Category Archives: Races

Ella’s Race ~ 5K & 10K and 1 Mile Fun Run Saturday March 19th!


Are you looking for a 5K , 10K or 1 mile fun run and want to support a great cause in the process? Well lace up your running shoes for Ella’s Race on Saturday March 19, 2016th. The race is hosted by Chick-fil-A Capital Crossing and Falls Village in North Raleigh and benefits The Cure Starts Now and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation to help pediatric research, aid, and support efforts for children with brain cancer & tumors.

The 5K and 10K race will include:

  • ChronoTrack Chip Timing
  • USATF Certified Course (course map)
  • Dri-fit Shirts
  • Age Group Awards
  • Chick-fil-A Food Products at Finish Line
  • Chance to win Chick-fil-A Prizes!

The 1 mile Fun Run includes:

  • Dri-fit Shirt
  • Overall Awards

The 10K and 5K Race start at 8am and 8:10am respectively. The 1 mile fun run is at 9:00am. The course will take you through some of the nearby neighborhoods in beautiful North Raleigh. Directly beside the finish line of the race will be a FREE Family FunZone for children under 12 years of age. The Family FunZone will be open from 7:00-10:00AM on event day and will be filled with free activities and inflatables!

Ella’s Story
Ella was diagnosed April 29, 2008 with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. This is a rare, aggressive, non-operable tumor located in the pons area of the brainstem. The prognosis for this type of tumor is extremely grim. There is no cure, no known effective treatment except for radiation-which, for some, provides only temporary relief of the symptoms.  Ella lost her brave battle on Wednesday, February 8th while at home with her family.

How can you help
Run. Donate. Support. Proceeds of the Chick-fil-A Connect Race Series of Raleigh help organizations fight for children like Ella. Ella’s supporters believe in the work that The Cure Starts Now and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation do. They are partnering to make this race a reality and to save children diagnosed with cancer and brain tumors.

Chance to win FREE Race Registration!
Thanks to my friends at Chic-fil-A I have one FREE 5K and 10K race geistration to give away to Triangle Explorer readers! To enter the giveaway just leave a comment below sharing why you like to run and whether you are looking to do the 5K or 10K. One winner will be picked for each race. You can also earn additional entries into the drawing by sharing a link to this post about Ella’s Race on Twitter and/or facebook. Be sure to tag me @Trianglexplorer and use the hashtag #EllasRace so I can see you have shared the link. I will select 2 winners randomly on Wednesday March 9th and notify the winners by email with the promotional codes. Thank you for helping spread the word about this wonderful cause!

Ella’s Race 2016
When: Saturday March 19, 2016 at 8:00am
Where: Chick-fil-A at Falls Village – 6701 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh, NC
For more information about Ella’s Race and to register visit

ChickfilA Race Series 1


Filed under Events, Races

Discount Code for Bull City Race Fest in Durham


Only one week to go until I run in the Bull City Race Fest & Food Truck Rodeo in Durham. I’ve spent the summer training and am ready to hit the streets of Durham. This will be my first race in the Bull City and I couldn’t be more excited. Fall is a great time for a race in the Triangle. My training for this race has been a bit more casual than for other races, but I’m ready for it and looking forward to a fun race day with friends. Of course hitting the food trucks afterwards is an added bonus!

Bull City Race Fest Discount Code
If you have been on the fence about signing up for the race maybe this will help nudge you over. You can save $5 by using the discount code “BCRFJOHN“.

About Bull City Race Fest & Food Truck Rodeo
The event offers several race options with great courses through downtown Durham. After running you can enjoy a post-race Food Truck Rodeo and Beer Garden. Race day activities include:

  • Gorgeous Half Marathon
  • Fantastic 5 Mile Run
  • Family Friendly 1 Miler!
  • Food Truck Rodeo
  • Beautiful Octoberfest Beer Garden
  • Kids Experience Zone to keep everyone entertained

For more information about the Bull City Race Fest and Food Truck Rodeo visit


Filed under Durham, Races

Bull City Race Fest & Food Truck Rodeo

Bull City Logo

There is still a lot of summer left before us, but for those of you gearing up for fall race season you may already be looking ahead to your races scheduled for October and November. I’m registered to run in the Bull City Race Fest in Durham and have already begun my 12 week half marathon training program. I was recently selected along with several other local runners to be a race ambassador for event. In the coming weeks I will be periodically updating you about the race day activities and sharing about fun local run clubs and interesting places to train around the triangle.

