Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Charlie Post Classic 15k

I've never finished a race and said, "I'll never do that again," until now.  This is incredibly disappointing to me, but that is how I feel about the Charlie Post Classic 15k.
This review is specifically for the 15k*.

Let me set the scene.


Packet pick up was a breeze.  I opted for Thursday packet pick up at Blue Sky Endurance.  The employees of the store pointed me in the right direction and I was in and out in under 5 minutes.  I was disgruntled when I couldn't exchange my too big shirt for a smaller size, but it is what it is.

Communication was spectacular via email and on the Facebook event page for the race.  In fact, I started to get annoyed with all the emails, but there was a bib snafu and a portion of the bibs didn't have the trackers on them and if that had affected me, I would have been wanting to see those emails.

Race Info was meh.  The map that was attached to the email was teeny tiny and I could barely read the place markers.  I saw that the race had sold out (at 1000 participants), so I was concerned about parking and there were only 2 parking areas highlighted on the map and they did NOT appear large enough to contain all the vehicles.  I often do not look at the course map for a race because it only serves to disappoint me and it's good that I didn't check this time.  Boooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrriiiiinnnnnggggggg.  So boring.  We'll get to that though.

The Race

Parking wasn't an issue when I arrived on Sullivan's Island at 0705.  I imagine this would have been quite a different situation by 0730.  I parked on the street, close to the start/finish line, unknowingly within the race course.  When I had parked, the signs for the race weren't up and even if they had been, it still probably wouldn't have been clear.  I could have parked in the designated parking lots, but wasn't sure what the willy-nilly parking of others would be like, so I didn't want to risk being trapped in the parking lot, so I opted for street parking instead.

Amenities.  There were 5 porta potties at the start.  FIVE.  That's not a lot, but I guess it was fine.  I say that because I made it to the bathroom right in time to go quickly, get my shit together, and head to the start line for 1 minute of stretches then we were off.. Then we stopped.  Then we started again.  There was plenty of construction going on along the island so they didn't have to place porta potties along the course.  There were enough water stations for a 15k, but maybe I was dehydrated because I kept thinking, a water station would be nice now.. and then a mile or so later one would appear.  The volunteers were nice.  There was one station where a man was standing with an open recycle bin, except he was too close to the water station so I walked past him and later deposited my cup in another bin down the road.

Start/Finish.  The race start was prompt, but there were only 2 mats for runners to cross, so we all started to run and then slammed into the back of the person in front of us when they had to suddenly stop since we weren't really running.  Uhh, wut?  Yeah.  That was annoying.  I don't mind if during the middle of a race there is a limited length of mat to cross over for the timing chip, but 2 lengths doesn't cover all the way across the road, which is how wide the start area was.  The finish area was clearly marked and there was a definite increase in volunteers within a mile of the finish line.  It was nice to get some encouragement and for someone to point out the way since the end of the course had a few turns.

Race Course.  If you've never been to Sullivan's Island, let me sum it up for you. ISLAND.  And not a big one.  All the roads go pretty much straight and I find it soooooo boring to run in a straight line for miles and miles, only to get to the end and have to run back.  There were some zigzags, but mostly, the course was straight.

One of my biggest problems with this race: TRAFFIC IS ALLOWED ON THE COURSE.  I'll just be honest with you, when I'm running long distances, I need to NOT be competing with cars for a place on the road.  I just.. No thanks.  I understand it's a small race with a small budget.  But, I'm writing this review as someone who had never participated in this race before.  Many participants are repeat runners, but several people I spoke with had never participated in this race before.  To me, it kinda felt like a cool kids club activity that they let outsiders participate in too, and by cool kids, I mean the Charleston Running Club.  A lot of the runners seemed to know each other, which is cool, but it didn't feel that inclusive to me.  Then again, being included wasn't high on my list while I was laying in the back of my car napping prior to the start of the race.

Because of the limited distance and areas the course had to avoid, the 15k was a down and back type of loop.  You could see where you were headed and you knew you had to come back the same way, as you passed runners going the opposite direction as you.

I felt that the sights along the course (after the 5k-ers split off) were incredibly boring, which didn't help the time pass.  In the beginning we passed by Fort Moultrie**, Sullivan's Island Lighthouse, and some old churches, but we didn't get to run down the main strip where the shops and restaurants are to see what draws people to the area.  We were running by huge beach houses which didn't have any remarkable characteristics.  We were sooo close to the beach, but we barely saw it at all.  I could kinda smell the salt sometimes, but I had to make an effort to think, oh I'm at the beach.

When I did finally pass an area without a house obstructing the beach view, I had to take a selfie.
And within a quarter mile, we were back into the neighborhood with no view of the beach.

Granted, I did find the library, which brought a sliver of joy.


End of the Race. I'd been soo bored that I was relieved to finally reach the last mile.  A 15k is only 3 5k's (3 x 3.1 miles) = 9.3 miles, but it felt longer than some half marathons I've done.  Probably because miles 7.5-10.5 are usually my biggest struggle and 9.3 is right in the middle of that struggle zone.  The last mile had the most volunteers, probably since the last mile was also part of the 5k course and it had the most turns.  By this point, people are awake and driving around the island and I'm highly irritated at having to be on the lookout so I don't get hit by cars.  The finish area was quite abrupt.  You turn the corner and there it was and there was not really a run out area after the timing mats, so you just have to stop... which is difficult for me after being in constant motion for almost 2 hours.

There was a hobbyist photographer at the finish line, a smattering of spectators... and that was it.  I was confused.  Where were the volunteers handing out water?  Maybe a banana I don't really want?  WTF?  There was a handful of water bottles on the ground past the photographer, but some of them looked like they were opened and just discarded there.  I wasn't sure if that was the water runners could pick up or if it was trash.  I kinda figured if it was for runners maybe they'd put it on a table rather than just laying ~6-10 water bottles on the ground.  I wasn't willing to risk it.

I made my way to where the crowd seemed to be congregating in a building near the finish line.  While it was warmer in the building, there didn't seem to be any water or snacks.  Just groups of people talking and sipping on bottles of water they had magically procured and snacks they had either brought for themselves or their fans had brought for them.  By this point, I'm super pissed.  There's no water and not even a pretzel.  I didn't even bother to ask anyone, I just headed back to my car, where I knew an entire cup of water was waiting on me.

Etc Photos.


The Race

Would I do this race again?  I would 100% most definitely NOT do the 15k again.  I used this race as a training race, which is why I chose the 15k distance.  Now I understand why the majority of runners were doing the 5k.  There are runners who do this race every.single.year and I'd imagine they are part of the Charleston Running Club, which I am not a part of.  This race does have a good purpose, I can't remember what the profit from the race goes towards, but it's a good cause.

This race doesn't offer a medal, and that is one of the biggest reasons I participate in races.
The post-race offerings were NONE by the time I came in an hour and 45 minutes after the start, which was upsetting because it's not like it took me 3 hours to run 10 miles.  Yes, I might have been towards the rear of the pack, but better than sitting on my ass.

*I think if I had done the 5k, my review would not be as critical because I wouldn't have had to endure as much traffic on the course, the course would have been shorter, thus less boring, and there probably still would have been finish line water, at the least.

**The real reason Sullivan's Island is actually popular, besides being down the road from the rich people's favorite beach, Isle of Palms, is because Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie in 1827.  Word on the street is that Sullivan's Island became the setting for many of Poe's works.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you hated the race. I can't believe they allowed traffic?! That seems safe & convenient for approximately no one!


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