If race #101 is any indication of future race results, it could be a long journey for the next 100 races. It wasn’t all bad for me at this year’s Midnight Flight 10k in Anderson. I did manage to finish in 2nd place in my age group this year, which is higher than my 3rd place finish last year. However, I was also 4 minutes slower in this year’s race, finishing in 47:07 as opposed to last year’s 43:12. Ouch.
The time and temperature sign near the starting line said it was 84 degrees at the 11 p.m. start of the race, but I’m not sure that was correct since those things seem to be wrong a good portion of the time. I’m still wearing a big brace on my right knee and a smaller one on my left knee. I’m not sure if that could be slowing me down but it’s definitely not making me any faster. I could probably think of a half dozen more excuses but I have a feeling that I’ve just slowed down quite a bit due to a combination of factors and probably either need to shake up my training routine or get used to being slower. I’m not ready to concede defeat just yet so I’ll probably try to shake things up in my training and see if I can get back to what was normal a few months ago.
Regarding the race itself, the Midnight Flight 10k is the first race of the new season of the Running Journal Grand Prix, which is a series of ten races held throughout the Southeast U.S. , sponsored by Running Journal Magazine. The top eight runners in each 5-year age group as well as Masters (40-49), Grand Masters (50-59), Senior Grand Masters (60-69), and Veterans (70+) earn points. Last year I was the Grand Masters Champion for the season, earning points in seven races. This year there’s no way I’ll repeat that performance since I’m not running quite as well and I also won’t be able to run as many of the races, but win or lose, all of the races are a lot of fun and several are local so I’ll run as many as possible.
Here’s a list of the races on this year’s schedule:
Although the Midnight Flight 10k is the smallest of the Running Journal Grand Prix races with only about 400 runners, it’s still a great race with a lot of community support. The 5k race, which begins an hour earlier at 10 p.m. actually had more than 1,000 finishers and is part of the Palmetto Grand Prix and the Run & See Georgia Grand Prix. There are also several hundred runners in the 1-mile race that begins at 9:15 so there are a total of around 2,000 runners involved as well as a lot of spectators.
Almost everything about the Midnight Flight is great (food, entertainment, volunteers, etc.) except for one notable exception: the age group awards. This year, just like last year, the age group awards were hand towels. They were imprinted with the Midnight Flight logo, which was nice; nevertheless, hand towels for awards, especially in one of South Carolina’s premier road races, are disappointing. I’m sure there is a local trophy shop that could use the business, and I hope in the future they’ll consider giving trophies instead.
8 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
2 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
7 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 100
Age Group: 2 of 8
Overall: 70 of 371