Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Race #268 - Midnight Flight 10k - Anderson, SC - 08/29/14

After sitting out the entire season last year of the Running Journal Grand Prix, I was really looking forward to getting back with it this year, and this is the first race of the 9-race series that will end next Memorial Day. For the past month or two I've had some relatively minor running injuries such as a pulled hamstring and a sore calf. My mileage has been lower than normal and I haven't been eating as well as I should have so I was a little concerned that I might fall apart. Fortunately I made it to the finish line without any trouble, winning the 60-64 age group and finishing first among the Senior Grand Masters (60+).

The Midnight Flight consists of three races that begin about an hour apart and you can run any or all of them (1-mile at 9 p.m., 5k at 10 p.m., and 10k at 11 p.m.). It's one of South Carolina's premier road race events with a total of about 1,500 runners in the three events (296 finishers in the 1-mile race, 954 finishers in the 5k, and 246 finishers in the 10k). The 5k is the largest by far, partly because it's the distance more people prefer but also because this 5k is part of the Palmetto Grand Prix, which is a statewide GP that's popular among South Carolina runners. I was only interested in the 10k, of course, since it's the race that counts for the Running Journal Grand Prix (RJGP). The races of the RJGP are spread throughout the Southeast and draw some great runners, one of whom I met about halfway through the race.

The course is out and back, and after I turned around at the halfway point I got a look at the people behind me. I was mostly looking for my friend Bob Nelson, who's usually either a little ahead of me, a little behind me, or right next to me in a race. We usually finish 1st and 2nd in the age group (as we did in this race) and I had maybe a 100- to 200-yard lead on him halfway through so I decided to walk for a few seconds. As soon as I started walking I was passed by another runner who looked like he could possibly be in my age group. I started running again and caught up with him, and using all of the tact I could muster up I asked him what age group he was in. That might be a breach of racing etiquette, but I've been known to do it quite a few times. It's nice to know whether it's somebody in your age group. He was kind enough to inform me that he was in the 65-69 age group and I was a little relieved that he wasn't in my age group (60-64). I picked up the pace a little and before long I had a lead of maybe 20 or 30 yards on the exceptionally fast 67-year-old, who later I found out was Sherman Stanford, who had traveled from his home in Louisiana just to compete in this RJGP race. During the race it didn't occur to me that he and I were competing for 1st place in the Senior Grand Masters category (ages 60-69), but of course I wanted to end up at the finish line before he did anyway.

As we headed back along the course I knew what awaited me: a big hill about a mile long that I've never run continuously without stopping to walk. I'd sneak a peak behind me every once in a while and there he was, relentless, and I knew he was most likely waiting for me to walk again so he could make mincemeat out of the maestro once and for all. As I started climbing the big hill I thought about the hill training that I've been doing every week, running to the top of Crowders Mountain, and I tried to remind myself how much easier this hill was in comparison to that. I kept reminding myself, and I kept running all the way to the finish line, 16 seconds ahead of my sneakered stalker. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could actually climb that hill without walking. It just took a little incentive.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  45:04 (chip time)
Pace:  7:14
Age Group: 1 of  12
Overall:  37 of  246 (15%)
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  179
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  35:37 (75.4%)

Running friends - (L-R) - Bob Nelson, me, Bob Milan, Matt Longworth
We all placed in the top 3 in our age groups and are wearing our visors that were given as age group awards.
Matt (far right) finished 4th overall in the 10k with a blazing time of 34:34.


***************
* 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
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
8 - 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

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
3 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
5 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes (*RJGP Only)

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!
0 - 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
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
1 - 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!
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

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

TOTAL:  107

Monday, September 1, 2014

Race #267 - Soldiers Reunion 5k - Newton, NC - 08/23/14


This is one of my favorite 5k races. It's a little bit farther away from home than some other races on the same day but I've run a couple of the others and always end up coming back here. It's a good size for me (272 finishers this year) but the attendance was down from about 400 last year, most likely due to another popular 5k in Hickory that was on the same day this year.