Price Increase

Bull City Race Fest Discount Code
As you know, the registration price for a race typically increases the closer you get to race day. You can beat the next price increase by registering for the Bull City Race Fest by this Friday, July 31st. You can also save $5 by using the discount code “BCRFJOHN“.

About Bull City Race Fest & Food Truck Rodeo
This is the 3rd year for the Bull City Race Fest & Food Truck Rodeo. The event offers several race options with great courses through downtown Durham. After running you can enjoy a post-race Food Truck Rodeo and Beer Garden. Race day activities include:

  • Gorgeous Half Marathon
  • Fantastic 5 Mile Run
  • Family Friendly 1 Miler!
  • Food Truck Rodeo
  • Beautiful Octoberfest Beer Garden
  • Kids Experience Zone to keep everyone entertained

For more information about the Bull City Race Fest and Food Truck Rodeo visit


Filed under Durham, Races, Running

The Sir Walter Miler Returns August 7th

Sir Walter Miler 2015

Have you ever watched somebody run a sub-4 minute mile? Breaking the 4 minute barrier is amazing accomplishment in the running world and on Friday, August 7th, you’ll have a chance to watch some of the best local and national elite runners attempt this incredible feat. 

The event is called the Sir Walter Miler and it takes place on the track next Friday at Meredith College in Raleigh. This year’s event will be even bigger and better than 2014 with 33 men and women elite runners, including two Olympians. The event will also feature a “run store battle” and “run club relay” with some of your favorite local runners going head to head in a friendly competition.

The public is welcome to watch and cheer on the runners as well as attend a pre and post party at Raleigh Brewing Company, where there will be six breweries contributing kegs to raise money for The Umstead Coalition. There will also be food for sale by two great local food trucks: Hanu and CockADoodleMoo.

This is a great community event and a lot of fun to watch. I highly recommend you come out to show your support for these incredible runners. For more information about Sir Walter Miler and a full list of the elite competitors and their bios visit the 2015 event website here.

Schedule of Sir Walter Miler Events

Thursday, August 6th – Eat with the Pros (7pm – click link for tickets)

Friday, August 7th – Sir Walter Miler (RSVP on Facebook) | VIP Experience (click for tickets)

  • 6:00 Pre-party starts at Raleigh Brewing Company
  • 8:30 Running Store Battle (sign up by clicking link)
  • 8:40 Run Club Mile Relay
  • 9:00 National Anthem
  • 9:05 Women’s Elite Mile
  • 9:15 Men’s Elite Mile
  • 9:30 Post-party starts at Raleigh Brewing Company

Saturday, August 8th – Run with the Pros (8am – Umstead Park/Harrison Ave entrance)

For more information about the event or sponsorship, email or contact Pat Price at 919-260-8013. You can also get event updates by following them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Filed under Races, Running

City of Oaks Marathon Race Recap #ExploreSubFour


It’s been a little over a month since I raced in the City of Oaks Marathon back in November. I’ve since had time to reflect on this great local race and wanted to share my recap of the event. I ran the Oaks marathon last year (my first) and finished with a time of 4 hours and 9 minutes. While I was very proud of that time I came away from the experience knowing that if I trained smarter I could come back and achieve a sub-4 hour finish. So I spent most of the summer and early fall of 2014 preparing for my 2nd attempt at a full marathon running with friends from the Big Boss and River Run Clubs in Raleigh. I also made a point of running as much of the actual City of Oaks course as possible, including the dreaded House Creek Trail and the monster hill that claims so many victims at mile 23 of the marathon.

If you aren’t a fan of race recaps I’ll cut right to the chase, I achieved my goal and finished in 3 hours 58 minutes and 21 seconds! For those of you considering running in this great race, read on for my full race recap. I apologize in advance if it comes off as overly dramatic, but this race meant a lot to me and is my biggest achievement as a runner to date. I hope you enjoy my recap!


City of Oaks Starting Line

Race day was a bit cool with temps hovering around 35 degrees at the start, but the weather promised to warm up throughout the morning and the clear skies and low wind made for great conditions for tackling a 26.2 mile run.  I thought ahead and started the race with a hat and gloves that I planned to ditch along the way as things warmed up. I also planned to run with the 4 hour pace group to keep me on target for a sub-4 finish. However, right from the start I had a mistake to overcome. I had misjudged the crowd of runners lining up at the start and the time it would take for us to file through the starting chute. I ended up positioning myself too far behind the pace group and once the race had begun found myself crossing the starting line a good 4 minutes behind them. I immediately began to panic and did the one thing I promised I would not do, I ran faster than I had planned in an effort to catch up.

