My Profile

@jkelling

Kansas City, MO Raving since 2023 Active 18 hours, 3 minutes ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    RWB, KC Running Co., KC Smart Running

  • Rave race:

    Running With the Cows, Tough Ruck Boston

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Running With the Cows (Half) and Tough Ruck Boston (again) and MiniIndy MegaMini

  • I run because:
    • I had a heart attack. They told me I was dying. I have rescue kittens to watch after, so I said that’s not going to work for me. I’m a back-of-the-packer, but I do all my races in body armor, so if you see me say hi as you pass me on the course.

     

    • I enjoy races. I enjoy the community. I enjoy the swag as a tangible memory of where I’ve been. Sometimes a TBI comes out of nowhere and you don’t remember it…the tangible things sometimes help restore the memories because you can engage more than one sense at a time. I enjoy the people who have helped motivate me along the way, and I especially enjoy those who I can motivate to attempt or finish a new distance or set a new PR, or up the weight they carry a couple more pounds for a ruck. I enjoy the knowledge that of all the hobbies we could have, at least this one is good for our health, and that keeps me around longer to spend time with my rescue kittens.

     

    • People have asked me about my ratings in the past. For me a 5-star (shoe) race is one where I will forsake all other races to do that race, year after year. The ones I click refresh on their signup page when I know it’s too early, because…maybe… I hold their medals in the slow season and think back to the great memories of those races and the great people there and look forward to the time of year when I’ll be out early at the starting line again. There’s a lot of great races out there that I want to try, so it DOES actually take a lot to get me there, but like I said, there’s a lot of great races out there, which is why I can honestly say I have as many as I do. 4-star races are the ones I thought were exceptional. It was an excellent race from production to execution. I may try a different one next year when there are two (or more) on the same date, since I’m within driving distance to over 1000 a year. 3-star races…I’m glad I did it. That was a fun race. Nothing went horribly south. Checked that box, doubt I’ll find need to go back unless it quite literally is the only one that weekend and I can’t find a virtual in time. 2-star races are an “I want my money back” sort of event. Maybe not literally as in I’m going to call and demand a refund because that’s petty and Terms always spell out for you how that’ll play out…not that people don’t try… Barring a new RD, course overhaul, reboot of the event, you won’t catch me there again next year. A 1-star event is not only “I want my money back” but “I want those x hours of my life back.” I cannot legitimately imagine a race by professionals going that south unless they publish the wrong location and don’t let anybody know or there are tons of blind turns on the course with no markings and a bunch of us get lost. Running out of medals or not having water on the course, that’s a 1-star event, but even the mediocre inaugural events I’ve been to can top that. Still…it’s out there.