Pros:

  • Well-managed, well-established race.
  • Mostly flat course with few turns.
  • Great trophies both for age groups and overall winners.
  • Reasonably priced race-day registration ($20).

Cons:

  • No photos.
  • No porta potties.
  • No race website.


Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  21:51
Pace:  7:02
Age Group:  1 of  11
Overall:  15 of  272 (5.5%)
Average Heart Rate: 166
Maximum Heart Race: 178
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:16 (74.71%)

(L-R) Me, Dianne Allen, Susie Kluttz, and Roberta Villneff. Dianne and Roberta are great runners and long-time friends.
It was a special treat to meet 77-year-old Susie Kluttz (orange shirt). I've been hearing about her for years but this was the
first time I'd seen her at a race. She has broken 24 National age-group records since she began running at the age of 48.

***************
* 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
3 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - 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

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
0 - 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
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

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
4 - 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)
4 - 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!
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

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
2 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10):
5 - Special awards for military veterans

TOTAL:  94

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Race #266 - Great Waldensian Footrace 5k & 10k - Valdese, NC - 08/09/14

It's one of the oldest races in North Carolina, and The Great Waldensian Footrace sets itself apart from the crowd in a couple of ways: (1) With the race-day registration price (without a shirt) of just 6 bucks, it's by far the least expensive race I know of; and (2) it's the only race I know that gives awards 5-deep in 5-year age groups.

I recently added another item on my race rating list to add or subtract points for unusual items like these and I'm adding 10 points for the unbelievable $6 race-day registration price and another 5 points for the 5-deep age group awards. I have mixed feelings about the age-group awards. It's kind of excessive to have so many awards for so few runners, but it does provide a way for runners who never get a chance to win an age group award the best chance of any race to walk away with a trophy -- and they're really nice trophies compared to those handed out in other races. I wish that the races with thousands of participants would take a hint and offer 5-deep age group awards.

The two things mentioned above make this a race worth running, and we had a big group from the Gaston County Runners who attended. I'm pretty sure this will become a race that many of us will look forward to each year.

I ran the 5k, which isn't too hilly, but I hear the 10k has a killer hill of about 3/4 of a mile and that could explain there are a lot more runners in the 5k than the 10k.

Something else that deserves mentioning is that during the awards they also had a drawing where four different runners won $50 each. Kind of unbelievable with the $6 entry fee, but it was a nice surprise even though I didn't win any money.

Nice group of Gaston County Runners at the end of the awards ceremony in the gym.


Race Results:



My Stats:

Time: 21:54
Pace:  7:03
Age Group: 1 of  6
Overall:  25 of  204 (12.3%)
Average Heart Rate: 166
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 17:18 (74.54%)

***************
* 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
3 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
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: (0-9)   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

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
0 - 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
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

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 - 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
4 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
3 - 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
2 - 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

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
2 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
+ - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)
10 -Lowest race-day registration price of any race ($6 with no shirt)
5 - Five-deep age groups

TOTAL:  103

Friday, August 8, 2014

Race #265 - Mint City 10-Miler and 5k - St. Johns, Michigan - 08/02/14

This is a photo of the start of the 5k (don't have a pic of the 10-miler start).
My son Joe recently became an Anthropology professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, so of course I picked a weekend to go and visit him when there would be a local race to run. I found this 10-miler just north of Lansing. It was a fairly small race but well organized and there were a lot of fast runners there. Usually when I run a race 700+ miles away from home I don't know anybody there, but my wife Linda ran and so did Joe, while Joe's fiancee Kandus took some great photos. In addition to that, my good running buddy Bob Nelson just happened to be in East Lansing for a wedding and he and his wife Patty decided to surprise us by showing up at the race! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them standing there as we approached the race site! Besides being a good friend Bob is also one of my biggest competitors, so I was kind of relieved when he told me he was running the 5k instead of the 10-miler. Bob and I both got 1st place in our 60-64 age group while Linda and Joe both got 3rd place in their age groups.

