Race #491 -- Cherry Blossom 5k -- Cherryville, NC -- 05/08/2021

I've always looked forward to this race that I've run many times in the past. Until this year it was a Friday evening race that was held during the Cherry Blossom Festival just a couple blocks away. I liked that it was on a warm spring evening that was never too hot but just warm enough to remind me that summer was close. This year the festival wasn't held because of the pandemic so the race was switched to Saturday morning, but I still wanted to run it because it's somewhat local to me (although Cherryville is about a 20-mile drive from home) and it's part of the Gaston County Race Series. 

Participation was way down this year and there were only 43 finishers. Just before the start, the race director (I think that's who she was) announced that since there were so few runners they decided not to do age group awards and would only have awards for the top 3 male and female finishers overall. That's a big no-no for most of us who race often since many of us are competing with peers our own age and would like to know who landed where in the pecking order. The award itself is not important. Just calling the top 3 from each age group forward or just calling their names would be sufficient. 

The one bright spot was that they still had pizza after the race just as they did when it was held on Friday night. For me, it's never too early in the day to eat pizza although with the 10 a.m. starting time for this race it was almost lunchtime by the time we got to the pizza.

As for my running, I did okay in that I finally reached my goal this year of finishing in under 25 minutes. My official time was 24:59.7 so I beat it by three-tenths of a second. I suspect that as I go forward this year and if I stay healthy, 25 minutes will be my goal in 5k races. With some luck and good fortune I might get down into the 24's but I don't foresee much if any improvement beyond that since my goal is to achieve a 155 heart rate and stay at that throughout the race. It's not always easy for me to do that and even in this race my heart rate average was only 152, and I felt the need to walk twice when it nudged up to around 158.

Race Name:  YMCA Cherry Blossom 5k

Location: Cherryville, North Carolina

Date:  May 8, 2021

Race Rating:  56

Top 11 (just because I was 11th again):


Elevation by Mile:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

  • Time:  24:59.7
  • Pace:  8:02
  • Age Group: 1 of 3 
  • Overall:  11 of 43
  • Average Heart Rate:  152  
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  158
  • Age Grade Percentage:  69.73%

I reached my 155 heart rate goal (red line) just around the 1-mile mark. The 2 blue spikes are the two times I walked when my heart rate went up to around 158. You can see that both times I walked my heart rate dropped to around 152.





0 - 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

5 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=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


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


0 - 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)

0 - 70+ group (1)

2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none; (1) 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


2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent

0 - 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


7 - 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

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

A friend who was volunteering at the race (thanks Arlette!) took quite a few photos and shared them with people she knows who requested them but there were no race photos posted online other than that.


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

0 - 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:  56


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