Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Races in Familiar Places

This Saturday being Halloween is the perfect day for you to practice running away from all those brain-eating zombies.  How's that, you say?  Well, there are not one, not two, not three, but four area races taking place on Halloween morning.

  • 3rd Annual Runway 5K Run, 8a.m. at the Charlotte International Airport.  Make like a bat and fly around the runways.  Sir Purr of the Carolina Panthers will be alongside Miss North Carolina 2009 Julie Tesh to present awards.
  • Pumpkin Run 8K Road Race & 2K Fun Run/Walk, 9a.m. in Mooresville.  They say Frankenstein's monster was slow, but you won't be at this race.  Proceeds will benefit the Mooresville Recreation Foundation.
  • Fall Harvest 10k, 5k, & Fun Run, 7:45a.m., Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics.  Prizes will be given for best costume, so come dressed up as your favorite vampire.
  • Second Annual Tarheel Realty II 5K & Fun Run, 8a.m., Statesville.  Runners are encouraged to dress in costume. To pre-register or for more information, call (704) 871-8770 or email sara@tarheel-realty.com.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Race Report: New River Trail 50k, October 10, 2009

The other weekend I trekked up north to Fries, VA to participate in the second annual New River Trail 50k.  Fries (pronounced "freeze") is a small community nestled alongside the New River that has as its roots a textile community and now is best known for outdoor recreation.

The course covered a portion of the New River Trail State Park, which is an abandoned railroad right-of-way.  The terrain consisted of hard-packed dirt and gravel, with only slight changes in elevation.  Along the course were several small trestles, one long trestle, and a short but VERY dark train tunnel.

The New River Trail 50k is put on by local ultrarunner Annette Bednosky, who runs competitively for the Montrail UltraRunning Team.  Annette decided to give back to the running community by organizing this event.  It's also one of the "green" events that are becoming more and more popular.  What's green about it?  Race applications are available only online, participants are encouraged to bring their own water bottles in order to reduce waste at the aid stations, and very little schwag (you know, that stuff you get in your race bag that you get all the time, like ball point pens from banks, note pads from realtors, race adverts, and such).  Participants had the option of paying a little more and getting a very usable Patagonia technical long-sleeved shirt and also had the choice of either a Nathan handheld water bottle or a locally made pottery vase.

I'll spare you most of the details of my experience except to say that this year I managed to shear 25 whopping minutes off my last year's time and finished in 4:23:38, putting me 12th overall out of 105 starters.  I would have to attribute my faster time to a) knowing the course this time around, b) lighter trail shoes, c) a change in gait from heel striking to midfoot striking, and d) the fear that someone was about to pass me in the final 5.5 miles, which turned out to be only my imagination.

Last year I made the slow, arduous walk up to the community center for a shower before heading home. This year I decided to walk down to the New River at the start/finish line and take a soak.  Aahh, relief!

Chad R.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Samaritan Christian Ministry of Wilkes' Race for the Hungry

As many of you have observed, half marathons are a little scarce these days.  However, there's a new one taking place on Saturday, Nov. 14th, 2009 in Wilkesboro.

As someone who cut his teeth on long-distance running in Wilkesboro, I can attest that there are some terrific places in which to run.  Back in the day there used to be a half marathon and 5-miler, but alas that disappeared.  Now there's a new set of races in town, called the Samaritan Christian Ministry of Wilkes' Race for the Hungry (scroll to the bottom for race brochure, driving instructions, and map), which will consist of a half marathon, 5k, and fun run.

I know what you're thinking:  Wilkesboro, being at the foot of the Brushy Mountains, must mean that the courses are hilly.  Far from it.  The 5k course is nearly pancake flat and suitable for PR performance, and the half-marathon is mostly flat, with a hump in the middle.

Where's Wilkesboro?  From Davidson take I-77 north to exit 73, then west on Hwy. 421 toward Boone; about an hour's worth of driving.

Thanks, Jim Crotts and Randy Brooks!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Local Races this Weekend

Fall racing is underway.  Some of you may be heading off to faraway places, such as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon or the New River Trail 50k.  If you're staying put this weekend, you can still hit the road with one of these races:

  • Historic Salisbury's OT5k, coinciding with Historic Salisbury Foundation's tour of historic home, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 10th in downtown Salisbury.  There will also be a 1/2-mile family fun run, so bring the kids.  -Thanks, @scubasue09!
  • Home Run 2009, also this Saturday, brought to you by the Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium.  The race will take place on the McAlpine Creek Greenway 5k cross country course and will also offer a one mile fun run.
  • Hopebuilders 5k, this Saturday, at the Carolinas Medical Center, just south of downtown (or is it uptown?).  There will be a post-race family festival.
  • 5th Annual Oktoberfest Footrace 10k & 5k, in downtown Hickory.  All net proceeds will be sent to the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries.
  • United Way Run for Life - Fun Run/5K/10K, this Saturday in Concord.  Suitable for everyone, but if you're a firefighter, police officer, or EMS person you are eligible for a special award if you're the fastest.
  • “Wake the Library” 5K & Fun Run, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem.  -Thanks, @scubasue09!
Have a great weekend, whether you race or not.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blazing a New Trail at Fisher Farm

I was reviewing my notes and realized that I haven't posted anything about Fisher Farm.  Fisher Farm is part of the Town of Davidson, though you probably wouldn't realize it.  It consists of four or so miles of single-track trails just east of Davidson and truly in a natural setting.  While utilized primarily by mountain bikes, it's also a great place to perform some solid trail running.

I'm going to post a full report on running at Fisher Farm at a later time because I'm in the process of mapping (via my Garmin Forerunner) the various routes.

This morning twenty volunteers got together at Fisher Farm to put in a new section of trail.  Under the direction of Mark Sullivan, owner of The Cycle Path, we scratched out a new intermediate section of the main trail just before the finish.  With the large number of people we were able to knock it out in less than three hours.

The Tarheel Trailblazers are also intimately involved in maintaining the trails at Fisher Farm.  They have recently been awarded a grant by REI to add another section of trails.

To get involved in adding to and maintaining the trails at Fisher Farm, contact Mark at The Cycle Path, thecyclepath@bellsouth.net.

Chad R.
Davidson Area Running Team