Pros:
  • Nicely organized small-town race.
  • Plenty of helpful volunteers along the course.
  • Watermelon (and other stuff) after the race.
  • Reasonably priced race-day registration.
  • Almost completely flat course (that's how the land is in that area... no hills).
Cons:
  • There were 5-year age groups, which is good, but they only went 2-deep so Joe and Linda didn't get an award despite placing 3rd.

Click Here for Age Group Results (Both Races)

Click Here for Race Photos from Kandus on Facebook

Click Here for Race Website

Bob Nelson and me. I had no idea he was going to be at this race halfway across the country.

My son Joe did great in his fourth 5k ever. He's secretly hoping to beat me in a race over the next couple years.

My wife Linda ran her best 5k in the last couple of years. 

I actually managed a semi-smile for the camera near the finish line.


My Stats:

Time: 1:11:06
Pace:  7:06
Age Group: 1 of  10
Overall:  30 of 150 (approximately)
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 56:20 (78.8%)

***************
* 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
3 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - 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: (0-7)   0=bad  and 9=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 (almost 2 miles non-paved)

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
0 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less) (*2-deep)
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
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!
5* - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals
      (*nice medal for finishers of both the 10-miler and 5k)

POST RACE
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 - 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 (long sleeve tech blend)
2 - 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

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


TOTAL:  91

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Race #264 - Beat the Heat 5k - Winston-Salem, NC - 07/26/14

I wouldn't normally drive 100 miles to run a race on a hot Saturday evening in July, but this is a special race, being the USA Track and Field North Carolina State Championship 5k. There weren't any good races in the Charlotte area this weekend so we decided to head over to Winston-Salem and check out the Beat the Heat 5k for the first time. The temperature was somewhere around the mid-80's for the 7 p.m. start, which is pretty hot but it could have been worse, and there was no threat of thunderstorms so that's good. I'm not a current member of the USATF so I wasn't eligible to win one of those awards, but of course I wanted to be competitive. I did manage to win the 60-64 age group but was beaten by two particularly fast runners in the 65-69 age group. I also managed to aggravate a minor hamstring issue I've had for the past week, so it wasn't my finest moment.

There was $7,000 in prize money up for grabs to the top overall runners and most of the top runners in the state were present. The top three finished within 3 seconds of each other with times ranging from 14:34 to 14:37. There were 22 runners under 17 minutes and 68 runners under 20 minutes, so it was a super fast field of runners.

After winning this race for the past five years, Bobby Mack (#1) was edged out
at the finish line by Duriel Hardy (#21), a 26-year-old medical student at Duke. 


Some races ration the amount of food you can take. No rationing here and tons of great food was available (pizza, subs, watermelon, and much more). It was kind of appalling to see the number of people walking off with multiple boxes of pizza before many people had even finished the race.

Pros:

  • USATF State Championship 5k.
  • Big bucks for overall winners ($7,000 in prize money).
  • Great post-race food.
  • Nice course and plenty of free parking in the stadium parking lot.

Cons:

  • No race photography.
  • No porta-potties and limited indoor restrooms. Kind of odd for a race with over 600 runners.


Click Here for Overall Race Results

Click Here for Age Group Results

My Stats:

Time:  21:52
Pace:  7:03
Age Group: 1 of  15
Overall:  104 of  630 (16.5%)
Average Heart Rate: 166
Maximum Heart Race:  177
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 17:17 (74.66%)

***************
* 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
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
8 - 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

REGISTRATION
0 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! (Race day=$40)
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
3 - 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!
0 - 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)
7 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
0 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 - 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
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

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 (USATF)


TOTAL:  90


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Race #263 - Athletic Quilt Street Light 5k - Morganton, NC - 07/12/14

