Saturday, August 29, 2009

Race #49 – Yiasou Greek Festival 5k – Charlotte NC – 08/29/09


It’s one of the fastest and flattest 5k courses in Charlotte, and PRs were dropping like worshipers at a Holy Ghost tent revival. Despite waking up with the stomach virus my wife and grandson passed on to me (at least I think they were the culprits), after a few trips to the john I felt stabilized enough to give the race a try (thanks Immodium A-D!). I wasn’t sure what to expect out of myself, but luckily for me and everybody in the nearby vicinity, during the race nothing came out of me but sweat and I managed my own PR! (chip time 21:13 & gun time 21:23), which was good for 2nd place in my age group. I’m grateful for the PR but now I don’t know which one’s the PR, so somebody fill me in… or will I now need to use an asterisk when referring to my PR?
This was the 7th of 9 races in the Run for Your Life Grand Prix Series for 2009 and all of the Grand Prix races bring out a big crowd, this one with 1,278 finishers. This was the last of the 5k Grand Prix races, with the last two being a 10k (Hit the Brixx) and 15k (LungStrong).
Linda and I spent quite a bit of time after the race with Shashi and Tammy from the Gastonia Running Club. We’re excited about getting to know some of the runners in the Gastonia area and hope to draw more runners from the Gaston County area to get together for races and group runs, so if you’re from this area, come on out and join us.
Also after the race, Kati S. from Rock Hill came up and introduced herself and said she really liked reading this blog each week. I really do appreciate it when people introduce themselves and let me know they’re reading the blog and it gives me some extra motivation to keep going. The more people I meet and the older I get, the more I tend to forget the faces and names of everybody, but if you see me again I hope you’ll say “hi” and give me a nudge about where we talked before.
The post-race food was pretty good and the T-shirts were nicely designed burgundy cotton shirts… nothing to write home about but one of the nicer shirts.
The awards… Ouch! The top winners (overall winners and masters winners) received a fancy bottle of wine of some sort in some sort of an equally fancy wooden box that I’m sure was nice, but come on… for winning a race? The age group winners received a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a Greek Village and a ribbon for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. Wow… just when I thought the awards couldn’t be any worse than a drinking glass! I’ve lost count of how often I’ve said this, but is there any chance of getting back to trophies and medals for winning races? I recently bought a trophy case and I’m quickly filling it with crap. Last week’s race (Soldiers Reunion 5k in Newton) had 300 runners compared to 1300 in this race. The overall winners received beautiful trophies and the age group winners received really nice trophies as well that were inscribed with the race information and what the award was for. I was told by one of the runners who has been racing for years that ten years ago everybody gave out trophies. I hope we can get back to that before I’m dead and gone. I’d like to be able for my grandkids to look at my trophy case (that actually contains trophies) and think, “Wow, grandpa’s not a complete dork after all,” instead of looking at it and saying, “Grandpa’s lost his mind for sure. What’s with the jigsaw puzzle and all that other crap in the trophy case?”
I’m including 173 photos in a slideshow from the race. As always, you can download the high quality originals (3000 x 4000 pixels) by clicking on the slideshow and getting them from the Picasa site.
Race Rating:
8 – 1-10 Website (Informaton, 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)
7 – 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)
9 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
3 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 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)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
3 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 0-10 Other
TOTAL – 84