My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

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Future Races

Future Races (265)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
10K Kansas City, MO May 27, 2024
12 hr Norton, KS May 30, 2024
10K Kansas City, MO Jun 1, 2024
5K Overland Park, KS Jun 8, 2024
Half Marathon Clinton, MO Jun 15, 2024
Half Marathon Saint Joseph, MO Jun 16, 2024
5K Overland Park, MO Jun 22, 2024
Half Marathon Duluth, MN Jun 22, 2024
10K Columbia, MO Jun 28, 2024
8 Miler Independence, MO Jun 29, 2024
15 Miler La Cygne, KS Jun 29, 2024
20 Miler Lawrence, KS Jun 29, 2024
4 Miler Kansas City, MO Jul 4, 2024
8K Atchison, KS Jul 20, 2024
5K Gardner, KS Aug 3, 2024
5K Gardner, KS Aug 3, 2024
10K Parkville, MO Aug 18, 2024
Half Marathon Sylvan Grove, KS Aug 24, 2024
5 Miler Bonner Springs, KS Aug 24, 2024
9.11 Miler Columbia, MO Sep 7, 2024
10K Kansas, MO Sep 8, 2024
5K Drexel, MO Sep 14, 2024
25K Manhattan, KS Sep 15, 2024
10K Overland Park, MO Sep 15, 2024
4 Miler Kansas City, MO Sep 21, 2024
10K Kansas City, MO Sep 22, 2024
Half Marathon St. Joseph, MO Sep 28, 2024
10K Union, MO Sep 28, 2024
Half Marathon Cape Girardeau, MO Sep 29, 2024
5K Fort Leavenworth, KS Oct 6, 2024
5K Olathe, KS Oct 12, 2024
Half Marathon Wichita, KS Oct 13, 2024
Half Marathon Kansas City, MO Oct 19, 2024
Half Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 20, 2024
Half Marathon Salina, KS Nov 2, 2024
10K Weston, MO Nov 2, 2024
Half Marathon Lawrence, KS Nov 3, 2024
Half Marathon Springfield, MO Nov 3, 2024
7.6K Republic, MO Nov 9, 2024
Half Marathon Ottawa, KS Nov 23, 2024
Half Marathon Overland Park, KS Nov 24, 2024
5K Kansas City, MO 2024
10K Emporia, KS 2024
12K Kansas City, MO 2024
5K Rayville, MO 2024
5K Overland Park, MO 2024
Half Marathon Kailua-Kona, HI TBD
Half Marathon Siem Reap, Cambodia TBD
10 Miler Washington, DC TBD
Half Marathon Dorking, United Kingdom TBD
Half Marathon Bagan, Myanmar TBD
Half Marathon Baltimore, MD TBD
Half Marathon Springfield, MO TBD
Half Marathon Springfield, MO TBD
Marathon White Sands, NM TBD
Marathon White Sands, NM TBD
5K Kansas City, MO TBD
Half Marathon Blanding, UT TBD
Half Marathon Bird In Hand, PA TBD
5K Bird In Hand, PA TBD
15K Utica, NY TBD
10K Boulder, CO TBD
12 hr Boiling Springs, PA TBD
Half Marathon Greensboro, NC TBD
20K Carlsbad, CA TBD
10 Miler Washington, DC TBD
Half Marathon Houston, TX TBD
Half Marathon Sai Kung, Hong Kong TBD
Half Marathon Denver, CO TBD
Half Marathon Denver, CO TBD
Half Marathon Bellvue, CO TBD
Half Marathon Tybee Island, GA TBD
10K Tybee Island, GA TBD
5K Tybee Island, GA TBD
2.8 Miler Tybee Island, GA TBD
Half Marathon Johnston, IA TBD
10K Dallas, TX TBD
Half Marathon Dallas, TX TBD
Marathon Hilton Head Island, SC TBD
Half Marathon Hilton Head Island, SC TBD
Half Marathon Daytona Beach, FL TBD
Half Marathon Des Moines, IA TBD
10K Lenexa, KS TBD
10K St. Joseph, MO TBD
15K Columbia, TN TBD
5K Indianapolis, IN TBD
10K Overland Park, KS TBD
22.2K New Valley Governorate, Egypt TBD
Half Marathon Abilene, KS TBD
Half Marathon Waterfall, PA TBD
Half Marathon Placencia, Belize TBD
Half Marathon Evansville, IN TBD
Half Marathon Potomac, MD TBD
Half Marathon Potomac, MD TBD
Half Marathon Fargo, ND TBD
Half Marathon Fargo, ND TBD
5K Fargo, ND TBD
Half Marathon Fargo, ND TBD
Half Marathon Fayetteville, AR TBD
Half Marathon Newark, DE TBD
Marathon Willard, MO TBD
50K Willard, MO TBD
Half Marathon Gettysburg, PA TBD
Half Marathon Kiowa, MT TBD
Half Marathon Lincoln, NE TBD
Half Marathon Lincoln, NE TBD
Half Marathon Helena, MT TBD
Half Marathon Wilson, WY TBD
Half Marathon Townsend, TN TBD
Half Marathon Lee's Summit, MO TBD
Half Marathon Greenville, SC TBD
Half Marathon Overland Park, KS TBD
Half Marathon Nashville, TN TBD
5K State Rd, NC TBD
Half Marathon Havana, Cuba TBD
Half Marathon Lake Havasu City, AZ TBD
5K Lake Havasu City, AZ TBD
Half Marathon Sylvan Grove, KS TBD
10K Olathe, KS TBD
15K Olathe, KS TBD
Half Marathon Honey Creek, IA TBD
Half Marathon Alamogordo, NM TBD
Half Marathon Fort Collins, CO TBD
Half Marathon Huntersville, NC TBD
5K Huntersville, NC TBD
Half Marathon Knoxville, TN TBD
Half Marathon Indianapolis, IN TBD
10K South Hero, VT TBD
Half Marathon Snoqualmie Pass, WA TBD
10K Greensboro, NC TBD
Half Marathon Jekyll Island, GA TBD
Half Marathon Osawatomie, KS TBD
Half Marathon Wadi Rum Village, Jordan TBD
Half Marathon Koloa, HI TBD
Half Marathon Moshi, Tanzania TBD
Half Marathon Golden, CO TBD
Half Marathon Page, AZ TBD
Half Marathon Page, AZ TBD
Sprint Whiting, IN TBD
Marathon Snoqualmie Pass, WA TBD
Half Marathon Lincoln, NE TBD
Half Marathon Lincoln, NE TBD
Half Marathon Lincoln, NE TBD
Half Marathon Little Rock, AR TBD
Marathon Little Rock, AR TBD
Marathon Inverness, United Kingdom TBD
10K Inverness, United Kingdom TBD
Half Marathon Palenque, Mexico TBD
Half Marathon Louisville, KY TBD
Marathon Hiawatha, KS TBD
17.75K Triangle, VA TBD
17.75K Triangle, VA TBD
20 Miler Osawatomie, KS TBD
Half Marathon Millinocket, ME TBD
12 hr Webster, NY TBD
12 hr Webster, NY TBD
Half Marathon Billings, MT TBD
29K Fuji-Kawaguchiko, Japan TBD
Half Marathon Hermosa, SD TBD
Half Marathon Seattle, WA TBD
Half Marathon Napa, CA TBD
Half Marathon Naples, Italy TBD
Half Marathon Fayetteville, WV TBD
Half Marathon Allen, TX TBD
Half Marathon Newport News, VA TBD
5K Newport News, VA TBD
Half Marathon Niagara Falls, Canada TBD
Half Marathon Oklahoma City, OK TBD
Half Marathon Oklahoma City, OK TBD
9 hr Chanute, KS TBD
Half Marathon Omaha, NE TBD
8.8K Osaka, Japan TBD
Half Marathon Wilburton, OK TBD
Half Marathon Fort Worth, TX TBD
Half Marathon Kingsville, Canada TBD
Half Marathon Lawrence, KS TBD
Marathon Pisa, Italy TBD
Half Marathon Tromso, Norway TBD
5K Kansas City, KS TBD
Half Marathon West Lafayette, IN TBD
Half Marathon Woodville, AL TBD
10K Woodville, AL TBD
Half Marathon Woodville, AL TBD
25K Bath TWP, OH TBD
Half Marathon Pleasant Hill, MO TBD
5K Huntsville, AL TBD
10K Huntsville, AL TBD
Front Half Marathon Huntsville, AL TBD
Back Half Marathon Huntsville, AL TBD
Marathon Huntsville, AL TBD
Half Marathon Estes Park, CO TBD
Half Marathon Columbia, MO TBD
Half Marathon Burnaby, Canada TBD
Half Marathon Bentonville, AR TBD
Half Marathon Holden Beach, NC TBD
10K Franklin, WI TBD
Half Marathon Oak Island, NC TBD
Half Marathon Ocean Isle Beach, NC TBD
Half Marathon Sunset Beach, NC TBD
Half Marathon Lexington, KY TBD
Half Marathon Burlington, NC TBD
6 Miler Ridgedale, MO TBD
Half Marathon Springfield, MO TBD
10K Springfield, MO TBD
5K Springfield, MO TBD
1 Miler Springfield, MO TBD
Half Marathon Tucson, AZ TBD
Half Marathon Oak Ridge, TN TBD
10K Lawrence, KS TBD
7K Mansfield, OH TBD
Half Marathon Stanley, VA TBD
Half Marathon Savannah, GA TBD
10 Miler Huntsville, AL TBD
Half Marathon Clewiston, FL TBD
10K Clewiston, FL TBD
6 hr Topeka, KS TBD
12 hr Topeka, KS TBD
Half Marathon Split, Croatia TBD
Half Marathon Memphis, TN TBD
5K Overland Park, KS TBD
10K Austin, TX TBD
Half Marathon Blue River, OR TBD
10K Little River, KS TBD
Half Marathon Washington, DC TBD
Half Marathon Snoqualmie Pass, WA TBD
Half Marathon Snoqualmie Pass, WA TBD
10K Fort Worth, TX TBD
Half Marathon Fort Worth, TX TBD
5K Fort Worth, TX TBD
Marathon Lawrence, KS TBD
Half Marathon King George Island, Antarctica TBD
Half Marathon Apache Junction, AZ TBD
10K Apache Junction, AZ TBD
10K Kansas City, MO TBD
Half Marathon Kansas City, MO TBD
5K Excelsior Springs, MO TBD
5K Lenexa, KS TBD
5K Lenexa, KS TBD
10 Miler Vienna, IL TBD
Marathon Vienna, IL TBD
Marathon Snoqualmie Pass, WA TBD
Half Marathon New Hill, NC TBD
10K Lawson, MO TBD
Half Marathon Tulsa, OK TBD
26.5 Miler Tulsa, OK TBD
Half Marathon Wilmington, NC TBD
5K Wilmington, NC TBD
5K Mt Airy, NC TBD
5K Lawrence, KS TBD
Half Marathon Bath, NY TBD
5K Bath, NY TBD
Half Marathon Greenbrier, AR TBD
Half Marathon Morristown, TN TBD
Half Marathon West Yellowstone, MT TBD
Half Marathon Council Bluffs, IA TBD
Half Marathon Council Bluffs, IA TBD
Half Marathon Oakhurst, CA TBD
Half Marathon Virgin, UT TBD
Half Marathon Virgin, UT TBD
Half Marathon Zionsville, IN TBD
Half Marathon Anchorage, AK TBD
1 Miler Columbia, MO TBD
2.8 Miler Columbia, MO TBD
5K Columbia, MO TBD
10K Columbia, MO TBD

