Race #499 -- American 4 Miler -- Charlotte, NC -- 07/04/21

For several years the American 4 Miler was Charlotte's premier Independence day road race, but this year there were only 284 finishers, a drop from 1,142 in 2019. The pandemic I'm sure had something to do with it, but other races are vying for runners and there seems to be a hesitancy for people to get back to the races. Still, it's a good race that draws a lot of the top competitors from the area. 

It was my second race of the weekend, and after the previous day's flop of a race for me personally, I would have liked to change things around. That was not to be though, and I struggled to get going, walking (out of necessity) three times in the first mile. Things didn't get any better for me and when the smoke cleared I had taken a total of ten walk breaks. Add the nine walk breaks from the previous day's race and that's 19 walk breaks in 7 miles of racing. Ouch. Next week is race #500 for me, a milestone I wasn't sure I'd ever achieve, and it's one of my favorite races: The Scream! Half Marathon. If I run that one like the two this week it will most likely be the end of my under-2-hour half marathon streak that now stands at 116, dating back to 2009.

As with most races, there were highlights. The shirts for this race are always a notch above other races, the trivia questions just before the awards provided some fun as well as great prizes (lots of $25 gift certificates), and the finisher medals that were given out with your packet before the race were nice (a little weird but that's the world we live in now). The professional photos from Marathon Photos weren't cheap but were at least more reasonably priced than a lot of others I've seen. I could buy one photo for $15.95 or all twelve photos of me for $29.95. That's a bargain compared to the photos from the Charlevoix Half Marathon a couple weeks ago, but it makes the FREE pics from Racefest look even better, and the free photos from Racefest are the best of the bunch.

One noticeable hiccup for this race was the difficulty in locating the results. They were posted the first day on Athlinks but you had to jump through hoops to find them, and as I write this four days after the race there's still no link from the race website to the results, even when you click on the "Results" link. I'm providing a link here but that's something the race should be sure is in order on their site.

Next week's race will be my 500th since I began running in September 2008. My intention back then was just to see if I could run a 5k. I wouldn't have imagined at that time that 13 or so years later I would have run 500 races, but it's hard to see the future, and I'm still hoping to keep going for as long as I can. 

Race Name: The Park National Bank American 4 Miler Presented by Novant Health

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Date:  July 4, 2021

Race Rating:  101

Top 10:


My Splits:

As you can see from the chart above and graph below, my first mile was a disaster and things didn't get much better. There was a lot of uphill in the first mile and I wasn't able to reach the 155 bpm heart rate that I shoot for. It crossed my mind that I could need a cardiac workup to see if something is wonky with my heart, but I'm hoping it's just a temporary setback and I'll be back to normal by next week.

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click for Race Photos

My Stats:

  • Time:  34:17
  • Pace:  8:34
  • Age Group: 3 of 4 
  • Overall:  92 of 284
  • Average Heart Rate: 150  
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  160
  • Age Grade Percentage:  66.83%





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

2 - 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!

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


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

0 - 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

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)

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


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

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

0 - Finisher times posted after race:  (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

3 - 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

2 - 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


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:  101


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