Race #483 -- Kings Mountain Gateway Trail 5k -- Kings Mountain, NC -- 03/13/2021

It's been a full year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and with the hope that it's mostly behind us now the local races are starting to pop up along with the spring flowers. The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is actually just over the county line in Cleveland County but this year the race marks the first entry for the Gaston County Race Series, which was canceled last year because of the virus but is being brought back this year, albeit with probably fewer races than in past seasons. 

Since I'm a Gaston County resident and a runner, I've enjoyed supporting the race series and will continue to do so. During the last season (2019) of the race series I finished 2nd overall, partly due to some decent race times but more so due to showing up for pretty much every race. This year doesn't hold that much promise for me personally since I'm not running that well. Also, some of the races will be "virtual," meaning that you just run the race at a place and time of your choosing and turn in your stats. I won't be doing any of that. To me, it's only a race if you're physically at the race and running it live.

There are ways to "social distance" as they say, and this race took precautions as necessary. There was a chip-timed staggered start with runners leaving every 5 seconds or so and 6 feet apart, and that worked well except you couldn't actually be sure if you were ahead or behind the runners near you, although you could still pick out people to either pass or try to keep up with, which provided a good element of competition.

Two weeks earlier in the first race I've run in a year I did a 60:30 run/walk, meaning 60 seconds of running and 30 seconds of walking. That worked okay but the following week I decided to switch my training to 70 seconds of running followed by 20 seconds of walking (70:20), so in that same 90-second period of time I would run 10 more seconds and walk 10 fewer seconds. That turned out to be a better combination for me and made my pace around 30 seconds faster with very little added stress.

The elevation chart for this race only shows 190 feet of elevation gain but somehow that doesn't seem right, especially as you're chugging up some of the huge hills. I've run the race several times in the past and never ran a fast time so I didn't expect to on this day either. My goal was to be a little faster than I was on the easier 5k course that I ran two weeks ago. I also planned to not take quite as many walk breaks, running through any that I could, especially when the terrain was flat or downhill. I finished only 17 seconds faster (27:21) than two weeks ago but I was happy with that, and I'm hoping to knock another few seconds off in what's supposed to be a flatter course in my next race, which is only a little more than 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. (I'm writing this on Sunday morning).

It was really great to see so many of my running friends, most of whom I hadn't seen in over a year, and I'm hoping this is the beginning of a great return to racing for all of us.

(L-R) Bernhard Heulmanns, Tim Yates, Lynn Ramsey, me, Jim Owens, Robert Paratore. Yes, I got a haircut, and nobody recognizes me. I'll change my profile pic if I ever get a good one. Thanks to Lynn for the photo.

Race Name: Kings Mountain Gateway Trail 5k and Virtual 10-Miler

Location:  Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Date:  March 13, 2021

Race Rating:  66

Top 30:


Elevation by Mile:

Weather at Start:

My Stats:

Time:  27:21
Pace:  8:48
Age Group (60-69):  5 of 8 
Overall:  36 of 103
Average Heart Rate:  155
Maximum Heart Rate:  166
Age Grade Percentage:  63.74%


3 - Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - 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
0 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
6 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
0 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - 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)
0 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 - 14 and under group (1)
0 - 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

2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

5 - 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)
2 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x - Prices: (1)expensive  (3)reasonable  (5)cheap
5 - 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

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
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  66


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