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Race #512 -- Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon -- Myrtle Beach, SC -- 10/17/21

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This has been one of my favorite races, so it's kind of odd that it's the first time I've run it since 2017. Last year (2020) I had almost quit running so I came down for the race but just watched. In 2019 the race was canceled because of a hurricane, and in 2018 I made it as far as the starting line but didn't like the cold and windy weather so I just decided to get back in my car and head for the hotel. That was a bad decision that I don't want to repeat, but I have somewhat of a reputation as a fair-weather runner. I was determined to run the race this year no matter what kind of weather I had to deal with, and it was a relief when the weather turned out to be just right. Compared to previous years, this year's race was smaller with only 694 runners in the half marathon. In its inaugural year, 2010, there were 2,702 finishers and the size peaked in 2014 with 3,125 runners crossing the finish line. Along with there being fewer runners, there were other telltal

Race #511 -- Kings Mountain Running Festival 5k -- Clover, SC -- 10/09/21

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I've had better weeks. On Sunday night I started having cold symptoms and I was unsure if I had a cold or possibly COVID. I contacted my doctor's office and they told me to wait at least 24 hours then get a COVID test if I still felt sick, so on Tuesday I was tested and thankfully it was negative. Having the Coronovirus would have kept me from going to next week's Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon, which has been the main race I'm planning for the fall, so I should still make it to the race albeit with a cough and runny nose. I thought about skipping this race altogether since I'm still not feeling great and only ran about half of my usual training miles for the week, but decided it would probably be better to see if I could get in a fairly decent run before Myrtle Beach. The Kings Mountain Running Festival consists of four races (5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon). I considered the 10k but decided it would be best to go for the shortest distance instead.  The firs

Race #510 -- Gaston College Stampede 5k -- Dallas, NC -- 10/02/21

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This was the inaugural running of the "Gaston College Foundation Stampede for Student Success 5k," which almost takes longer to say than it does to run the race. The TV show The Office outdid it a little bit with "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure 5k," but not by much.  The race was organized well and run entirely on the 150-acre campus of Gaston College. One nice perk was that they had a table set up with a big variety of items and all of the runners were invited to take whatever item they wanted. There was still quite a bit left over after the awards and people were invited to clean it out and take everything. Beats having to organize a yard sale I guess.  There was a bit of an issue with the awards. Because of the epidemic apparently, they were unable to get the medals that were ordered for age groups, but they said they'd mail them out once they arrived, and after

Race #509 -- Novant Health Lake Norman 15k/5k -- Cornelius, NC -- 09/26/21

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Back in 2009 when I first ran this race it was called the Lungstrong 15k/5k and it was one of the Charlotte area's major racing events. That year there were 929 finishers in the two races combined. Last year (2020) the race was canceled because of Covid and there seems to be a hesitancy for people to come back to the races. In the fall of 2019, just before the pandemic, the race size had fallen off some but there were still about 700 in the two races. Anticipating a packed parking lot, I headed out early to get a good parking spot but I arrived to find an empty parking lot so I had plenty of choices. The parking lot never did fill up, and as we lined up to start the 15k a few minutes before the 5k began, there wasn't a lot of need to jockey for position to get near the starting line. It turns out there were fewer than 200 runners in the two races combined this year (130 in the 15k and 66 in the 5k). That's disappointing, and it leaves me wondering if there will be a next ye

Race #508 -- OrthoCarolina 5k Classic -- Charlotte, NC -- 09/18/21

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For this year only, the OrthoCarolina 10k/5k Classic was moved from its normal location at the main OrthoCarolina location in Uptown Charlotte to the South Park Mall area. With a 15k on my schedule for next week and a half marathon in four weeks, I decided to just run the 5k option this time around. The Good I managed to barely squeak in under 25 minutes at 24:56. These days that's my goal.  Plenty of free parking at the South Park Mall location. Course wasn't flat but there weren't any huge hills. Professional photography pics were nice. Nice size race with 316 finishers in the 10k and 251 in the 5k. Big enough for plenty of age group competition and small enough that you don't get lost in the crowd. Shirt is nice and I actually got one despite signing up late. The Bad As nice as the pro photos were, they were also too expensive at $20 for a single photo or $50 for all of your photos.  Race Name:  OrthoCarolina 10k/5k Classic Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina Date:

Race #507 -- HOOAH OORAH ALL THE WAY 5K -- Conover, NC -- 09/11/21

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I've always had a touch of triskaidekaphobia , so when a memory popped up on Facebook this week saying it was the 13th anniversary of my first race, I cringed just a little bit. It didn't help when I did the math to see how many races I was averaging per year. When I divided my total races (507) by 13 I came up with exactly 39, which is 13 x 3. I'm happy to have averaged 39 races a year over the past 13 years, but I'm not really comfortable here so I'm looking forward to my next race before something bad happens. I didn't encounter any bad luck during the race, and it was actually one of my best 5k efforts of the year and was only the second time this year that I ran an entire race without walking. What Was Good A perfect race to commemorate the 9/11 World Trade Center attack that was exactly 20 years ago on this date, as the race was dedicated to the military and supported by the Stop Soldier Suicide organization. One of the flattest 5k courses I've run thi