Race #482 -- Will Run for Food 5k -- Mount Ulla, NC -- 02/27/2021

So here we go! This was my 69th birthday, and there's nothing I can think of that would have been better than to run my first 5k in over a year. After averaging around 40 races a year since I started running in 2008, I ran a grand total of 1 race in 2020 -- the Jackson River Trail 10k in June. After that my running started really falling apart, and by the time cold weather hit in the fall I had decided that my running days were over. No longer being able to keep up with my old running buddies for our training runs mostly due to bad knees, I stopped running altogether for a while. With no running and little incentive to eat right, it wasn't long before I had gained an additional 20 pounds over the 10 pounds I had already been trying to shed forever, so now I was 30 pounds over my ideal running weight.

By January 1, 2021, I knew something needed to change so I made a resolution to get back to running and eating better. Possibly the months away from running helped my knee problem because they're not hurting nearly as much now. 

I don't have the lung capacity that I had when I was younger so running continuously for just 1 mile is nearly impossible, but I find using using Jeff Galloway's Run-Walk-Run method I can run a little then walk a little and end up with pretty good results. I've tried several different patterns but what has been working best for me is to run 1 minute then walk 30 seconds, or "60:30" as most Galloway runners refer to it. 

My goal for this race was to finish somewhere between 27 and 30 minutes. In training I've been around 29:30 for 5k so I didn't think 30 minutes would be a problem, but you never know about hills and that type of thing with unfamiliar courses. When training with these intervals I've used both my Garmin watch and an app on my phone to time the intervals and alert me when to walk or run. I've found that a minute of running is about 100 steps running (just counting my left foot) and 30 seconds of walking is about 30 steps. Since I almost always count when I run I've found I can get pretty close to my intervals by just counting the steps, and it keeps me occupied and not thinking about how exhausted I am. 

Besides the races being close to home, probably the best thing about local racing is that you become friends with your competitors, especially the ones in your own age group. Of course we all want to beat the other guys and win the age group, but it's a friendly rivalry no matter who wins. I actually started out ahead of my age group rivals, but one by one they passed me -- Steve Staley first, Steve Shive second, and finally Robert Paratore, who finished just ahead of me for third in the age group. Despite my 4th place age group finish, I was actually pleased with my time. I forgot to stop my watch right away so it's off a bit, but my 27:39 time was an 8:54 pace so with all of the walking I was happy with that. I would like to walk a bit less as I'm in better shape but it may be that this is the way it'll be into the future, and I'm happy with that. It felt great to just be part of the racing community again at whatever speed.

It was my first time to run this race but I had heard about it in the past as one of the good cold weather races. Both pre- and post-race activities were held in the church's activity building, which is always a bonus when the weather is less than ideal. Post-race food was good with several type of homemade goodies (cookies, brownies, etc.) as well as chips, drinks, and enough variety to mess up my diet for the day.

Nice trophies were handed out to overall and Masters winners, and the age group winners received medals.

Race Name: Will Run for Food 5k

Location: Mount Ulla, North Carolina

Date: February 27, 2021

Race Rating:  83

Top 25 Overall:

My Age Group (65-69): [Ouch!]


Elevation by Mile:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

  • Time:  27:39
  • Pace:  8:54
  • Age Group:  4 of 5  
  • Overall:  34 of 92
  • Average Heart Rate:  151 
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  165
  • Age Grade Percentage:  62.39%





0 - Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)

2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]

1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good

3 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic

2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out

2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good

4 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!

0 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes

2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes

x - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no


2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!

3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes


2 - Posted online within 24 hours:  (0)no  (2)yes

1 - Easy to find results:  (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; (1) 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

2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent

7 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)

0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals


8 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)

0 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes

0 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes


0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful


2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes

3 - Design: (1-5)

2 - Material Quality: (1-3)

0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes


0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes

x - Prices: (1)expensive  (3)reasonable  (5)cheap

0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (1-10)yes 


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 - 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

0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

2 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes

0 - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  83


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