Race #28 – Run for the Money 5k – Gastonia, NC – 04/18/09
This was my 28th race since I began running last September, but my very first race in my home town of Gastonia, North Carolina. It was exciting to finally run a race in Gastonia, and for the third time in my last three 5k races I again broke my personal record, this time at 22:15, finishing 72nd overall out of 750 runners. Sadly for me, although I had the fastest time among the 55-59 year-old runners, this race had 10-year age groups and a bunch of guys 50-54 outran me so I ended up in 8th place of 35 runners in the 50-59 age group. You know me — I’m not one to complain (just kiddin’) — but save the 10-year age groups for races with 75 people in them, not the ones with 750 runners!
Just to get all of the bad stuff out of the way at the beginning, the one other problem with this otherwise excellent race was that there was no after-race food for the runners. Hey, we’ve come to expect that little perk and this was the first race in 28 races that had zero food.
Other than those two little annoyances, the race was really good and the atmosphere surrounding the race and the entertainment were excellent. There was a karaoke contest, a New Orleans style jazz band, a symphony by a bunch of little violin-playing kids, about 40 tents mostly with information about various Gaston County organizations, and probably quite a bit of other stuff I missed.
The course of the race wound its way through the historic Yorkchester neighborhood. There were a lot of turns and quite a few hills but it was a nice route overall. About a half mile from the finish we shared the course with people from the fun walk who the runners had to dodge, but I didn’t see anybody get mowed down so it seemed to work out okay. The last part of the third mile was a long hill that was kind of a killer but it leveled off for the last tenth of a mile. I managed to pass Jerry Sofley, a great over-60 runner who I followed the whole race because I knew if I could keep up with him I’d be at a good pace, and in the last 100 yards or so I passed David Stafford, another fast local runner and friend who I met through this blog. David told me after the race that when he saw me pass him, he said to himself that he was going to beat me or die trying. I’m happy to report that he’s still alive and he beat me by a fraction of a second right at the finish line. Next time maybe.