Past Races (90)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Joplin, MO May 18, 2024
Half Marathon Bucyrus, KS May 11, 2024
Half Marathon Indianapolis, IN May 4, 2024
5K Indianapolis, IN May 4, 2024
4 Miler Kansas City, MO Apr 28, 2024
Half Marathon Topeka, KS Apr 27, 2024
5K Excelsior Springs, MO Apr 21, 2024
Half Marathon Olathe, KS Apr 20, 2024
Marathon Concord, MA Apr 14, 2024
5K Kansas City, MO Apr 13, 2024
Half Marathon Kansas City, MO Apr 6, 2024
5K Kansas City, MO Mar 30, 2024
Half Marathon Liberty, MO Mar 23, 2024
Half Marathon St. Joseph, MO Mar 17, 2024
5K Leawood, KS Mar 16, 2024
10K Lenexa, KS Mar 10, 2024
4 Miler Kansas City, MO Mar 9, 2024
Half Marathon Kansas City, MO Mar 2, 2024
10K Parkville, MO Mar 1, 2024
10 Miler Kansas City, KS Feb 24, 2024
10K Independence, MO Feb 11, 2024
10K Overland Park, MO Feb 10, 2024
10K St. Joseph, MO Feb 4, 2024
15K Challenge (5K + 10K) Kansas City, MO Jan 28, 2024
10K Overland Park, KS Jan 1, 2024
10K Parkville, MO Dec 31, 2023
10K Easton, KS Dec 30, 2023
12K Liberty, MO Dec 17, 2023
12K Lee\'s Summit, MO Dec 16, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Dec 9, 2023
5K Overland Park, KS Dec 3, 2023
5K Greensboro, NC Nov 23, 2023
5K Lawrence, KS Nov 12, 2023
10K Parkville, MO Nov 11, 2023
5.5K Republic, MO Nov 11, 2023
Half Marathon Lee\'s Summit, MO Nov 5, 2023
10K Lee\'s Summit, MO Nov 4, 2023
5K Belton, MO Oct 29, 2023
10K Kansas City, MO Oct 28, 2023
5K Olathe, KS Oct 22, 2023
Half Marathon Kansas City, MO Oct 21, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Oct 15, 2023
5K Overland Park, KS Oct 14, 2023
5K Fort Leavenworth, KS Oct 8, 2023
10K Louisburg, KS Oct 7, 2023
5K Olathe, KS Oct 7, 2023
5K Martin City, MO Oct 1, 2023
6.6K Lawson, MO Sep 30, 2023
10K Weston, MO Sep 30, 2023
10K Kansas City, MO Sep 24, 2023
4 Miler Kansas City, MO Sep 23, 2023
10K Overland Park, MO Sep 17, 2023
5K Drexel, MO Sep 16, 2023
10K Kansas, MO Sep 10, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Sep 9, 2023
5K Overland Park, MO Sep 9, 2023
5K Leawood, KS Sep 4, 2023
5K De Soto, KS Sep 3, 2023
10K Wathena, MO Sep 2, 2023
10K Parkville, MO Aug 27, 2023
15K Shawnee, KS Aug 26, 2023
5K Smithville, MO Aug 26, 2023
5K Gladstone, MO Aug 19, 2023
5K Belton, MO Aug 12, 2023
20 Miler Garnett, KS Aug 5, 2023
5K Gardner, KS Aug 5, 2023
5K Bonner Springs, KS Jul 29, 2023
8K Atchison, KS Jul 22, 2023
4 Miler Kansas City, MO Jul 4, 2023
5K Overland Park, KS Jul 2, 2023
4 Miler Independence, MO Jul 1, 2023
Half Marathon Parkville, MO Jun 24, 2023
5K Lawrence, KS Jun 17, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Jun 10, 2023
5K Lee\\\'s Summit, MO Jun 9, 2023
10K Kansas City, MO Jun 3, 2023
5K North Kansas City, MO May 22, 2023
Marathon Hiawatha, KS May 14, 2023
5K Bucyrus, KS May 13, 2023
5K Olathe, KS May 13, 2023
4 Miler Kansas City, MO Apr 30, 2023
5K Lawrence, KS Apr 22, 2023
5K St Joseph, MO Apr 15, 2023
5K Excelsior Springs, MO Apr 15, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Apr 8, 2023
5K Liberty, MO Mar 25, 2023
5K Leawood, KS Mar 18, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Mar 11, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Mar 4, 2023
5K Kansas City, MO Jan 29, 2023

My Raves

This race was once on the verge of disappearing, which saddened me to no end. It's always been my favorite 5k so this year I figured I'd try the half. … MORE

This race was once on the verge of disappearing, which saddened me to no end. It’s always been my favorite 5k so this year I figured I’d try the half. Weather is odd this time of year. I’ve been out there on cold runs and out there on hot ones, this unfortunately was the latter, as 99% of this course, there is zero shade available. My shoes, despite having only 100 miles on them were rubbing my ankle raw. Sporting $150 running shoes this time around, I usually do races in combat boots. This is why. By mile 3 I was miserable, so it was going to make for a long race. On the upside, the volunteers were amazing at motivation and water and gatorade felt like it was available every mile. If not it was pretty close, and it was always cold. I appreciated that immensely.

The course is rolling hills, and if you like the country, it really is quite beautiful out there. If you think “big ol’ open field of nothing” then this probably isn’t going to get you psyched up. If nothing else, what should is the gargantuan spread at the end. It seems like everyone in town brings a dish, and I stopped counting at 30 different offerings, plus the standard cookies/oranges/apples/bananas. Some of these folks can really cook, too.

I’m honestly sad it’s over. I’m sad my shoes betrayed me, though I did manage to somehow eek out a not-horrible time, which, between the shoes and a stress fracture that I told my physical therapist I’d go easy on (sorry, Doc), sort of surprised me. I think it would actually be a fast-ish course were it not for the oppressive heat and humidity on what really is the first warm race of the year. Time to get used to that again I suppose.

The medal is always nicely done and features the cartoon cow mascot in tennis shoes in a different scene/pose each year. It’s a colorful cutout medal that still has nice weight to it and the ribbon is beautiful and features the date, length and 15th anniversary. I feel like ribbons are an afterthought too often, but this is truly part of the medal. The 5k shirt is a nice cotton that wears well and the half is a tech T. They also have nice mugs and water bottle available for sale.

This has been a bucket list race for me since my heart attack when they didn’t know if I’d ever do a quarter mile again. While I’m glad to check it off, I’m looking forward to hitting it up next year for a faster time. Hope to see you all there.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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You. MUST. Do. This. Race! (edited to fix transcription error) Race was flat and fast, but the humidity was stifling, a reminder that mother nature doesn't always give us the … MORE

You. MUST. Do. This. Race! (edited to fix transcription error)

Race was flat and fast, but the humidity was stifling, a reminder that mother nature doesn’t always give us the constant tailwind we want. If you’re from a part of the country where that’s not going to break you off, I can see this being a PR course though. I was on the injured list, absolutely NOT used to the humidity and wearing a 34lb vest and actually did better than I thought I would. Did horrible, don’t get me wrong, but less horrible than I thought I would, and I cannot wait to go back!

TL;DR:
Lots of karaoke and garage bands along the way mean you’re pretty much always hearing the locals play music until you get to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, dare I say the pièce de résistance of racing, for the cars and for us. It was incredibly thrilling to run down (and up) under the stadium and onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a lap around the track.

The Details:
A couple of the locals were out providing calories in one form or another and the lady with the “high octane” liquid encouragement in the last few miles: We needed that. We love you. Thank you so much. These are of course “unofficial” components to the race, so I don’t want to dwell too much on those, but it is a sign of positive race-day energy and just how much this community is behind the race.

Back to the races…so the course is set up with 15 water or Gatorade (or both) stations which as an out of towner that seemed crazy high, but I cannot overstate how wonderful that was. Not just because in that humidity I was constantly thirsty (drank over a half gallon on my back), but because it was such a motivator when you saw one upcoming. Let’s talk about signage. This doesn’t get discussed enough. Little mile markers and “water ahead” signs on the side of the road can get missed when it’s barely a one-foot-square, but we could see water signs and elevated mile makers from half a mile out in places, and that is wonderfully motivating to dig deep for a short term “finish line.” This race excelled there where so many fail, and it goes to show the high caliber of production here and just how good the directors and staff are at creating an experience that you will eagerly look forward to doing, time and time again. Just working the crowd in the corrals I think at least one out of four people that I talked to were repeat runners, and I truly see why. You know what else was a great motivator? The wide area sprinkler/showerheads set up at several points along the raceway that you could hug the curb to get cooled off in which were wide enough to not end up creating a choke point to get in.

Entering the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) through the entrance under the stands was amazing. You just can’t really appreciate the magnitude of the course like that in the stands, but entering the course and seeing it all there gave me chills. As a vet, the almost immediate “Golden Mile” honoring the fallen service members of Indianapolis was equally moving, and the two experiences back-to-back should never even be considered to be broken up. Loved that precious praying dog, too, but for the life of me I can’t remember her (his?) name. Shame on me. Kissing the bricks after winning a race is one of the greatest traditions in racing, and as someone who is never going to win a race at Indy, it was awesome to be able to do that as well (Note that sings indicated those not interested should stick to the left and kissers to the right and it seemed to be something adhered to pretty well.) Honestly, I originally thought to myself ” seems a shame to not finish on the course” but no, this way was better, and I was wrong. It was nice having it around the halfway mark because there’s still a lot of gas left in the tank at that point, and I threw up one of my fastest splits on that part of the course. I also appreciate that more people at the mid-to-back of the pack get to hit that (very generous 18-min-mile) gauntlet before the IMF apparently closes their section off. That gives you a second wind for the reminder of the race which thankfully consisted of a lot of straightaways and aid stations (official and unofficial…thank you sausage and tequila lady! We love you!). Emergency personnel were numerous along the route, both police and fire/rescue, and while you always hope nothing happens, I love that if something DID happen there was probably a first responder no more than 100 feet away. As a recovering heart patient that counts for a lot with me, and as somebody who just can’t deal with humidity anymore, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one out there who felt some comfort there.

The swag:
The long-sleeved t-shirt was nicely designed off incredibly soft material and had a very stylish design on it. As part of the MegaMini challenge (a must do, by the way) we got three shirts (5k, half, challenge) and a really breathable cap. Also, we previously got a beanie for signing up early and I will be rocking that all winter. I wore them all on a very cold flight home after my first flight was cancelled and got a couple compliments on them, which in and of itself says a lot. The medals, three here as well are beautiful and are Indy-themed (of course). This year was a helmet on a checkered ribbon. I think the ribbon is actually really fitting for the race and I do hope they keep that part as the medal evolves over the years. The challenge medal is a gear with a beautiful blue and black ribbon that says something along the lines of “two races, one day” and I think “16.2 Miles” on there (I haven’t unpacked yet). It really is a beautiful medal. My only complaint, if you can call it that, is that the challenge medal is a little smaller than the half. Seems like it should be larger. Don’t shrink the half, enlarge the challenge medal, as it is a little smaller than most of the challenge medals I have. That said, it’s a minor gripe because it is so well-designed and will look great on this year’s display. That is honestly the only “improve” I can level at this race.

Pre-race communication was wonderful, timely and consistent and it has, bar-none, the most comprehensive website I’ve ever found for a race. There’s so much information there and on different courses, the challenges (Mega mini which is the 5k+half combo I did, Miler Series, which is three progressively longer “build up” races over three different dates, and my next attempt, the Greatest Spectacle, which is all of the above). There’s also a 250 and 500-mile four-month challenge that I may need a few more years to prepare for.

Director of Registration, Ticketing, and Customer Service, Lydia Thurston honestly is the reason I did this race. When I was on the fence about it (since it is a ways away), she patiently put up with all my questions, my emails back and forth, pointed me in the right direction a few times, and I cannot sing her praises enough. She is also why I’ll be back for the 50th running in 2026 if not beforehand, and why I’m bringing friends with me. There’s a real clear distinction between directors who are just phoning it in and those who are passionate about what they do and about the community, and Lydia is quite clearly the latter. To the race director: you have a great asset in her, don’t let her slip away.

The lodging:
JW Mariott was expectedly nice and around the block from the start. Courtyard by Mariott is literally right at the starting line so that’s an option as well, but the JW treated us well so certainly give them a shot if they’re in budget. There’s a great list of partnered hotels that the race has on the website though, and I imagine everyone can find something to their liking.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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I don't get to do a lot of 5ks since my cardiologist likes the longer races, but this was part of a 2-race challenge that I couldn't say no to, … MORE

I don’t get to do a lot of 5ks since my cardiologist likes the longer races, but this was part of a 2-race challenge that I couldn’t say no to, and I’m so glad I didn’t!

A couple slow-rise hills that don’t even qualify for “rolling” are barely an elevation change for Missouri runners, this race has a great view of the waterfront. With “only” 1 water stop, I was glad I brought my camelbak (sponsorship welcome…just sayin’) which otherwise may have been rough for me in the humidity, or maybe just because I had a 34lb vest on, but at least it was overcast and a light breeze helped us. Honestly I don’t remember any challenging part of the terrain. There was an arched bridge that I think may have been the largest terrain feature on the course, but otherwise it felt pretty flat. I would say “fast” but I’m on the injured list so it sure wasn’t for me.

The tshirt was honestly a much higher quality soft material than I’ve come to expect from 5ks and the medal was very nicely designed. I always think it’s nice when the ribbon is actually considered as a component of the medal and not just something tacked on without thought. The energy was incredibly high at the pre-start, and everyone was smiling and cheering on the participants. The aid station volunteers were friendly and efficient and the finish line festivities were exceptional with a mix of food trucks, chocolate milk, beer, probably another option or two I didn’t see in the giant festivities field at the end.

As part of a half marathon and series, there was a very nice expo, where tshirt pickup was fast and efficient, and a nice mix of vendors were present that thankfully were all if not overwhelmingly mostly race related. I always hate when I go to expos and it’s water filtration systems and roofers and whatnot, and this one really was geared towards the race community. As an out-of-towner from a couple of states over, I found a couple other races to go back for and honestly spend more money than I’d planned on. It was well worth it. I brought a friend with me after I made him sign up for one of the challenges (5k+half marathon, same day) and he actually left the hotel to go back to the expo a second time and buy some more stuff he’d been thinking about. Cannot recommend it enough and I can’t wait to go back and do the larger challenge next time

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
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5

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This race has a small uphill stretch at the beginning but is almost entirely downhill after that. We did have lousy weather this year so there was less crowd participation. … MORE

This race has a small uphill stretch at the beginning but is almost entirely downhill after that. We did have lousy weather this year so there was less crowd participation. This race historically has always had tons of people out there with tables set up for bacon, fireball, jalapeño poppers I saw once, high proof cinnamon something. Not the official race tables, which are at a couple locations, just random people along the route. I often joke that it’s the only race I’ve ever done where I gained weight on the race. That was scaled back significantly this year (but I love you bacon family!), but hopefully that was because of the long stretch of harsh weather we were dealing with.

The course takes you to a couple significant locations in KC as a point to point race and the morning shuttle from the Plaza to Waldo is efficient and well equipped by the organizers. Honestly this race hits well above it’s weight class as well, and production wise it beats a lot of the 10ks I’ve done. It’s a fast course without being so steeply downhill that your knees hurt, and both sides of the road are closed off so after the wave start there’s very little crowd and no exhaust to worry about, save a few stoplights where the KCPD has great control of the space.

I was injured and felt like crap but I still went out there to get some kind of performance because it’s such a fun race and the finish line at the Plaza rewards you with a number of tasty goodies and coffee.

The medal was heavy and nicely designed, and felt easily at home with my 10k medals. For an inexpensive race with a great cause attached they knock it out of the park every year. Absolutely will be lining up again next year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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I've raced in far smaller places than Topeka but this is part of the Hometown Half series of smaller town races. It punches well above its weight class. I am … MORE

I’ve raced in far smaller places than Topeka but this is part of the Hometown Half series of smaller town races. It punches well above its weight class. I am still recovering from an injury so my performance was garbage, but I look forward to going back to what I think could be a PR course.

Parking is abundant and surrounds the start/finish line with a few vendors out there with beer and BBQ pork sandwiches, neither of which I partake in, but the brickyard location was nice. The course was primarily secondary roads through neighborhoods and a little bit of paved trail thrown in. Running by/under the capitol in the last mile or so was a really nice touch, and you see many of the small-town shopping areas with mom and pop stores that I wish I’d had time to explore.

The medal was amazing, a nice heavy square with the capitol building and race name on it, and a map of the course (and out-and-back lollipop) highlighted on the medal. I actually think that’s a great idea that I wish more medals had. The tshirt was heavy cotton and nicely designed. I got to sit in my car 20 feet from the finish line and wait for my friends to finish, which cannot be overstated what a great experience that is.

I hated that I wasn’t at 100% but I will 100% be back next year to give this race another shot.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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I love vineyard runs. There are a few here I really enjoy but this is my favorite every year. The after party is always high energy and the staff is … MORE

I love vineyard runs. There are a few here I really enjoy but this is my favorite every year. The after party is always high energy and the staff is more than happy to talk to you while you sample some of their offerings back in the clubhouse/restaurant. The course circles and loops back through the property and is a two loop race. Normally that is my least favorite type of course but it’s easy to overlook here in the beauty of the rolling hills and rows of spring growth popping up after winter. The swag is the same as each of the Wine Run series offers in any given year, so I always end up with duplicates, but if you’re only doing one, this is the place to earn it. Now they’ve added a lightweight hoodie to the offerings which is actually pretty nice. Coupled with a great patio and delicious food, bring your wallet and this can turn into an all-day event.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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This morning the weather was great at my house and 10 degrees cooler windchill upon arrival. There is nothing to block wind out there, so be prepared accordingly. Also be … MORE

This morning the weather was great at my house and 10 degrees cooler windchill upon arrival. There is nothing to block wind out there, so be prepared accordingly. Also be aware that parking backs up, so it’s going to be a slow crawl down the last mile to the parking lot.

