Race #495 -- GTC Sunrise Run 8k -- Simpsonville, SC -- 06/12/21

Without any good options for a race in my local area, I decided to take a short trip to the Greenville, South Carolina, area to try my luck at the Greenville Track Club's Sunrise Run 8k. Turns out my luck wasn't all that good as I finished 4th out of 12 in the 65-69 age group despite running about an 8-minute pace, which is pretty slow if you're 29 years old, but relatively fast for a 69-year-old. My goal going into the race was to finish in under 40 minutes so I was happy with my time of 39:50. 

As the race name would suggest, it starts at sunrise, which was 6:15, so I had to get there bright and early. I set the clock for 2 a.m. and went to bed by 9:00 on Friday night so I felt pretty good when the alarm went off. I was out the door by 2:30 and headed down Interstate 85, which is under major reconstruction from the state line to Spartanburg, probably 25 miles or so. Fortunately, the traffic was light and I arrived at the race venue, which was First Baptist Church in Simpsonville, by about 4:30. My camper van has a comfortable queen size bed in the back so I was able to take a nap before venturing out to pick up my race bib inside the church. 

Instead of T-shirts, runners were given a really nice commemorative umbrella emblazoned with the race name and logo. I was told though that since I registered on the last day just before the race I wouldn't be able to get one. They told me that I could sign up at another table and they would be ordering more so I could get one after the new shipment came in. I was a little hesitant because there's no way I'm coming back to pick up an umbrella but I nevertheless stopped at the table. I felt sure they wouldn't mail the umbrellas, but you never know, so I asked the girl at the table if I'd need to come back to pick it up. She said I would and told me the store where they would be. I told her that I'd just skip adding my name to the list since I wouldn't be returning. She asked if I was from somewhere else and I told her I had driven down from the Charlotte area. She told me she thought it was great that I had come so far for their 8k race and encouraged me to add my name and email address anyway, just in case. She mentioned that maybe I'd return for another race and maybe they'd hold it for me. The reason I mention this is that after the race I heard an announcement that there were some umbrellas left over that weren't picked up and we could get one while they lasted. With well over 300 runners in the race, the crowd was pretty dense, but I worked my way up to where the announcement was made. To my surprise, the girl from the umbrella table had picked one up and was looking specifically for me. She spotted me and waved the umbrella, saying that she wanted to be sure I got one if nobody else did. What a nice gesture!

Being in a different running community, I didn't really know anybody at this race. Part of what makes the Charlotte races so appealing to me is that I usually have friends at those races. We're competitive with each other but it's always friendly competition. Greenville is no different, of course, among the runners there were "Greenville Track Club" shirts everywhere you looked. They're known for having a huge running community with lots of excellent runners in all age groups. 

One runner who I recognized and talked to after the race was Lee Cook, an exceptionally fast 76-year-old who holds at least four South Carolina State Road Race records. I introduced myself to him and he actually remembered the race where we met in 2015. That race was the Spinx Half Marathon in Greenville and we passed each other multiple times during the race. I ended up getting first place in the 60-64 age group with a time of 1:38:51 and he won the 70-74 age group 1:39:18, an amazing accomplishment for a 70-year-old. I didn't know him or how old he was until after the race but we talked for a few minutes then. He had definitely made an impression on me so I was glad he remembered our little duel from six years ago.

Before the race, I happened to meet Peter Nevins, who was standing nearby as we were waiting for the race to start. He looked fast and told me he was 66 years old and ran a 6:18 mile the night before. Okay. I haven't run that fast in several years. He said he was shooting for about a 7-minute pace in this race and using my amazing math skills I told him I'd be about 5 minutes behind him. I didn't miss by much but I was a little closer than I thought since I was only 4 minutes behind at the end. 

My intention was to build my heart rate (red line) up to 155 and stay there if possible, knowing that's what I'll need to do in next week's half marathon. Lately, once I hit 160 I have to slow down or walk, but today I hit 160 just over 1.5 miles into the race. I pulled back a little and it came down to 158, but it drifted back up to 160 so I decided I'd stay there if I could. Throughout the rest of the race, I stayed almost right on 160 until the last half mile when I tried to speed up some. I wasn't too happy that my pace also slowed down to the 9-minute range in the last couple miles but since my heart rate remained the same it's just what I was capable of doing. If I would have pushed it I would have probably ended up exhausted and walking. This is one of the few races this year where I didn't take any walk breaks!

Race Name:  GTC Sunrise Run 8k

Location:  Simpsonville, South Carolina

Date:  June 12, 2021

Race Rating:  92

Top 10 Overall:

My Age Group (65-69):


Elevation by Mile:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

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My Stats:

  • Time:  39:50
  • Pace:  8:01
  • Age Group:  4 of 12  (33.3%)
  • Overall:  79 of 343 (23%)
  • Average Heart Rate:  158  
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  168
  • Age Grade Percentage:  71.88%





3 - Chip 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

1 - 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: (0-9)   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!

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

3 - 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)

5 - 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


0 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes

x - Design: (1-5)

x - 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

10 - 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

5 - 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:  92


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