Blue Shoes Awards 2011

Yes, I’m aware that Cold Winters Day is still on the schedule for 2011, but the State gave us 5 days off and I figure I should put them to “good use”. The following is completely unscientific and biased, based purely on my experience.

Best Overall Race:

1) Ray Tanner Home Run 5k/12k – I’ve never done the 5k, but the 12k is a great course in downtown Columbia, going over both bridges and ending in the baseball stadium. Awesome shirts and great crowd support. Ken Lowden does a great job with this race.

2) Governor’s Cup 8k/half – Again a cool and memorable course, if not the best to PR on.  It was a nice tune up for my December marathon. Nice swag with a hat, long sleeve tech tee and finisher’s medal.  3 free preview runs. Kudos to Naomi Haley for making this race even better.

3) Hammer the Hills 10k – Much smaller than the other two – has a crazy hilly course that is challenging but fun.  No shirt but great post-race breakfast and some of the most memorable awards – hammers and other hardware. Yet another great race director job by a fellow runner, Jenn Covington.

Honorable mention: Palmetto Half, Lexington RAH 10k, Snowman 8k, March for Meals 5k


Flattest, most PR friendly course

1) Colonial Cup 5k – pancake-esque.

2) Jingle Bell 5k in Lugoff – pool table, with one bump.

3)  Runway Run 5k – Ironing board flat, but the wind is a factor

Hilliest, most brutal course: (Removing the Blue Ridge Relay)

1) Hammer the Hills 10k – Three words: Saluda. River. Drive. Learn to fear these.

2) March for Meals 5k – Like Colonial Cup with Mt. Everest thrown in the middle.

3) Governor’s Cup – You dont see many 1:30 half marathoners walking, but I saw some on Blossom St this year.  Don’t forget Kilbourne either.

Best shirt:

I like tech shirts. I have enough white cotton tees to build a bonfire in my backyard.  I’d prefer a nice design and hopefully without a million logos on the back.

1) Ray Tanner – Same tech shirt as the USC baseball players wear, and a women’s version as well.

2) Cold Winter’s Day – Really nice tech shirt, different colors.

3) Gov Cup – High quality long sleeve tech shirt

Honorable mention: Hot Summer Night and Born in the USA have the best designed cotton tees.

Best Awards:

1) Snowman 8k – Original artwork by the “Chicken Man”

2) Hammer the Hills – hardware. I got an awesome hammer.

3) Rosewood Eagles 5k – Age groups got regular medals, but the 3rd place framed kids picture is my favorite.

Honorable mention: Race for the Place – ceramic painted tiles


I dont call out races about doing things wrong, because even if they suck, I’m probably going to run them. I know, I have a problem. That being said, here are the things that races didn’t always do right this year:

1) Extremely well marked courses: This should be the absolute number 1  thing on a race directors list, yet there are always a few misdirects every year. I’d prefer USATF certified,  and posted on a website. At the very least, put up a sign or a volunteer at anything even resembling a possible wrong turn.

2) Cost – Look at what other races charge. And please dont ask me to sign up 6 months in advance to get a discount. 5ks in columbia should be 25 bucks, 30 for 10ks. I like “no T shirt options too – helps slow down the white tee bonfire pile.

3) Bathrooms, anyone? – Runners have GI and urinary systems like a 75 year old guy with an enlarged prostate on vacation in Mexico.  Consider a reasonable amount of portapotties for normal people  and then probably double it.

4) Online registration: Its not 1985 anymore. People use this thing called the internet now.

5) Chip timing: See above. Unless its a small mom-and-pop style race, its going to take forever to sort out the awards with bib tags.

6) Results: See above. Post the results online, quickly. Its not that hard. People want to look at what they did, and not a week later when someone gets around to it.

7) Awards – I have a bunch of generic medals that have nothing on them, so I now have no idea where I got them. I really like something creative and memorable like the races mentioned above.  People are used to three deep in every category, preferably every 5 years. If youre not doing this, at least state it so people wont be disappointed.  Overall winners dont double dip into the age groups.  Large races should have separate masters (40+) overall, or even grandmasters (50+).   Get somebody who’s familiar with running to announce the awards, and try to get them out as soon as possible after the last runner crosses the line.

2 comments on “Blue Shoes Awards 2011

  1. Very nice… you and I think a lot a like but you can actually put it into words that make sense!

    Congrats on another great year of running progress!

  2. John Richards says:

    Great Lists!

    If you like chip timing, be wary of races in the Greenville area. The few I’ve done over the past four years have not had chips–and in most, my official result and time has been wrong by two to five spots and up to 30 seconds in one race (not that I was ever in contention for an award–unless first place barefoot is made an award!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s