The Mount Mourne Volunteer Fire Department Elf 5k is a race that I avoided for a couple years. It just didn't sound like it would be that great although some of my friends touted it as a favorite. I finally gave it a try last year and it was great, and I looked forward to returning this year. With the wind chill forecast to be in the mid 20s I almost talked myself out of going this year, but I'm really glad I went. It was cold but not bad once you got warmed up, and waiting inside the fire department both before and after the race was perfect. Almost all of the 200 or so runners stayed inside until about 5 minutes before the race started. It's an out-and-back course that's mostly flat. I always enjoy the out-and-back courses because you can see who's in front of you and who's in back of you. It was also an awesome sight to watch the winner of the race, former Olympian Anthony Famiglietti, motoring along en route to a 14:07 finish. He completely left behind the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers who all finished within a second of each other at 15:41, 15:42, and 15:43, times that would have easily won most local 5k races.
For me, the 60-64 age group was also competitive and I was lucky to come away with 3rd place in the age group. My friend Bob Nelson showed up, and lately he has been running better than he had for several years. He left me behind right from the beginning and finished in 20:39. Ron Rogers came down from Virginia just for the race and beat me with a time of 21:09. I was actually happy with my finish time of 21:30, which was about 30 seconds faster than my last legitimate 5k (I don't count the Santa Scramble) and my fastest 5k since July 21st.
I'm now about a month into my vegan diet and I'm feeling great. Of course, I'll have to see how it affects my running over time but for now I feel better than ever. I'm not running as well as I did last fall but I believe that's from lack of training since I had dropped my mileage relatively low over the past three or four months when I had been sick (which is what prompted the diet change).
Click Here for Race Results
Age Group: 3 of 10
Overall: 28 of 172
Average Heart Rate: 162
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 17:18 (74.6%)
* RACE RATING *
Note: I made a few adjustments to the rating system as of 10/27/12 to give races a chance to score more rating points, so it can be futile to compare an older race with a newer one. Hopefully the different items on the checklist will inform you of what you need to know about a race. I'm still trying to keep it as objective as I can. The total points points possible are more than 100 but I'm trying to fine tune it so that good races end up in the 85-100 range. It's too much trouble to go back and make changes to the old race ratings, but one of these days after all of the fine tuning is done it may be much easier to compare races with each other.
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
2 - Course Scenery: (0)bad (2)pleasant (5)extraordinary
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)not bad (5)very good (7)spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no
1 - Cost: (0)expensive (1)reasonable (3)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes
2 - Posted promptly online: (0)no (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website: (0)no (1)yes
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)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent (Trophy + running shoes)
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent (Nice trophies)
3 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (3)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0)none (1)some (3)adequate (7)a feast!
0 - Entertainment: (0)no (1)yes
1 - Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (1)yes
2 - Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x - Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes (5)lots of free pics!
2 - Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website: (0)no (2)yes
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes