Category Archives: Races

Race to the Top Duke Energy Center Charlotte Post Race

Duke Energy Tower - Charlotte, NC

Saturday, 3-26-2011 the inaugural Charlotte Duke Energy Center Race to the Top took place. Over 500 runners braved the chilly, rainy spring morning to give it their best shot. 2011 Results

There was a lot of buzz in the Charlotte running community leading up to the race. Participants were to race to the top of the Duke Energy Center’s 49th floor, divided into flights based upon their chosen experience level. Climbers started in 15 second waves to reduce congestion, while allowing for an optimal climbing environment.

The energy at the start of the race was amazing. Everyone shared the same thought; how is this going to go? Participants talked, shared strategies and discussed the fact that today we were all setting the bar for next year.

Dowd Y group before the race

Flight 1 started promptly at 9:00 am. I nestled myself somewhere in the middle of the 50 climber flight. Walking up to the entry door, a calm feeling came over my body…no nervous energy; instead I would compare the feeling to bliss. After a 15 second count down, I was instructed to go. The rest went by very quickly; focus immediately shifted to my feet and breathing. My strategy was bounding, with an explosion from each right turn. At floor 34, I grabbed a much needed sip of water (your mouth becomes very dry in a stairwell), and pushed the last few flights to complete just under 8 minutes, 7:58 to be exact. 49 floors, no problem!

This post race report would not be complete without calling out a few other local friends that participated. In addition, I would like to highlight  the 16 Charlotte Firefighters that competed in full gear!

FName LName City State Div ChipTime Overall SexPl DivPl
Chad Crockford Charlotte NC M25-29 7:57 6 6 1
Jeff Dufresne Charlotte NC M30-34 8:04 8 8 3
Michael Greene Charlotte NC M25-29 8:57 25 23 9
Liz Barrett Charlotte NC F25-29 9:31 44 4 1
Sharon Harmon Charlotte NC F40-44 10:33 105 16 3
Brian Middleton Charlotte NC M30-34 10:54 129 108 21
Ward Gibson Charlotte NC M30-34 11:34 178 141 29


16 Charlotte Firefighters participated in the inaugural Race to the Top in Charlotte, NC on March 26, 2011. The CFD members, wearing their firefighting gear made the intense climb to the top of the Duke Energy Center's 49th floor. Photo Credit Flickr: charlottefire

Overall the experience was amazing. Two things I would like to see next year

1.        At the finish (top of the building) a view would be nice…instead we were lead from the hallway through an industrial room to the elevator 🙁

2.        More air in the stairwell. Breathing was a challenge, the oxygen was heavy and post-race my lungs felt congested, a few other participants shared this same concern.

The event was well executed by the Charlotte Sports Commission, and I would like to thank all the volunteers that supported all climbers.

Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon Runners

With Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon 2010 – Amica Insurance Half Marathon in the books, I wanted to congratulate a few friends that are runners in Charlotte; these runners are also active on Twitter, so follow them for updates.

Jordan Kinley - Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon 2010 - image by

Jordan Kinley captured 1st place in the full marathon again this year, with an impressive time of 2:24:46 (5 minutes faster than last year). If you do the math, that’s a 5:32 pace for 26.2 miles. Keep up with Jordan @jokin359 or

Jennifer Decurtins achieved a personal record (PR), with a time of 1:52:12. @jdecurtins has improved with each race and blogs regularly

Seth Wyatt crushed his first half marathon with a time of 1:57:34. @sethjwyatt also told me this was his first road race…those results are pretty amazing if you ask me.

Heather Murphy ran a great race with a time of 2:11:00. While not running @hlmurphy works in web design and mixed-media, checkout her out

Melissa Lamkin also ran her first half marathon with a solid time of 2:15:42. @MelissaLamkin is an active runner in Charlotte and I predict more long distance races in her future.

Ward Gibson & Philip Ciccarello Mile 12.5

Ward Gibson who teaches athletic conditioning at the Dowd Y, and is very active in the social media scene, completed the half marathon with a time of 2:15:49. Next year, Ward is running Myrtle Beach half and a handful of other races. @wardgibson or @fitnesschamp

Mary Catherine Dolphens was very pleased with her time of 2:18:00. @MCDolphens future contains more half’s and a possible full in 2011.

Genevieve Jooste ran her first half marathon in 2:20:37, which is awesome. @GenevieveJooste may have been bit by the running bug, and will be running more races in 2011.

Richard Groves cruised in with a time of 2:26:56, not too bad when you consider the fact that @englishinvader had a cold.

Brian Francis completed the half marathon in 2:42:49, running is growing on @BrianDFrancis according to this tweet, yet I expect to see him doing many more races in 2011.

Even though these next few runners are not on Twitter, I would like to give them a special shout out for their achievements yesterday:

Marathon – Billy Shue 2:41:18 5th place overall
Marathon – Kevin Ballantine 3:04:10 1st marathon
Marathon – Rasmus Pedersen 3:33:23 12th marathon
Half Marathon – Dana Scofield 1:49:28 PR
Half Marathon – Tony Jabon 1:49:49 10 seconds away from a new PR

SunTrust Richmond Marathon Reflection

Dubbed “America’s Friendliest Marathon”, the SunTrust Richmond Marathon surely lived up to its name. With the sun shinning, marathoners were off promptly at 8am. During the first few miles, runners got comfortable and settled into pace. Around mile 6 we descended towards the James River. Before crossing the small bridge, a large crowd cheered us though, what an awesome party zone. The next couple of miles were next to the river, which offered great scenery and the ability to relax a bit. Miles 9-12 had some rolling hills, but were soon forgotten after 13-15 which was mostly flat.

Next we crossed the James River again via Robert E. Lee Bridge to break mile 16. The next few miles were all about adjusting pace and relying on crowd support. After mile 20 my legs signaled fatigue and I had to slow down. Even though miles 20-24 were flat, my legs were done, and I battled cramps combined with lower stomach pains. During the last 2 miles I made a final push and sprinted the down to the finish.

Even with my Boston Qualifier blown, I had a great race and achieved a new PR. Most importantly I had fun doing it, and will definitely return to run the Richmond Marathon again.

Would also like to recognize all the of the other runners from the Charlotte region that participated.  Théoden Jane did a great write up, so I am going to recommended his blog post.

Richmond Marathon – Let the taper begin

SunTrust Richmond Marathon logo

My last long run is officially done! Since the end of August, I have been training hard for Richmond Marathon on November 13th. There is a special goal behind all of the hard work… to achieve a Boston Qualifier (BQ). Granted this is only my second marathon, the goal is realistic.

The training approach for this marathon has not been about quantity, but quality miles, including various speed work. Here is a sample week from my training:

Monday –  Easy Run: 4 mi @7:31
Tuesday  – Rest / Cross-train
Wednesday  – Tempo Run: 6 mi Inc Warm 4 mi @6:17; Cool
Thursday – Rest / Cross-train
Friday – Rest / Cross-train
Saturday – Long Run: 20 mi @7:31
Sunday – Rest

As you can see, this is not a high-mileage program, allowing my legs received plenty of rest before my longest run. These adjustments have paid dividends, as all of my training runs have been solid. The true test will be on November 13th when I run the Richmond Marathon. Expecting  a flat course with heavy crowd support, let’s hope the weather cooperates.

See you in Richmond.

POST Marathon Reflection

13942_206696601191_533271191_2944757_3212058_nWith my first marathon in the bag, I wanted to do a brief reflection on my experience. Running 26.2 miles was amazing. The course was a great tour through Charlotte, and everything was organized very well. During the marathon I had great support from many friends, plus locals that came out to support the runners. Below are a few things that I will remember for next time…

1. Start out slower. My first 13.1 mile split was 1:37, and my finishing time was 3:34. The last half of the race I slowed down considerably. At mile 18 and mile 23, I had to stop and stretch due to leg cramps.

2. Stretch more before the start. Yes, I am guilty of not stretching before the race. I did go for a 10 minute jig-jog, and when I got back to stretch it was too close to the start, so I just lined up.

3. Better diet. The night before the marathon I ate a few pancakes and a couple pieces of bread. The morning of the marathon I ate a banana with half a bagel. Next marathon I will eat a bit more food to ensure extra calories are stored.

I wanted to extend a special thanks first to my wife Adrienne. She provided amazing support and dealt with my training program / diet for the last 4 months. Second, my parents who made the 5 hour drive to run in the 5k, and support me at the finish. Third I would like to thank the local Charlotte Running community for all the tips and support prior and during the marathon; especially Tony Jabon, Shelby Harrington, Ieva M. Augstums, Kristen Rigby, and Rasmus Eger Pedersen – thank you!