My performance was possibly the worst of any half I’ve done, but a week after Boston Tough Ruck I wasn’t going to be PR’ing anyway. I do feel like this would have been a fast course for me on any other day, and the scenery through Olathe ran the gamut from downtown to residential areas. Every aid station I went by the volunteers were super motivated and it was well set up with gatorade up front then water and the volunteers were doing a great job of keeping the tables fully stocked as well as handing them to participants.

I will absolutely do this race again. The Tshirt has a nice weight to it and the Oz logo, but is nothing special if you’re not wed to the area. The medal was similarly the Garmin in the Land of Oz logo of the year, but it’s nicely made and decently weighted. This race is the third and final race in the Heartland 39.3 series, so if you also are doing that you get the extra award and swag for Heartland 39.3. That was exceptional this year with a heavy cutout medal with the names of the three races and a zip up windbreaker with drawstring hood and NO sponsors on the back, only a classy 39.3 logo with the race names on the front, just in case you need more incentive for the race.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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So every year 1000 people get together and do something crazy. Let's go to Boston and do a marathon with a bunch of weight on our back. Sure. Before the … MORE

So every year 1000 people get together and do something crazy. Let’s go to Boston and do a marathon with a bunch of weight on our back. Sure.

Before the Boston bombing this used to be in synch with the Boston Marathon, but is now held the day before due to concerns about bags. I get that, but it sure is a shame I never got to do it the old way.

The course changes every year, and this year was an out and back through three wonderful towns: Bedford, Lexington and Concord. Let me tell you, these towns brought it! While there were four official aid stations stocked nicely with basic chips and fruit, there were basic medical supplies as well, which I appreciated greatly even though I brought my own out of habit. All of the volunteers seemed so invested you would have thought they personally were the race director out there filling in the key position which would determine failure or success of the production. There was no phoning it in, which played well considering how we wouldn’t be able to either. Sign of a classy production. In addition to those four, people had set up a handful of impromptu stations as well and everybody was having a blast being there. This was an all-day event for a lot of spectators based on all the supplies they brought out to tailgate.

While the trails connecting the towns were nice and the scenery was beautiful, what really stood out for me was these towns and after my first pass through them on the way out I was really looking forward to the repeat on the way back, even though I was pretty sure most of the energy would be gone since I am a back-of-the-packer. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I made it back into Bedford people were still tailgating in parking lots along the route and cheering on the ruckers or tending to any medical/gear issues they had. Around mile 20 is where I said goodbye to where I met some great people who let me play with their dog on a break while I was reminding myself how much I like half marathons. I’d been reminding myself of that for about 7 miles at that point since passing mile 13 and nursing an ankle injury, but as I trudged back into Concord I was met with all the fanfare of a winning quarterback. People dining al fresco were raising their glasses to me and cheering me on. I was offered probably a half dozen drinks, nearly every car was honking as they passed me with several drivers stopping to roll down their window and give me words of encouragement. Enough so that I passed 14 people in the last couple miles because of the fire they lit in me. Considering how spent I was with 31lbs on my back, that says a lot. That said, I PR’ed up there with a faster time and heavier weight and I want to see if I can do it again. Just maybe not next year. I may need longer to recover.

It was also the best pizza I ever tasted at the end. Thank you Bertucci’s.

As I would expect from a crowd of vets/military and first responders, my fellow ruckers were wonderful, with everybody helping out where they could in order to motivate people when they hit their personal wall. It was very much a “we do this together” thing and every DNF was a punch in the gut (about 11% of the starting number if preliminary results stand). No shame though, and if any of you are reading this, none of us think any less of you. Just wish we could have shared that pizza with you at the end. There was a lot of suck out there. If you have to ring the bell you have to ring the bell. No shame in knowing where you stand. For those who were injured and DNF’ed. I hope you go back. I know I am. If we get to share the course again I’d consider it an honor.

The swag: Nice tech tshirt and plenty of other branded swag for sale, but let’s be honest, we’re all there for the unicorn.

My only gripe is there’s a lot of standing around time in the morning, and with everything wet with the dew, it would have been nice to have some warming tents or bonfires or something to stay warm around while we were waiting on everybody to get weighed in and the various speeches given.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Any race where you can periodically stop and pet a puppy in need of adoption is a great race. And they're all puppies on the inside even with grey on … MORE

Any race where you can periodically stop and pet a puppy in need of adoption is a great race. And they’re all puppies on the inside even with grey on their muzzles. Subsequently, I never PR here, but with the last half mile being a steady downhill on this L-shaped double out and back (out and back on each leg, not two laps). I’ve done this race in the rain and muggy heat, this year was a nice middle ground. The tshirt is a nice high weight soft shirt with a classic logo of the race which is reinterpreted every year, and the medal is nice and heavy and well designed. I avoid 5ks unless it’s for a cause I really believe in, but I’ll gladly do this race every year. The swag really is on par with a longer race and they do a great job of having wonderful high energy volunteers year after year. Do note, this race has sold out every year, so book early if you can. It’ll be well worth it, and I’ll see you out there next year.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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I said I wasn't going to push hard on this one since I have the Boston Tough Ruck in 8 days. The first three miles my pace was 10% slower. … MORE

I said I wasn’t going to push hard on this one since I have the Boston Tough Ruck in 8 days. The first three miles my pace was 10% slower. I didn’t like that, because it just didn’t feel right to not dig in, so I tried to speed up. Eh. Didn’t really matter. The slow rolling hills which I normally would have chewed up (okay there’s a couple large ones) just kept going on today. This was the first time I almost got swept off a course. I lost a lot of time once we got off the parkway for a brief 2-3 mile loop in a neighborhood, because a lot of the roads there were kind of chewed up or lopsided, but then back out on the parkway for some rolling beat down. Actually, I dug in and caught up to about 12% over par time, but I’ve finished half marathons faster and had more energy afterwards.

Crowd support was excellent, with just about every other block coming out (some with megaphones) to cheer everyone on. There were a few course breakers who figured they can drive through the course, but big kudos to KCPD for some super-fast-to-respond motorcycle officers who cleared them off the course.

The shirt is a nice tech shirt with the blue and gold Rock the Parkway colors. Instead of just a list of sponsors there’s a large bold print “I Rocked It” on the back which makes it look way less billboardy.

This is the 15th year of the race, unbeknownst to me, and while every medal from this race looks nice, this year they really classed it up with the traditional logo under “15th year”. Great showcase medal.

This is the second race in the Heartland 39.3 series, and though the course profile should have been easier than Liberty, my coach and I both found this more taxing. Be prepared when you come, and don’t underestimate Ward Parkway!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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TerraVox is always a nice 5k, as it marks the first of three (now 4!) wine runs in the area. Unfortunately two of them are on the same day at … MORE

TerraVox is always a nice 5k, as it marks the first of three (now 4!) wine runs in the area. Unfortunately two of them are on the same day at the same time, which is horrible planning, but the vineyard operators dictate the time and date, so I’m not faulting the RD or staff for that. Still maybe next year they can sway them a little harder. As someone who does all of them every year (and brings others with me) it’s way less convenient now. Also, these used to be afternoon races which gave everybody more of an excuse to stick around afterwards and drink wine, share stories, mingle and whatnot, but with it moved to 0900 most people were out by 1030 and everybody was gone by probably 11. I’d love to convince them to go back to 1500 because then we could race, have a couple drinks, get some food, really stick around a while (and spend lots of money) so you would think they’d be into it.

The race through the vineyards is always beautiful. The weather was nice so it wasn’t muddy and while it started out with a little chilly wind it shaped up nicely. It snakes back and forth across the property and gives plenty of chances to wave at your friends as you pass back and forth.

The optional hoodie this year is very nice. It’s lightweight and soft. The t-shirt was nice as well (and tag-less). The medal has a cork backing to double as a coaster and has a very classy design on the front. It’s actually nicer than I expected when I heard it was a coaster because I’ve had some mid to low end medals like that, but with the actual medal cover on this one it really comes off as being fitting to display.

