38. Charlie Post Classic, 2009

Dark and Early

This was a new one for me. I’ve never actually been to Sullivan’s Island before. Well, not for a race, anyway. I ran onto the island during my marathon training, but I just turned around and came back to Charleston.

I don’t know much about Charlie Post, but I’m told that he died in an accident while training for a triathlon. This is essentially a memorial race. There were 5K and 15K events, and of course I signed up for the longer distance.

Registration and Racing Goodies

Registration was pretty straight-forward. I pre-registered for this race, so I didn’t have to worry about not getting a shirt. It was a pointless worry, however, because they had all sorts of extra stuff.

There are several things I’d like to mention about race packets and the various “goodies” that you get at a race. First of all, there’s the race packet. Sometimes it’s given to you in a bag along with the t-shirt, and other times they just hand you the essentials and you have access to a table full of stuff. This race had a minor supply, but I’ve seen tons of the stuff depending upon the size of the event. There are advertisements, samples, key chains… hell, I’ve even seen a tongue depressor in a race packet.

This time it was just paper goods at first. I grabbed a map of the course and a few flyers for future races. Sometimes you can get your first bit of news about another race from the registration table. At the end of the process, you wind up with the two basic things you really need. Your race number (along with four safety pins) and your souvenir shirt. The shirt was a long-sleeve this time, and the numbers were standard fare. There were no chips. After that, they turn you loose to mingle with the other runners, talk about racing, and complain about the weather.

One last thing to mention… the money. This race had a $25 pre-registration fee per person. Just before we started, they announced that they had over 800 runners. That’s over twenty thousand dollars. I don’t know how much they lose on fees, permits, shirts, awards and whatever else they have for overhead, but it’s still a ton of money. It’s a good stack of cash for the scholarships they use it for, but in today’s economy, it’s still not enough. Isn’t that frightening? All that money, and it still won’t get even one kid all the way through college. Still, it helps and I’m glad that they’re pitching in.

Starbucks Volunteers Again

I’m actually quite proud of this. I didn’t know that they were going to volunteer. No one mentions these things to me since they pretty much assume that I’m going to be running at every event in Charleston. Still, with our hours being cut and the company asking more and more of us at the same time, it’s comforting to see the quality of the people. None of them had to do this.

Besides handing out coffee before the race, my co-workers from various stores stood out in the cold to direct the runners at intersections. It’s not too rough on the runners once we get moving and warmed up, but the temperature chips away at you if you just stand out there. Kudos to anyone who chooses to help us out with these tasks. We literally cannot do this without them.

Friends at the Race

Another point of pride is the friends I’ve made in my running career. They’re good people, and they’ve made me into a better man. Seriously, I’m better for it. The running community encourages self-improvement through hard work, and they consider the whole process to be fun. How can you attach yourself to such people without becoming just a little bit cooler than you were before?

The actual event was pretty standard for me. 9.3 miles just isn’t as scary as it used to be, and I settled into a steady cruising speed. I talked to people. If someone was unable to speak, I left them alone. If they wanted to chat, then we did. I heard stories of triathlons, marathons, and other cities. I made jokes about running up the steep side of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. I ran with friends. I made friends. I focused on the people, and I enjoyed the hell out of the whole process.

People at the Finish Line

One of my favorite things to do after I finish a race is to get photos of other people finishing. It’s a special moment for them, and I like to share it with everybody. Plus, it gives the occasional runner a pleasant surprise. I recently received an email from a runner who found his Finish from the James Island Connector Run on my site. Eric finished at 50:32 that day, and it was a personal record! That’s awesome! Just to celebrate, I sent him the full-sized image, as well as the one I have on my site. If you see yourself in my Flickr gallery, feel free to  just save a copy of it. If you have any trouble, just drop me a line and I’ll get you the photo.

After the Race

Well, you know. We mooched food. Krispy Creme, bagels, apples, bananas, etc. Again, this was a pretty standard setup.

The special bit was that the organizers dedicated the event to Maurice Davis. He’s a top-notch runner who recently had a stroke. Fortunately for him and for those of us who care about him, he’s recovering famously. He’s a little weak on the left side, but it’s the kind of thing that he can get back by training up.

I don’t have anything really deep to day about this one. Good time, good race. It was lots of fun. If I weren’t moving to Vermont, I would run it again next year.