Friday, May 8, 2009

Twilight 5K makes the right moves

There were more than 2,200 people registered for tonight's Right Moves for Charlotte Twilight 5K (including walkers), and it showed.

I met some friends over there around 6:10 p.m. -- about 50 minutes before the start -- and the chip pickup, registration and pre-registration lines inside uptown's Wachovia Atrium were a madhouse. But all those young professionals made for a cheerful mood out on the plaza before the race, and the sole Port-a-Potty line still managed to move fairly swiftly.

Start was cool, with a Charlotte Fire Department truck providing a nice American-flag-raising a few minutes beforehand and a most authoritative opening horn.

Not as much bottlenecking in the first tenth of a mile as I was expecting (I thought the construction at the Duke Energy Tower on Tryon Street might create a logjam), but as usual, faster runners had to weave around slower folks who had no business lining up toward the front.

The first half of the race was actually pretty uneventful for me -- took several tight turns in the industrial part of Southend without incident as I tried to keep my pace even at around 7:15/mile.

Things got more interesting after the swift drop on Morehead near the stadium. We turned onto Cedar and made the big climb to 4th Street (there, runners were met by a mini-throng of boisterous Johnson & Wales University students).

Fortunately, that hill on Cedar didn't faze me, steep as it was. But by the time we banked left where Graham transitions into Stonewall, on the other side of the stadium, the gradual ascent -- and a nasty headwind -- conspired to keep me from setting a PR.

The homestretch on Tryon was kind of a blur for me, but it was nice to see such a good-sized crowd of friends and family members lining the sides of the last 100 yards or so.

Volunteers moved us through the finish chute efficiently, and it was a nice surprise that all the finishers wound up with a medal.

Good selection of post-race food, including everything from bananas and oranges (on the plaza) to fried rice and pizza (in the atrium). Results board was the usual mob scene. On the way to the post-race party, caught the start of the kids' 1K Fun Run. Here's a so-so iPhone pic:

Finally, it's worth noting that while I was expecting to have to wait half an hour for my free beer at George Herman's in nearby Latta Arcade, I basically walked up and was sipping on Mich Ultra within about 15 seconds.

All in all, a very fun race. I ran into so many people afterward who were thrilled with the experience. And I heard at least one person say they wished there were more evening races, because they don't like getting up at the crack of dawn for runs. (Hmm, maybe someone in town should step up with another one?)

Anyway, did you run it? What'd you think of the event?


Anonymous said...

It was the first time that I've ran/walked the Twilight 5k so I was a little concerned about running in the evening. I didn't think I would get into it, but I did!! It was perfect! Great volunteers, sponsors, awesome atmosphere and for such a great cause!!

After this experience, I do agree, it would be great to see more evening 5ks. . .my kids would definitely love that, too.

Theoden, congratulations on catching the running bug and doing so well! Keep up the good work!

adrian said...

Great event!! Best 5K so far this year!! It was great to see the police and fire depts competing. I ran slower than I wanted, the hill on cedar and the headwind around the stadium slowed me down.
Theoden your doing a great job keeping everyone informed and providing some inside scoop.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is not wise to let all of the kids line up in the front. It is only a matter of time before someone gets tripped up. Of course, if you are the 12-year old girl that wins the women's race then...go to the front.

Chad R. said...

A fun way to spend a Friday evening. It's one of the few races where the baby joggers and wheelchairs are encouraged to start up front and given a minute-and-a-half head start. Being in the front of the race, if only for the first mile, is a terrific rush.

The last uphill mile nearly did me in, though.

Mike said...

I have ran the race for several years. I enjoyed the larger crowd this year. I wish that it would get some more media blitzing to make it a much larger annual marquee event here in Charlotte. All in all, was a fun run, got my goal time of sub-20 minutes. Like your blogs, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

There is another evening race in is the Summer Breeze 5K at Freedom Park on June 20, a Saturday night. The men and women have separate races, with the women starting 30 minutes before the men. Usually a great family event. Good neighborhood run, but there are hills to be prepared for.

Anonymous said...

Summer Breeze will be a morning race this was almost cancelled due to lack of sponsorship, but will take place....

Anonymous said...

Charity walks and races have become an inconvenience for Cedar Street residents. Yesterday was the second instance in the last 3 weeks that I was not able to drive on my street (Cedar) to get to my home due to a race or walk. Police forced me to sit and wait on 4th Street for over 10 minutes. There are 2 sidewalks and two road lanes, yet the police will not let anyone, even a resident, drive on one of the lanes until the last runner passes. While I encourage such charity events and races, I wish the city would spread these events out to more parts of the city and not inconvenience the same uptown residents repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

'Encouragement' would be getting involved and enjoying the experience when in your neighborhood. Not sure if you ran the Charlotte Racefest back in April, but at one stretch on Sharon we were dodging cars turning from the two left lanes of traffic back around into the far right lane that was blocked off by cones. Sorry runner safety 'forced' you to sit for an eternity of 10 whole minutes.

Clarke Rodgers said...

Twilight 5k photos available at