City of Oaks Race Gear: “No Pain – No Beer”

I spent the first 4 miles of the race slowly working my way through the pack trying to catch the pace group. It took two miles before I could even spot the pacer with the flag way off on the horizon on Western Boulevard.  I finally caught up to them around mile 4.5.  I was a bit worried I had spent too much energy catching up to them, but I was comforted by the fact that I now had a 4 minute buffer as long as I stuck with them and was now on track for a sub-4 hour finish. I only needed to stick with them for next 22 miles!

The two guys leading the pace group were fantastic. They kept the pace on target maintaining a 9:09 minute/mile pace and shouted out our time at each mile marker letting us now how many seconds we were ahead of pace. It really helped me to run with this group as I knew from past race experiences that it can get pretty lonely out there on the final miles of the course and I needed a rabbit to chase in the event I felt myself slacking off on the pace. Around mile 6 two friends from the River Run Club who were running the half marathon passed me. As they passed it was great to chat for a moment and get an energy boost from seeing some familiar faces out there along the course.


Mile 6.5 talking to Anj from River Run Club
Photo Courtesy Fred Thimme

Feeling good after seeing my friends, I plugged away with the pace group as we entered the Cameron Village area. This was around mile 8.5 for me but it is also where the 10K (which follows a slightly different course) finishes. As I passed Cameron Village I heard a booming voice yelling my name. It was my friend Todd, the perennial River Run Club “Fan of the Week” shouting to me as he finished strong across the 10K finish line. Once again it was great to receive words of encouragement from a friend along the course and I felt even more confident as I pressed on.

The next three miles of the course took us through the rolling hills of the beautiful Cameron Village neighborhood. Last year these small hills caught me by surprise and sapped me of my strength. Not so this time around as I was physically and mentally prepared having run this section of the course a few times over the past year in preparation. It felt great to run this section with confidence and the course knowledge of what was to come.


Mile 11 Along Clark Avenue

As we approached the Meredith College Campus at mile 11 the half marathoners split off to finish their last two miles to the finish on Hillsborough Street. Full marathoners on the other hand entered the campus to spend the next 13 miles of the race on the Raleigh greenway. I had run this stretch of greenway from Meredith College to Shelley lake in North Raleigh several times over the summer. As we entered the trail I felt a twinge of panic because my legs were starting to feel a little tired and I knew we had so much further to go. I quickly pushed this out of my mind. This greenway had been my home during much of my training. I was very familiar with it and I knew what it would take to run it successfully.

As we ventured through the forested greenway trail I couldn’t help but take in the sights of the fall foliage. This was my first race not using an ipod and I really enjoyed being more connected with my surroundings and what was going on around me. Some of the runners in out group were chatting, but I knew I needed to conserve my energy and limited my talking to a grunt or two along the way. As we approached mile 15 the greenway briefly opened up to a street and the McDonalds behind Crabtree Valley Mall. This is a popular spot for spectators to cheer on the runners. I was shocked to see my friends Todd and Brian from the River Run Club there cheering on the competitors. As I plugged on past mile 15 I knew the next portion of the race was where I would have to fend off fatigue and tried to keep my head clear and focused on my goal.

Thumbs up at mile 15!
photo courtesy Todd Griffin

Sure enough at mile 17 I began to feel the fatigue set in. Unlike last year, this time around i did a better job of hydrating properly and took extra  energy gels along the way to make sure I didn’t run out of fuel and hit the wall like I did in 2013. I think ultimately I took 5-6 GUs throughout the race and I would often take two cups of water or one cup of water and one Gatorade at each aid station as we passed. This helped A LOT as I never felt completely depleted of energy.

At the turn around at mile 17.5 I put my head down and went to work. I never took my eyes off the back of the pacers. I knew I had the energy to finish. I jut needed to keep my head clear and stick with the pace group. There were a few times between miles 20 and 22 I felt myself slipping several yards behind the pace group. A few times I realized I was the last runner in the pack. Each time I would slowly work my way back to the front. Again, it was great to have that pace rabbit to chase!

Killer House Creek Trail Hill at Mile #23

As we approached mile 22 I heard one of the pacers yell out “This is the hill that will make or break your race!” We all knew what was coming. I had practiced running the House Creek Trail hill at least a dozen times during my training over the summer. I was ready to give it my best shot. As we worked our way up the steep incline I felt my pace slipping and I shortened my stride.  I didn’t care that I had fallen to the back of the pack again. I knew I wasn’t going to let this hill beat me. As I methodically worked my way up the steep grade I passed a few runners from our pace group who were now walking. I  did my best to utter a word or two of encouragement as I passed them and continued on to the top.

