The Charles Harris is a popular PRR qualifying race primarily for three reasons. The first reason being that the date of the race is just before PRR registration starts. The second reason is that the course is USATF certified. The third reason is that it's FAST.
It's a point-to-point race starting at Tucker High School and finishing at Shamrock Middle School. The course elevation profile shows a decline from start to finish of about 125'. During the 2011 race there was a tailwind too.
I last ran this race in 2003 when I finished in 45:17. I registered this year not to qualify for the PRR but to qualify for the Gate River Run 15K. Since registering the GRR has changed its qualifying requirements in my favor so I'm already set for that race. I still ran the Charles Harris just to improve my overall results and try for a PR. My current 10K PR is 39:40 from a race I ran twenty years ago in Brooks, Georgia.
Registration, restrooms, and the start of the race was in or near the gym facilities in the image below. T-shirt pickup was at Shamrock Middle School. Those that had items that they needed to get to the finish were provided bags with their race number put on them with markers for easy retrieval later. I didn't utilize this but it looked very efficient!
|A shuttle bus dropping off runners at the new Tucker H.S. Gym|
|The new field and track|
|Inside the gym|
Back to the course, what it offers in speed it takes away in scenery and logistics for the runners. The organization of the race by the race director seemed to go very well. However, the scenery was mostly thrift stores, pawn shops, automobile service centers, etc. The neighborhood around Shamrock Middle School at the finish is nice though. This used to be my old stomping grounds before my wife and I moved to Lake Spivey several years ago.
Timing was done via D-tags with timing mats at the start and finish. There was a gun start. Two water stations were located on the course. There was plenty of water at the start, and water, Gatorade, bananas, apples, fruit snacks, granola bars, etc. at the finish in the Shamrock Middle School gym. The Shamrock gym was considerably less impressive than the one in Tucker. However, new or old, they both provide a great venue for this type of event.
The weather on race morning was 40-degrees at the start. It was a bit cool but not nearly as cold as most of my recent races. The skies were nice and crystal clear. As the race started runners had a few minutes of glaring morning sunlight to contend with until we turned onto Lawrenceville Hwy.
Artwork on the t-shirts hasn't changed much since I last ran this race in 2003. The BROOKS technical shirts are a nice upgrade from the cotton one I received in 2003.
|2003 Charles Harris cotton shirt|
|2011 Charles Harris Brooks technical shirt|
I did meet my goal of a sub-40 minute 10K finish with a 39:52 chip time. I was the fifty-fifth male and the eighth 45-49 age group runner to cross the finish line. I got "chicked" eight times.
Overall this is a great race to post a PR.