To say there's not much advance promotion for this race is an understatement. There's no website or even a Facebook page, which could be set up for free in about 5 minutes. I couldn't even find an address for it until I saw that somebody on Facebook had posted the address of the Roses store in Morganton. Having said all that, it was their 20th annual race and word of mouth over the years has resulted in it becoming a popular race even without any promotion. It's a nighttime race, beginning at 9:30 p.m. There are enough street lights that the entire out-and-back course is lit pretty well except in just a handful of areas. There aren't any hills at all and no turns to slow you down so it should be a really fast course, but most nights in the middle of July are hot and muggy and that generally slows things down. On this night it was really muggy, resulting in several people dropping out, and there was also at least one runner who needed an ambulance. From what I've heard, that runner recovered okay, but it was definitely a hot one.

Something about this race brings older runners out of the woodwork, with all of the older age groups being more competitive than at almost any race I know of. I managed to squeak by Daryl Simpson of Virginia by less than a minute to win the 60-64 age group. The 65-69 age group was even more competitive, with four runners finishing from 23:17 to 24:54. Two runners in their 70s finished in under 30 minutes.

Pros:
  • Money Drawing: Probably the biggest appeal of the race is that after the race part of the proceeds are given back to the runners at a drawing. It changes from year to year but this time around they gave $40 to ten different people and a grand prize of $100 to one lucky runner for a grand total of $500. This year I didn't go home with any of the loot, but when I ran here a few years ago I won $50 in the drawing. 
  • Low Cost: This is one of the rare races that knocks off 5 bucks if you don't want a shirt, making it $15 for race-day registration. I've got a lifetime supply of T-shirts so I always take that option when it's available.
Cons:
  • No website and very little information can be found for the race. 

Click Here for Overall Race Results

Click Here for Age Group Results

My Stats:

Time: 21:51
Pace:  7:02
Age Group:  1 of  10
Overall:  61 of  446
Average Heart Rate: 163
Maximum Heart Race: 175
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:16 (74.71%)

***************
* 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
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
5 - 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

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
0 - Clear link on race 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
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
9 - 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)
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
1 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
2 - 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

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


TOTAL:  95

Monday, July 7, 2014

Race #262 - HFFA Firecracker 5k - Huntersville, NC - 07/05/14

This was my third time to run the Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics (HFFA) Firecracker 5k but the first time in three years. There was one noticeable difference from the two previous races: the race this year was less than half the size that it was then. In 2009 there were 401 finishers and in 2011 a whopping 471 finishers, but this year only 152 crossed the finish line. I'm not sure why the race has shrunk so drastically, but possibly the result of new races that have sprung up since then, most notably the Run for Your Life Spectacular 4-Miler and the Charlotte Firecracker 5k, which are both fairly new and popular races (although the Charlotte Firecracker 5k was canceled at the last minute this year because of severe thunderstorms). Anyhoo, this is an enjoyable race on a good course and if nothing else it was nice to be able to compare my present running times with those from previous years. This year my time of 21:19 was a little slower than 2011 (20:23) but a little faster than 2009 (21:39). 

Age Graded Equivalents:

2009 - Age 57 - 21:39 - Equivalent Time: 17:52 (72.19%)
2011 - Age 59 - 20:23 - Equivalent Time: 16:32 (78.01%)
2014 - Age 62 - 21:19 - Equivalent Time: 16:51 (76.58%)




My Stats:

Time:  21:19
Pace:  6:52
Age Group: 1 of  3 
Overall:  21 of  152
Average Heart Rate: 163 
Maximum Heart Race:  171
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 16:51 (76.58%) 

***************
* 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
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

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
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

AWARDS 
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent ($150 1st; $100 2nd; $50, 3rd)
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent (Gift Certificates - $20, $10, $5)
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

My friend and GCR runner Matt Longworth was 1st Overall and won 150 bucks for 16 minutes of work!

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
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!
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

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:  84

The local fire department saw to it that the kids didn't get overheated in the Super Soaker 100 yard dash!