Saturday, March 7, 2009

Race #22 – Alston + Bird LLP Corporate Cup Half Marathon – Charlotte NC – 03/07/09

The weather took a turn for the better this week, so I didn’t have to travel 400 miles to get warm. The 30th annual Alston + Bird LLP Corporate Cup Half Marathon started and finished at the Childress Klein YMCA, which to my surprise wasn’t one of those old buildings that smelled like my 8th grade gym socks, but rather it is located in Wachovia Bank’s corporate headquarters in the Wachovia Tower in Charlotte, North Carolina. We didn’t exactly get to run through the building — the race was outside — but the weather was absolutely perfect with early morning temperatures in the low 50s and a high of about 77 in the afternoon.
It was only my second half marathon, and if you’ve been keeping up with my running exploits (and I know you haven’t), you’ll remember that at my first Half Mary, Thunder Road, I had to use the bathroom at about mile 8 and finished in 2:01:05, so for this one my goal was to skip my morning coffee (what a genius) and forego the bathroom stop, thereby increasing my chances of finishing in less than 2 hours.
It worked! Not only did I finish in under 2 hours, but I shaved almost 15 minutes off my previous time with a finishing time of 1:47:23! No more coffee for me before the long races.
As always in Charlotte, there are a lot of relatively small hills so there’s a lot of up and down, but I guess that’s normal for most cities. I really enjoy racing on the streets of Charlotte, police directing traffic at every corner and drivers who would like to be hurrying along their way stuck until hundreds of runners go by. It’s kind of fun watching their frustration and boredom as we trot by, but I’m glad to be on the running end of the equation.
As you might imagine, everything is first class for this race. All of the HM finishers received a medal. The age group trophies were great (I didn’t win one, by the way). There was plenty of good food after the race in the Wachovia Atrium, which provided shelter (not that we needed it this time around) as well as a live band and a stage for the awards ceremony. Another great thing for downtown Charlotte was free parking in the two Wachovia corporate parking lots.
Race Rating:
  • 6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
  • 9 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
  • 9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
  • 7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 4 – 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)
  • 8 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
  • 7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
  • 7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
  • 0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 100