Just as I reach the top of the hill around mile 23 my right calf and thigh muscle seized up with the most intense leg cramp I’ve ever experienced. I immediately came to a full stop and began massaging my thigh with both hands. Much to my horror my right foot began to cramp as well! I hobbled forward forward a few steps but the cramping persisted and for a brief moment I thought my race was over. I stopped again and massaged my leg. As I stood there on the side of the trail rubbing my leg it occurred to me that the pace group was long gone. I was all alone on the trail and felt defeated and for the first time that day and felt like giving up. But then I thought about all the preparation I had done, all the weekends logging long runs on this trail  and all my talk about achieving a sub-4 finish. I couldn’t end it like this!

Final Stretch Mile #23-24 on Meredith College Greenway

Thinking about my training and thoughts of giving up when I had come so far triggered a surge of adrenaline that energized me. I muttered a few choice curse words to myself and started running… again albeit a bit more slowly at frst. There was no way I was going to give up now – not when I am only 3 miles from the finish I thought to myself. As I continued to run I started to feel the cramp loosen up after a minute and a minute or two later it had mostly subsided and I was back running at my goal pace.  I looked at my watch and knew that If I could just hold it together for these last 3 miles I still might be able to finish in under four hours and achieve my goal.

As I continued on along the trail through Meredith College towards the exit on to Hillsborough Street I could still see the the pace group about a quarter mile ahead. I knew I had a 4 minute or so buffer and told myself I just needed to keep them in sight on my way to the finish. I felt a huge sigh of relief when I exited the greenway at mile 24 and started the final 2 mile stretch on Hillsborough street.  This part of the course includes a short out and back so I actually saw the pace group running towards me a few minutes later after they made the turn around to head to the finish. The pacers yelled to me. I knew I couldn’t catch them but I locked my eye onto them and mentally anchored myself to them to pull me in to the finish and I felt myself pick up the pace once again.

Approaching the finish line on Hillsborough Street
Photo Courtesy Jon Odgers

With the pacers a good 1/4 mile ahead of me I made my way down the last mile on Hillsborough Street. I looked at my watch and realized I had 10+ minutes to run this final mile and I would still come in just under 4 hours.  I breifly pulled out my ipod thinking it would be good to listen to some music to give me one last surge, but I quickly realized I would rather take in the sight and sounds of that last mile so I put it back in my pocket.

I’m really glad I did this because as I approached the final stretch I ran past several of my friends from the River Run Club & Big Boss Run Club and it was great to see them and hear them shout words of encouragement as I approached the finish. In the back of my mind I realized they probably thought I was going to miss my sub-4 goal since they must have seen the h hour pacers come by minutes before without me, but I knew I had it at this point. I got one last burst of energy and put everything I had left into a sprint towards the finish line.

City of Oaks Marathon Finisher Medal

As I crossed the finish the clock read something around 4:02 but I stopped my garmin just as I crossed and I knew it told the real story. It read 3:58:24 and was later confirmed by my official chip time of 3:58:21. Mission accomplished! After receiving my dinner plate size finishers medal I hobbled over to my wife and friends to celebrate. I was having a little trouble walking but the elation of finishing the race and knowing I had achieved my sub-4 goal made it all melt away. This day was easily my proudest moment as a runner and it was great to celebrate it with friends.

The City of Oaks is a fantastic local race. The course is beautiful, the volunteers are great, and the post race celebration with free food and beer is an awesome plus. I will be taking a break from running full marathons for a while as I focus on shorter distances in the coming year, but I would highly recommend this race to anyone. You can learn more about the race and register for the 2015 event by visiting the City of Oaks Marathon website.


River Run Club Represents at City of Oaks

Before I wrap up this race recap I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout out to my friends and fellow runners at The River Run Club and Big Boss Run Club. Many of whom also ran the City of Oaks Half Marathon and 10K and had great races themselves that day, but were still kind enough to hang out afterwards to support me when I finished. Both of these groups are fantastic local run clubs you should definitely look into if you are looking for fun people to run with. This was my final full marathon (for a while at least) but here’s to another fun year of running great races with good friends in 2015. Happy running!!

Post Race Celebration!

City of Oaks Marathon 2014
26.2 Miles
3 hours 58 minutes 21 Seconds


Filed under Races