Sunday, March 25, 2012

Race #168 - NC Half Marathon at Charlotte Motor Speedway - Concord, NC - 03/25/12

With another half marathon just a week away already scheduled, I wasn't sure whether I should run this one since 13 miles of racing can be a little hard on the tootsies, but I figure you only live once, and there's more living behind me than ahead of me so I might as well race all I can while I'm still able to. Seems logical.

This race was organized by the same folks who manage the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon (13.1) in the fall and they do an admirable job with their races. Today was the inaugural event for this race and it's one I hope they'll keep going. I ran a half marathon a couple years ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway and it wasn't nearly as well organized and the route was a disaster. This one was a big improvement.

One drawback of running at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the sheer size of the place. Running around a mile-and-a-half track at 8 or 9 miles an hour with 140,000 empty seats is maddening. Even worse is running down and back the entire 1-mile length of the Zmax Dragway. I mean, it's kind of fun for a few minutes but then with no points of reference like you'd have on a regular street, it seems like it goes on forever. Then again, not many people ever have the opportunity to run either the dragway or the big speedway, so in that way it's a special experience.

There were a total of about 2,200 runners total (1,790 in the half marathon and 393 in the 5k) and with all of the family and friends who came along to watch it made for a great finish line with people lining both sides of the final stretch and cheering. The T-shirts were nice as well -- tech fabric and wearable (design-wise). Food was plentiful, including big and kind of homemade-tasting chocolate chip cookies and raisin cookies.

Click Here for Race Results and Photos

A lot of people ran this race for the medal -- it's huge and
actually has working lights over on the right side.
My Stats:

Time:  1:36:08
Pace:  7:19
Age Group:  1 of  30
Overall:  50 of  1,790 (2.8%)

* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *

Note: With my new rating system (started in December 2011) there's not a chance of any race scoring near 100. If it's important to you, look at each individual category to see how points were earned (or not). Just trying to be more objective with the details. I generally like all of the races I run. If there's something that really rubs me the wrong way I'll mention it in the summary above.

RACE COURSE  (20 possible points)
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes (a little long -- 13.16 miles on my watch... more on others)
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION  (6 possible points)
0 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1) (5k had young age group)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
1 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
1 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes
3 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
5 - Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
1 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
1 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS  (8 possible points)
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

PARKING  (8 possible points)
0 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
x - No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  74