The Gate River Run is the largest 15k in the United States and USA Track & Field's National Championship. This year's race had 15,569 finishers, and if you count the 5k and kids runs there are around 25,000 total participants, so it's a huge race. I knew from past results that I couldn't place in the top 3 in my age group but hoped I could make it to the top 10. I ended up finishing in 1:06:39, which was 8th out of 294 in the 60-64 age group and in the top 5% of finishers overall, and I collected one of the coveted "Top 10% Finisher" hats that they give to the first 10% of the runners at the finish line.
Since I recorded most of the race with my video sunglasses, I'll let the pictures tell the story. The only big disappointment concerning the race was that the battery in my glasses conked out just past the 8th mile of the race so I wasn't able to record the spectacular race down the bridge and to the finish line. It's maybe the best finish I've ever seen in a race, but you'll just need to take my word for it. Maybe next year I'll get it with the camera.
Here's my race video...
And some photos...
From our hotel balcony we could see EverBank Field, the setting for the race...
The entrance to the Runners' Expo...
Picking up my race bib. It was nice to have our names printed on the bib...
The race expo was big and crowded with lots of good deals on running stuff...
We arrived at the race by about 6:40 (it started at 8:30) and were able to park within 100 yards of the starting line...
Roberta Villneff (Bobbi V) and I talk over some strategy as the race is about to begin. In only about two years of running she's become one of the fastest women over 60 years old that you'll find anywhere. Out of 207 runners in her age group, Bobbi finished in 1st place, about 2 minutes ahead of the 2nd place finisher! Her time of 1:11:42 is equivalent to a 30-year-old female running the race in 54:54, a phenomenal age-graded score of 84.15% (mine has never been as high as 80%)!
Bobbi and I both qualified to line up in the first corral so we didn't have to wait long to cross the starting line after the gun went off...
There were a lot of runners but there was plenty of room for everybody...
Good luck to anybody who tried to run this bridge with bare feet. Those metal strips had ridges that were uncomfortable even through my running shoes (I guess so cars would have good traction)...
As we exited the first bridge you could see our hotel on the left (Crown Plaza). Linda could have watched the race from the balcony but decided to sleep in...
I was pleased to see a time of 20:40 on the clock at 3 miles. My official 5k split time was 21:25...
I don't think this was an official water stop, but it featured cold beer and sausages...
A little closer look at the cold beer stop. Not much action with the faster runners up front but I have a feeling it got interesting later in the race...
At the 5-mile mark in the race I was still at about a 7-minute pace (35:01)...
I was happy to hit the 10k split at under 44 minutes...
A crowd of supporters met runners at the entrance to the Hart Bridge...
I checked my watch as we began our uphill climb on Hart Bridge. The bride climbs 200 feet in a half mile. I was determined to keep my heart rate between 165 and 170 and not walk at all. I didn't walk but definitely slowed down...
The 8-mile mark in the race was about halfway up the bridge...
Kinda sad, but the top of the bridge is where my watch battery died with just about 1 mile left in the race. You can see EverBank Field on the left. The last mile was definitely the best so I'm disappointed I didn't get it on video, but hopefully I'll be back next year to try it again...
Click Here for Race Results
Click Here for Official Race Photos
Click Here for Official Race Website
Time: 1:06:39 (chip time)
Age Group: 8 of 294
Overall: 653 of 15,569 (4.2%)
Average Heart Rate: 168
Maximum Heart Race: 181
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 53:16 (77.25%)
* RACE RATING *
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
5 - Course Scenery: (0)bad (2)pleasant (5)extraordinary
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 - 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!
0 - 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) (actually 5-deep!)
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
2 - 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 ($80,000+ in prize money)
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (3)fabulous door prizes!
5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals
3 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average) (kind of disappointing!)
1 - Entertainment: (0)no (1)yes
0 - 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!
2 - Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
2 - Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
2 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes (5)lots of free pics!
2 - 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
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website: (0)no (2)yes
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 - Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes (Running Journal GP)