Saturday, June 6, 2009

Race #36 – King Tiger 5k at University City – Charlotte NC – 06/06/09


I’ll start with the important stuff… Got a new camera this week, which will enable me to take some photos for the blog at each race. The new one’s nice and small — a Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Digital Elph . It fits perfectly in the front pocket of my RaceReady shorts (in case you start wondering why I’m wearing the same shorts every week [actually I have two pairs]) and takes much better quality pictures than my old one, so if all goes well I’ll include a slideshow of race photos from each race like the one here. You can click and visit the Picasa page and download the original size photo if you see yourself or any other photos you want, and they’re all free. They’re probably not as nice as professional photos (unless I catch you just right) but the price is hard to beat.
For anyone who’s interested in the Run for Your Life Grand Prix, this was an eagerly anticipated race, being the fourth in the series and the first of only two double points races. Somebody told me before the race that there were over 800 runners pre-registered, but I noticed that there were only 775 finishers listed. Either way, it was a pretty big race and a good one. I was happy to finish 112th overall and 2nd in my age group at 22:12. Seems like I’ve hit a plateau in the 22:00 to 22:15 range, which is where I’m finishing most of the time lately. That’s about 6 minutes better than where I started last fall, so I’m not complaining, but it’s starting to become obvious that my pacing needs some work. I tend to start out too fast for the first couple of miles of a 5k then slow down in the third mile. According to Garmin, my mile splits were 7:01, 6:45, and 7:29.
The post-race food was the best I’ve seen in a while and included all of the normal stuff (bananas, PowerAde, bottled water, cookies) plus some nice extras such as smoothies, cinnamon rolls, and Starbucks coffee.
I liked the T-shirts too. They were cotton, which is of course not as preferable as technical material, but they’re nice looking dark blue shirts with red and white lettering in a traditional university style.
The awards were a little weird: Tae Kwon Do belts (King Tiger is a martial arts studio that is one of the race sponsors). My brown second place belt said: “2nd Place Age Group.” I think the 1st place belts were black and 3rd place belts were red. I’m not quite sure what to do with it but I don’t think it’ll allow me to beat anybody up. I suppose they were just trying to be unique, which is good, but it would have been nice if the belts said something like “2009 King Tiger 5k” so we could remember what it was for.
Something else I should mention: At the RFYL Grand Prix races they give out some good door prizes — stuff like 1-hour massages, $20 gift certificates, etc. That’s nice, and very much appreciated. At this race, it was obvious that the emcee just looked around and picked “winners” by calling out the bib race numbers of random (I guess) people who were standing there instead of choosing numbers by some impartial method. I remember quite well that at the Shamrock 4-miler they did choose winners impartially and that most of the people whose numbers were called had already left and were not there to collect their prize. Even so, it still needs to be done in a way so that everyone (even those in the back row whose numbers can’t be seen) has a chance. Maybe making an announcement several times as well as prominently mentioning it in the race literature would have more people staying for an opportunity to win a door prize.
Race Rating:
8 – 1-10 Website (Informaton, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
4 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, 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)
6 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 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)
5 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 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)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
7 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 0-10 Other
TOTAL – 83