I’ve done this race 4 times, and next year will be the fifth.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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I've done the Jewell 5k (the 5k version of this event) and loved the pre-race set-up in the Mabee Center. Great stands and vendors and the coffee the car wash … MORE

I’ve done the Jewell 5k (the 5k version of this event) and loved the pre-race set-up in the Mabee Center. Great stands and vendors and the coffee the car wash brought was actually really good, and much needed on such a cold windy day. More on that wind later.

Check in was smooth the day before. I usually do race day pickup but I wanted to check out the expo. Very glad I did, as I found a couple races I hadn’t heard about before that look promising. For someone who did nearly 70 races last year, that says a lot. The medal is huge, as it is known for, and very stylishly designed. The long sleeve tshirt was very soft and comfortable.

The course is a loop, yet somehow I spent 12 miles going into the wind. Not sure how that happened. Pretty sure 12 miles of it was uphill, too. I may or may not have also been chased by ninjas on dragons, right grandpa? Okay the last part I’m making up but the first two points I mean. It was SUCH a feeling of accomplishment finishing this monster (I mean that lovingly), though thankfully the largest of the hills was at the start so you can get it over with. At one point the course winds through the hospital grounds, where flags adorn the course. It was a very moving experience, especially for someone who’s spent as much time in hospitals as I have. The final stretch of the course after you roll back onto campus is up by frat row, and let me say they do know how to come out and motivate there. Along the way the aid stations were all well-staffed with SUPER motivated volunteers. As a back of the packer with 30lbs on his back, a lot of races are just phoning it in by the time I make it through, but every aid station from the first one with drummer and air guitarist to the last unofficial one from the Greek guys, everybody felt like I was on the final stretch at Boston. Seriously, if you ever need motivation to keep going on a race, this is the one for you. Pretty decent crowd support considering it was cold and windy, and many houses along the way had stereos set up to provide support music. The finish line is on the race track around the field in the college stadium, which you enter and do 3/4ths a lap before coasting to your medal and chocolate milk.

This race is also part of a couple of different series challenges, including the Heartland 39.3 and the Hometown Half challenge (different than the Hometown Half series by Bodies Race Company).

This was my fourth long race of the calendar year and by far the hardest on my body, to include the notoriously rough 10-mile trail race I did almost exactly a month earlier. With that constant headwind it may have actually been the hardest half I’ve done, and I’ve never been so happy to drop my body armor after a race as I was on that one.

The organizers are peerless in their communication and interaction, and it is always a joy at other races when I see their tent up so I can drum up some strangers to go sign up for the biggest half in the Northland, and truly one of the best races in the KC area.

The only complaint I have is that I can’t sign up for next year’s race yet.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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I'm shocked. This is the first time I've ever given this high of a review, and I've liked other races more, but looking back at this objectively there's nothing for … MORE

I’m shocked. This is the first time I’ve ever given this high of a review, and I’ve liked other races more, but looking back at this objectively there’s nothing for me to easily deduct a point on. I’ve done races in this series before but never St. Jo and never at this new location they picked. I loved it. It is a double out and back with a bowl-shaped elevation profile and you will put in some work on these hills. The actual course was gorgeous though, slowly winding through a park for much of it, with the first/last mile being a windy decent on a park road up a pretty good-sized hill (with tunnel and everything). At the bottom of that one you cross one of two (controlled) intersections then start up another shorter less steep one to the part section. Keep in mind, this is out and back. Twice. There are lesser hills on the rest of the course, but these are the two that will eat your lunch and laugh at you if you’re unprepared. Shockingly my first 8 splits were well under par and I didn’t drop to the worse side of par until the final two splits, but wow did I drop. Battling a cramp in my toe I was still quite happy with my final time, which honestly could have been a PR if I could have redone the last 1.1 miles. The views are amazing and somehow always came with a headwind (Uphill, both ways!…yeah grandpa…). I heard more than one person say they hated the course, which, if you were expecting a “4 laps around downtown” sort of thing, I can see why this would break you off. If you could make a trail run that didn’t involve roots, mud, gravel or dust you’d have a good approximation of what is going on here.

Great classy medal (with embedded bottle opener). Guess the tshirt was standard, so minus half a shoe there? I’m stretching. It wasn’t a perfect race, surely, as everything can be improved but it was definitely an A-student in the class. Looking forward to next year’s.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Leawood knows how to do a race. Great energy. This is where Lucky 13 Rescue shows up so it's very animal friendly. Located at a great shopping center with tons … MORE

Leawood knows how to do a race. Great energy. This is where Lucky 13 Rescue shows up so it’s very animal friendly. Located at a great shopping center with tons of nice little places to duck in and grab a bite before and after, which it seems like a great many people do. Very much a party atmosphere, and did I mention there’s a wine bar there? Did this race last year and my Gatorade froze in my beard so it was nice to do it in a long sleeve t-shirt this year.

Good gradual hill work. Nothing steep, but some long gradual climbs. Really nice medal for a 5k. Would have thought I was at a 10k and honestly I’ve done halves with medals that weren’t as nice. I nearly PRed without even trying just from talking to people as I passed them and finally catching up to some people I could pace nicely. I only slowed down at the end because my heart monitor was a little higher than my cardiologist likes while I’m recovering from a heart attack, but you can put it work here and get rewarded for it far beyond what it feels like you’re doing.

Bring more races to Leawood they know how to bring their A-game to a race.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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For anyone familiar with the Summer Sizzler, there's some course overlap here, but instead of out and back 2x the 10 is made up by a lollipop addition to the … MORE

For anyone familiar with the Summer Sizzler, there’s some course overlap here, but instead of out and back 2x the 10 is made up by a lollipop addition to the out and back of that race, heading down into the park and around the hills there.

First off, let me say it was an honor and a privilege to be able to race with Scott Green again. The man is a legend in the local running community who has given SO much.

The course design was great. It’s not an easy route, but it isn’t punishing, and you’ll feel accomplished when you’re done. Just don’t expect a PR and save some in the tank for that final push up the hill to the finish line. Nice classy (and classic) design to the medal. The pre and post race festivities were great, with Shatto milk making an appearance and a boatload of various homemade muffins and hot chocolate available post race. It is a great time of year for the race, because while it may be a little chilly when you’re warming up, the sun burned the cold off fast and made it a nice high-50s for the actual race. There’s not a lot of big-name long races yet at this point in the year. Liberty is usually what people consider the first major half of the year, and while this is obviously shorter, it looks like one of those races you can look forward to with the same gusto. Maybe one day they’ll add a half.

Full disclosure, my gps came up a little short at 5.94 miles, and while I know that’s not always accurate due to sampling error, I am pretty sure the course was in fact a little short based on my finishing time and performance on the course. I made great time the first 5k going off splits on my strava app, which felt in line with my exertion, but the second 5k I didn’t pick up the pace for, which I would have had to have done to finish at the final time I got, leading me to believe the course was a tad short. No a deal breaker, but something to be aware of. Hopefully if it’s true they’ll fix that for next year, when I fully intend to race it again.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Westport knows how to put on a race. I actually wish they did it more than twice a year even though I normally prefer longer races. The restaurant/bar area is … MORE

Westport knows how to put on a race. I actually wish they did it more than twice a year even though I normally prefer longer races. The restaurant/bar area is blocked off for the start/finish line and the atmosphere is electric.

The course is fun and has many opportunities for brief hill work, though nothing that’s going to break you off if you’ve been lacking in your practice routine. Lots of downhills as well though, and plenty of crowd support as you make the long stretches through the neighborhood. This is the slightly longer version of the Santa Run course (5k there). The final stretch to the finish line is net downhill but only slightly, so you won’t get torn up going down an 10%er or something at the end. I wouldn’t call it a PR course, but it’s certainly not a slow one.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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**Updates at the bottom of original review So I've done this trail a dozen or so times. I have no idea why my time was garbage today other than everything … MORE

**Updates at the bottom of original review

So I’ve done this trail a dozen or so times. I have no idea why my time was garbage today other than everything hurt. None of this is the race’s fault though. It’s a beautiful trail (mainly) though a park. The trail is wide enough for a golfcart and a biker to ride side by side with a little room left over, so plenty of time to pass. This is NOT a trail run in traditional sense, as everything is paved and very much not wild. Mainly flat(-ish), but there are a couple short steep ones and a long grinding one that goes largely up for a mile. This race would be 5 shoes on overall and race swag if the medal had been nicer and befitting of the rest of this production. Despite my worst time on a half marathon (other than my very first), I had a great time. In part because I finally got to close the loop on a race that was delayed due to cold weather/wind in January.

