a big hit with my grandkids and their friend Cassidy, whose mother also ran the 10-Miler.
Pay no attention to the fact the Marley's shoes are on the wrong feet... she likes it that way.


My Stats for the 4-Mile Run:

Time:  28:11
Pace:  7:02
Age Group:  1 of  2
Overall:  7 of  89
Average Heart Rate: 171
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  22:16  (75.66%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
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
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
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

AWARDS
2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
7 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
3 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals (*10-Miler only)

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

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - 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

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
5 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics! (*TapSnap)

PARKING
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

WEBSITE
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
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


TOTAL:  108


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Race #246 - Kelly Guffey Race to Remember 5k - Dallas, NC - 03/22/14

Pros:


  • Well organized small-town race.
  • Close to home (for me anyway)!
  • Cheap -- $20 race-day registration.
  • Race packet contained some pretty good stuff (candy, crackers, lip balm, etc.)
  • Good on-course volunteer support; all turns marked very well with volunteers at all of them.
  • Timing by Queen City Timing (they always do a good job).


Cons:


  • Advertised 3-deep age group awards; only gave 1-deep awards. 


Additional Comments:

This was the first time I've run this race since 2009 (five years ago). That year I ran it in 23:28, which is equivalent to an age-graded time of 19:22 and age-graded score of 66.6%. This year my time of 21:39 is equivalent to an age-graded time of 17:06 and age-graded score of 75.4%. Definitely faster at 62 than I was at 57!

Some of the Gaston County Runners who ran the race.


Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  21:39
Pace:  6:53
Age Group:  1 of  3
Overall:  10 of  101
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:06 (75.4%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
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
1 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1) okay  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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

REGISTRATION
5 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
0 - 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
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

The brochure stated that awards would be
given to the top 3 finishers in each age group,
but awards were actually given only to the
1st place runner in each age group.
AWARDS
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

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

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

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

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
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

WEBSITE
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
0 - 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
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes


TOTAL:  68



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Race #245 - Tobacco Road Half Marathon - Raleigh, NC - 03/16/14

Pros:

  • Well organized. Excellent communication before the race so there were no surprises.
  • Buses to race site were great. Basically no waiting and no lines. Fill a bus up and go!
  • 200' x 60' tent erected the day before the race "just in case it rains." (It was spectacular!)
  • Great food (pizza, hot soup, chocolate milk, lots more).
  • Mostly flat but there were a few inclines.
  • Lots of "Free Race Pics" in addition to professional photography from Capstone Photo.
  • Plenty of volunteers who did a good job with everything I could see.
  • Great finisher medals for both the marathon and half marathon.
  • Lots of porta potties (No long lines).
  • In addition to the technical fabric T-shirt, all runners received a free pair of calf sleeves.

Cons:

  • Parking. There were 900 parking spaces on site that sold out for $10 each. Definitely worth it so you could have your car there, but as mentioned above, the buses were handled beautifully both before and after the race.
  • No corrals at start (with thousands of runners it would be a good idea).
  • It's not a trail race, but a good portion of the race is on an unpaved (but smooth) trail. It was dry and no problem at all, but might have been a mess in wet weather.
  • No Grand Masters or Senior Grand Masters awards (would be nice in a big race)

I started out with friends Dianne and Birgitt, who both won age group awards.
We were way back in the pack at the beginning of the race and it was too crowded to
get closer to the starting line. Of course we took time to pose for a photo. 


Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  1:38:06 (chip time)
Pace:  7:29
Age Group:  1 of  28
Overall:  143 of  2351 (6.1%)
Average Heart Rate:  170
Maximum Heart Race:  191 (probably not right... I think I got a bad reading)
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:17:53 (76.03%)

This is a photo from "Free Race Pics" at 3 miles into the race.


***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
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

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent ($17,000 total prize money)
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - 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

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

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - 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

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
5 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
0 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no  (900 paid spaces filled quickly at $10)
0 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no  (Off site)

WEBSITE
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
5 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent (Calf sleeves for everybody)
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes


TOTAL:  112

All age group award winners received a really nice athletic bag embroidered with the Tobacco Road Marathon logo.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Race #244 - Corporate Cup Half Marathon - Charlotte, NC - 03/08/14

It was nice to get back to my favorite racing distance after not having run a half marathon since the one in Hawaii back on November 17th. I had run the Corporate Cup half five years ago, back in 2009, when I had been running less than a year and it was only my second half marathon. I don't remember exactly why, but it seems like every year since then I've had my focus on a different race and just haven't been back.

Like the Belk Bowl 5k back in December, the staging area for both the pre- and post-race activities was the Wells Fargo Atrium, which is hard to beat on a cold winter day. There's also free parking in the two Wells Fargo parking decks if you show your race bib as you leave, and since the parking decks are connected to the atrium it's not necessary to be outside at all except for the race itself. I'm sure a lot of runners prefer the great outdoors, but as an unabashed cold-weather hater I prefer the toasty confines of a heated area.

I've run a lot of races in Charlotte but I generally don't remember the routes especially well since I'm not very familiar with the Charlotte streets. One thing I hear a lot when people talk about some of the Charlotte races is the uphill run on East Morehead.Street. Although I'm sure I had run it previously, I really couldn't remember what it was like. I was about to find out because in this race it's a part of the last couple miles of the course. During the race I heard it mentioned a few times by other runners, one telling a friend he was running with that they would be climbing "Mount Morehead" near the finish. 

I found myself looking at street signs more than usual until I finally spotted it. At first it didn't look too difficult -- just a little hill -- but the farther I went the more apparent it was that it was a never-ending uphilll. I would prefer not to walk in a race, but when my heart rate gets to 180 I start walking whether I feel a great need to or not. So I walked on Morehead, not once but three times in an effort to bring my heart rate down to a sustainable level in the 170s.

With Aaron Chan after the race.


As always, it was good to see the finish line, and I crossed it with a chip time of 1:39:27, which turned out to be 1st place in the 60-64 age group. I'd really like to be running half marathons at around 1:35, but just finishing under 1:40 these days is probably a more realistic goal at my age.

Right now I'm registered for seven more half marathons over the next few months, so if I stay healthy it should be a fun spring and summer.

Click Here for Race Results for Half Marathon and 5k
Click Here for Official Race Photos

Official Race Photo
My Stats:

Time:  1:39:27 (chip)
Pace:  7:36
Age Group:   1 of  8
Overall:  109 of  1053
Average Heart Rate:  173
Maximum Heart Race:  184
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:18:57 (75.0%)

After the race with Bill Weimer, Cindy Cooley, Dianne Allen, and Katie Freid.


***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
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
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
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

AWARDS
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!
3 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
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

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - 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

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
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

WEBSITE
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
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
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes


TOTAL:  95