Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 Charles Harris Run - Race Report

The 2011 Charles Harris Run for Leukemia 10K took place on February 26th.  This was the 31st anniversary of the race.  Over the years the race has become popular with those trying to gain or improve their seeding in the Atlanta Track Club's Peachtree Road Race 10K on July 4th.

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 
Most of the runners must have parked at North DeKalb Mall and taken the shuttle to Tucker.  I parked at Tucker H.S.  It was easier for me since my cheering committee and official personal photographer couldn't make it this morning.  After the race I had to hoof it back to Tucker on my own because the shuttle buses were only for getting runners to the start.

The new field and track
Gym sign
Inside the gym
The Tucker H.S. gym has an indoor track above the court.  It's very nice and a perfect place to get out of the cold and stretch before a race. 

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 didn't get the opportunity to see the awards.  After the race, I picked up my shirt, had some snacks and ran back to the start to retrieve my car.

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.