The SWAG I marked down one because the medal is acrylic and feels cheap, though they do offer engraving plates. The long sleeve tshirt is very comfortable and the hoodie is tapered a little better than most of them, so I don’t have all this extra room around the waist. There were also socks, but I haven’t worn them yet, and the option to select between a trucker hat or a water bottle. I got the water bottle, but I’m told the hat was quite nice as well. DIdn’t get to see it as they had some supply chain issues so the hats are all getting mailed out, gratis.

UPDATE:
So because I was nearly DNF on that race (knees), I didn’t get my medal engraved due to some hardware issues that arose by the time I finished. They offered to mail me the engraved chip disk thing. It arrived today (looking sharp) and they were awesome enough to throw in a free Yeti running belt and a personalized note. It’s those little things that really make an outfit stand out. Also, it dawned on me that my original review failed to mention that there are three locations (cities) in which this race occurs, each with a different color hoodie, so it really incentivizes you to do the whole series, which I hope to do next year. I’m no stranger to racing multiple legs in a series of races under the same name. You get more of the same tshirt usually…it is what it is we all know the drill, but THESE folks solved that problem for you and make the different locations different theme colors (Think it was yellow, red and blue). The hoodies are nice, especially if you need an athletic cut, and I’m going to be picking up more colors next year for sure.

Just one more thing that made this organization stand out.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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So I do English Landing Park a lot. It's my go-to for virtuals from 5k to half marathon. There's a section that nobody enjoys doing that I've ever spoken with, … MORE

So I do English Landing Park a lot. It’s my go-to for virtuals from 5k to half marathon. There’s a section that nobody enjoys doing that I’ve ever spoken with, the first mile and a half or so over by the dog park. It’s slow, loose gravel and there’s really nothing to look at over there normally, this year it’s construction equipment. The route was different than any of the other ELP races I’ve ever done. Immediately across the foot bridge at the circle, counterclockwise around the dog park to the far corner, then retrace back to the start, 10k-ers do it twice. Ugh.

That said, the medal was pretty much half marathon size and weight, so that eased the pain, and it was an afternoon race which I love, because then I can do a double that day, but for a small field and a lousy route, They really did as best they could on scene.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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....or their other name, which is less polite. These are the last three hills that come in the last few miles. These things put the KC Marathon or Hospital Hill's … MORE

….or their other name, which is less polite. These are the last three hills that come in the last few miles. These things put the KC Marathon or Hospital Hill’s hills to shame. I do a lot of hill work, and my prior job had hill work as a big component of it. These were rough. The hills earlier which had ropes tied into trees to use in case of mud were not easy, but the ones at the end could really suck the motivation out of ya.

The shirt is a long sleeved, quarter-zip tech shirt. Simple bright red, no sponsors, just a 3×4″ name and logo of the race on the left breast. I’d actually wear this shirt around town, and not because it’s laundry day. I wish I’d bought two actually.

The race is on a 10-mile loop with 1300 feet of elevation gain. Do it once, twice, or three times. I only did the 10-mile because I’m recovering from a knee injury and the 34lbs I was carrying was going to get real heavy with the rough knee.

That said, here comes my only complaint: the medals shown online are apparently only for the 20 and 30 miler. The 10 miler gets a completely different medal that’s just a wood coin with the race name burned on it, strung to a piece of yarn. Honestly, it feels cheap for an $80-something dollar race when I got a nearly identical medal at a $18-dollar race last year for a local high school. Since the tagline of the race is Run, Toto Run! The (other) medal has a little black dog on it. I collect medals with critters on it (suggestions welcome!), so while I wanted to do the race anyway because it is so famous here, I really wanted the little black dog one. Despite the knee, I could have easily done 20 miles without the body armor and kit (or 10 and 10…whatever) and get the medal I thought I was going to get, but since the 10-mile medal wasn’t shown anywhere on the website, I assumed we were all getting the same (maybe different size and ribbon). Nope. No critter medal for me. I would have given 3 shoes for the swag except the shirt is so nice. Production lost a shoe for lack of specification on the website, but the chilli set up at the end was a nice touch. That said, the website said regular and vegetarian chilli, and there was only one pot of regular. I’m not vegetarian, so didn’t bother me, but it did seem unfortunate that something else on the website could use some updating.

The aide stations were 4 I believe (one you hit twice, before and after a loop). They were all well stocked with gatorade, nutella/tortilla rollups, M&Ms, some kind (ham?) of sandwich, but I didn’t pay a lot of attention to them since I was only doing 10 miles and I had gummies and potato chips in my kit which was fine for what I was doing. I did see enough to know there was a very extensive selection well beyond what I named here. All the volunteers were motivated and friendly and it was probably the best marked trail race I’ve ever been in. They had arrows and “wrong way” signs up at every intersection, some things that might have been intersections, and one or two things that looked like a good place to put an intersection but never made it. Seriously, they made it real clear where you’re going. Great job on that to all the great people at Trail Nerds, who gained a new follower today.

52 weeks from now I’m going to be back to get my little black dog medal.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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So I already did a race from this set in a different location (Couple Shuffle Overland Park). I left a great review for the other one. If I had to … MORE

So I already did a race from this set in a different location (Couple Shuffle Overland Park). I left a great review for the other one. If I had to choose only one, it may actually be this one. The 5k course is a single-T course, the 10k is two laps of it. The overwhelming majority of that race is the “top” of the T, not the vertical leg. I liked the tshirt and loved the medal last weekend when I earned it elsewhere in the set, so it’s still just as great. The course was a beautiful closed off road (both lanes) making the whole path from the start line to the finish nothing but race area. You pass a lake on the top left part of the T as well as what would be an overflow waterfall had it been rainy. There are hills, a couple of which I’d say may border on just more than “rolling” but nothing protracted and nothing punishing. it was a great way to break the monotony of a flat track and get back in the swing of the hill work some of the other races in the KC area requires. Gatorade was on the course, something that’s grown rare on a non-summer-race shorter than a half. and the volunteers were super friendly and motivated. Absolute “do again” race and I hope more races in the future take advantage of this great course.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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...between road and park, here's a great mix! So the 5k was all road work, one lap around a square block. The first side of the square was pretty much … MORE

…between road and park, here’s a great mix! So the 5k was all road work, one lap around a square block. The first side of the square was pretty much one slow grind up, but halfway through the second side you get a little break. After finishing that first lap, you start the second then detour off to an out and back through a park on a double wide trail with mainly rolling hills but two steep but short (distance) ones. It was a nice surprise because I normally hate lap races, but this was a good mix and with the clear differentiation between the 5k and 10k courses, I felt like I got twice my money’s worth. This would be a do again race. I hated only that I was dealing with a toe injury so it did slow me down a little and that uphill grind was a little more punishing than it normally would be, but somehow I still cranked out a fast-ish finish. I didn’t necessarily think it at the time, but this actually could be a fast track despite the hills. I did over 65 races last year and didn’t have any on this course, so it was also a nice treat to do a different path. Kudos to KCRC for another great race.

The long sleeve tshirt seems sturdy and the medal was nicely designed with a lot of heft to it. 5 and 10k are the same medal with different ribbon color, but as I said, it’s heavy and pretty, so that’s not a bad thing.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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This was a double out and back. Normally I'm not a huge fan of repeating track, but it still beats a doing laps on a loop. Largely at a park … MORE

This was a double out and back. Normally I’m not a huge fan of repeating track, but it still beats a doing laps on a loop. Largely at a park so only one monitored cross street, then 2k of gradual rolling uphill to a turnaround past an overpass and back to the start for the 5k, do it again for the 10k. Seemed to be a net positive course as I was only slightly behind my average pace but I’m still recovering from illness, so that was a surprise. As always with Bodies, the energy was high at the starting line despite it being cold and wet, the medals were super awesome as a hinged candy box-shaped heart with some real weight to it

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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I've done the 5k a few times, but this is the first year I did the 5k followed by the 10k (2 more "laps") There are so many twists and … MORE

I’ve done the 5k a few times, but this is the first year I did the 5k followed by the 10k (2 more “laps”)

There are so many twists and turns in the course, and an out-and-back or two that it doesn’t have the incessant boring nature of multi-lap races, which normally I hate. I was on the injured list today so my performance was expectedly slow, but I was okay with that because I had to complete the 5k as part of a series and then since I was there, might as well do the 10k afterwards, right? Right. And now I have two medals that link together, which pleases the raccoon in me.

