Race #497 -- Racefest 10k -- Charlotte, NC -- 06/27/21

Charlotte Racefest has been one of Charlotte's premier racing events for the past twenty years or so, long before I became a runner in 2008. It was virtual-only last year during the pandemic, and for some reason unknown to me it was moved from its usual location in the Southpark Mall area of Charlotte to the university area for this year only. According to the website, it'll be back at Southpark next year. Either location is fine with me and this year's race was outstanding, even though there were fewer runners than in previous years. Still, there were more than 700 finishers (469 in the half marathon and 264 in the 10k) so it's still one of the area's bigger races. Since I ran a half marathon the previous week and have another one coming up only two weeks from now, I chose the 10k option. Looking back at my past race results I was kind of surprised to see that I had run the Racefest Half Marathon six times in the past, but this was the first time I ran the 10k. I was a little bummed that I was the only male in the 65-69 age group in the 10k in a race this size, but was happy to finish 35th overall of the 264 runners in the 10k (top 15%).

The venue was perfect, with plenty of free parking and a stage featuring a live band in front of the Armored Cow Brewing Company, which was a major sponsor of the race. The post-race food was adequate and the Armored Cow was open if you wanted something more substantial. There was free beer, which is always popular, but since I'm not a drinker at all that particular perk never quite registers with me.

The one perk that really does appeal to me is FREE photos, and the ones for this race were possibly the best I've ever seen. There were several professional photographers -- one covering the 10k course, another on the half marathon course, one at the start/finish line, and another covering the awards and what was going on pre- and post-race. For me personally, there were at least ten photos and none of them were completely awful and most were actually good, which given the subject matter is really saying something. I feel sure there were multiple photos of everybody who ran. By comparison, last week's half marathon in Michigan had professional photographers along the course. There was only one photo of me that I would have considered buying, but you couldn't just buy one photo -- you had to purchase all of the photos taken of you and the price was $39.99. So as memorable as that race was for me, I ended up without any photos. 

This MarathonFOTO advertisement showed up on my Facebook feed this morning. I went to their site and looked at the pics of me. They were all from races with thousands of runners (NYC Half, Brooklyn Half, etc.) and none of the photos were great. That's partly my fault, of course, because I'm not what you would call photogenic, but it's also because the big races seem to take the shotgun approach, taking photos of multiple runners since there are so many in the race. The results are not so great, and the prices are fairly outrageous. One photo download costs $25, or you can download all of the pics you're tagged in for $75. 

So you get the idea where I stand on race photos. There are a lot of first-time runners at races, but even those who run a lot of races end up with very few good quality photos because of the prices, so free photos of excellent quality are a rare and valuable perk.

Oh yeah, the race. Because it was mostly on the greenway with runners traveling in both directions, the race started in waves. There were 4 waves beginning every 10 minutes for the half marathon, then two more waves beginning at 7:40 for the 10k. I warmed up for a few minutes before we started the race with Finn Hassing, who is one of the fastest older runners in the state. This 76-year-old speedster is the current 75-79 Male USA Standard Distance Duathlon champion (that's a 10k run followed by a 40k bike ride followed by a 5k run), a title he won in May. I had seen his 5k times this year and he has definitely been running faster than me. We began the race together and within a half mile he had already gone ahead far enough that I could no longer see him. I didn't expect to keep up with him, but since we were the only two runners older than 65 in a race with 263 runners, and with the fact that he's 7 years older than me, it gave me somewhat of a benchmark to shoot for. The course was out-and-back, which is my favorite since it allows everybody to get a glimpse of where everybody else is. As we turned around at the halfway point I noticed that I was getting closer to Finn, with only one or two runners between us. I had already taken several walk breaks in the muggy air (94% humidity) and as I looked ahead I could see that Finn was also doing some walking. It's not so unusual to find me walking but Finn hardly ever walks in a race, so I perked up a bit and decided to try to catch him. I was still trying to keep my heart rate at a steady 155 beats per minute and I thought that as long as I did that I could probably make it without walking, at least for a while. I finally caught Finn and huffed out a few words of encouragement, and as I passed he said, "I'm out of gas." I know the feeling, but I kept on at the same pace, wondering whether the sight of me passing him gave him renewed vigor or if it might leave him feeling worse. I didn't want to look back for a while because I was doing all I could anyway, but when I reached the big uphill climb in the last mile I took a look back and didn't see Finn or anybody else for the most part. I decided not to try to kill myself on the hill and probably walked 3 or 4 times before reaching the top. I saw a post by someone on Strava that there was a stretch of that hill that was an 11% grade for about .15 miles, and that was just part of the hill. I finally managed to get to the top and make it to the finish less than a half mile away.

Race Name:  Charlotte Racefest Half Marathon & 10k

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

Date: June 27, 2021

Race Rating:  117

Top 10 (10k):

Top 10 (Half Marathon):

10k Course:

Elevation and Splits by Mile:

Pace & Heart Rate Graph:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for FREE Race Photos

Pre-race with Finn Hassing and Jerry Sofley

My Stats:

  • Time:  52:29
  • Pace:  8:27
  • Age Group (65-69):  1 of 1
  • Overall:  35 of 264
  • Average Heart Rate: 155  
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  165
  • Age Grade Percentage:  69.10%





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

5 - 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

8 - 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


2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)

5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)

0 - 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

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


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

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

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

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


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

9 - Venue (Entertainment, Race Setting, etc.): (1-9)

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


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

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


2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes

4 - Design: (1-5)

3 - Material Quality: (1-3)

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


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

5 - 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


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

0 - 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:  117


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