For those who have not been to these races, I’m sorry. They are a great opportunity to have a decent sized race and not have to care what the weather is. If anything you’ll find you likely overdressed for the caves and start peeling off layers. There were two turns where people seemed prone to do that, because every lap I witnessed it at that turn and saw other parts of the pack doing the same as we entered some of the see-through areas from one part of the course to another. Even the area near the entrances are not COLD, per se, but you will feel it cool off in those areas. Those I preferred.

One thing of note, the air in the back of the cave can be thinner, so while the altitude change is negligible (18-wheelers are able to drive through there, so nothing really hilly) as far as your legs are concerned, if you’re sensitive to oxygen level changes prepare to be affected. My pulse oximeter went from 100 at start to 93 on the third lap towards the back. If that doesn’t slow you down, more power to you, but I wasn’t going to drop lower than that.

Prior years it’s actually been a really fast course for me, and since nothing has changed about the course I suspect it still is. Part of that is the mental joy of being inside with a thousand or so of your buddies doing this thing we do for 5, 10 or 15k and not being even remotely concerned about frostbite or frozen lung, knowing that the spring series is just around the corner and all the great races that brings. Part of it is this is one of the few larger, longer races that happen in the late NOV-JAN time frame when everything seems to migrate towards 5k-Only Land (though it seemed better this past year).

I gave 4 shoes on the scenery. I actually think the former limestone quarry cave is attractive. Some people call it an unfinished parking garage. I think the “scenery” also includes for me the peaks you get of other parts of the pack that you see between pillars as everyone spreads out and the course loops and twists around inside, and when you’re recognizing people from different pace groups doing their thing and then all of a sudden you’re slapping high fives to each other again.

Special shout out to some water station volunteers who knew how to bring the full-throttle cheer-and-support routine into the mix as well. I wish I’d caught her name to let the RD know how great it was to see everybody treated like they’re carrying the Olympic torch into the stadium or something. How she did that for so long I’ve no clue, but she deserved recognition.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

Indian Creek, but a different section than most races do out there, though there was some overlap with the "regular" route. Two really steep hills made for some great hill … MORE

Indian Creek, but a different section than most races do out there, though there was some overlap with the “regular” route. Two really steep hills made for some great hill work but they weren’t long enough to be punishing. Very enjoyable course. No mile markers for the 10k on the course, maybe not for any of them. I have to take a point away there because looking at your watch/phone isn’t the same as seeing the flag/sign up the road and having a point to fixate on to keep your pace up. I’m never going to give full points without that, because I’ve noticed that every time but one that I PR’ed this year it was on a course with the miles marked.

There was another race going on for part of the race in the same stretch so that was a little confusing at times but quickly got sorted out. I also noticed that we were going head long into that race at some point (I wanted to shout, “Prepare to be boarded!” but refrained). That group (or someone) knocked over a couple of the orange cones that had pretty important directions marked for us. I put one back up the right way, the other one someone else beat me to it. One I actually wasn’t sure about, went the wrong way, then had to backtrack a few dozen meters to the right place. Maybe more volunteers on the course? I don’t know. How to you work someone else moving your stuff because they have a race there as well? That said, it costs a production point.

Great assortment of granola/fruit bars at the finish line. Gatorade at the turn around point which I always appreciate. Think the half would have been fun but this was my third day in a row of racing in the cold and I think 10k was the perfect length for this year. For the hills alone though, I’d love to be back for the half next time around.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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28 degrees and windy....nobody does hot gatorade here? Anyway...This is similar to the route I do as my training route or just need a quick virtual to round out the … MORE

28 degrees and windy….nobody does hot gatorade here? Anyway…This is similar to the route I do as my training route or just need a quick virtual to round out the weekend sort of thing. There’s three different 10k at English Landing park — 2 laps, and out and back with full repeat of the course, and an out and back that’s modified for a shortcut of sorts, so about 4 miles out and 2 back, ending at the start (because it’s direct not circuitous). The latter is my favorite, the 2 lap one I hate, this was the other one. I’m still making up my mind on that one. Bodies’ crew made sure to keep the energy up. I only did the 10k because I’d raced so much that week already, but right up until the starting horn blew part of me was wishing I’d done the half, because they really made it seem like that was where the party was at and I think the turnaround at the half up on the levee makes for some beautiful scenery. My knee and the cold kept me from it, but my buddy said it was a great race. The theme each year is something iconic from the 80s/90s. 2022 was Back to the DeLorean Time Machine, this year it was Triassic Park (or some completely public domain T-rex with red font…however they do it. The cotton Ts were really nice and had a nice 80s retro look to them (and are super soft) and the Trex roars on the award. Apparently, I got second in my age group, but I don’t think there were Age Group awards. All the same. Must have meant only two of us showed up 😉 Hoping to be there next year with a less angry knee, because I’d have really liked to be on the levee one more time before the year ended.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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This was a great 2-lap course. Normally those words would never come out of my mouth, but it surprisingly worked here. With a nice downhill start it was easy to … MORE

This was a great 2-lap course. Normally those words would never come out of my mouth, but it surprisingly worked here. With a nice downhill start it was easy to get the pace quickly up on this cold and windy morning. This was a small intimate race but the RD cared about feedback like he was running an outfit 30 time this size. The course itself I can’t speak of highly enough. After the downhill start there were 4 creek crossings (small ones, but still nice change from the norm), a couple of long hills in the middle of the course (and passing a great pond early in the lap) and the final maybe half a mile was a windy flat stretch to the finish, which incidentally was not blocked by the topography so you could see the finish line nearing from a ways out as extra push. While I do technically have a race tomorrow so it was not my last of the season, I think this would be a great race to close out the year on. I will certainly be back next year. Note, this course is on a working farm/ranch. It is not a road race or a typical trail race. Soil conditions were frozen nicely for the first lap but thawed to mud. I keep extra bags in my car for just such an occasion but keep that in mind when you’re deciding how you’re driving home with 3lbs of mud caked on there otherwise.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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This one is hard for me. I was nursing a bad knee today so my time was off, but I feel like it could have been a fast course. Probably … MORE

This one is hard for me. I was nursing a bad knee today so my time was off, but I feel like it could have been a fast course. Probably not PR material because of the hills (none too bad, but many small ones), but a fast one none the less. I had a maximum time I wanted to come in under, and I did, but my splits were way off from normal. Overall I’m only saying 4 on difficulty because as a double out-and-back, you get just as much downhill as uphill, so race strategically. The first couple miles were in one lane of the road, but there was a parallel sidewalk as well that fast runners could take advantage of to pass the clog-ups at the beginning. The scenery was nice, both on the road and in the park, with plenty of varied terrain to take advantage of. This is not a “trail run” though, as it’s all on a doublewide (or wider) path once you hit the park. The swag was the same as yesterday, being another Candy Cane race, but the swag was amazing, so I’m not complaining there. My only gripe is there were with mile markers. There was a 5k and a 12k, so out to the 5k turnaround, then out another half km to the 12k turnaround, then do it twice. There were no mile markers after 3 and since they were for the 5k they didn’t correspond to the multiples on the 12. It would have been nice to have color coded markers out for both race, because I like seeing them on the course as motivation to maintain pace.

Also, the free coffee truck returned for another showing. Huge plus on that one.

I really loved yesterday’s Candy Cane course, and as much as it pains me to say it, if I could only do one next year it would probably be this one, but I’m hoping that both will be do-agains.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Double out and back T-shape, which normally I hate. Misty weather and the days high of 43 could have marked the tone of the day as the mist picked up … MORE

Double out and back T-shape, which normally I hate. Misty weather and the days high of 43 could have marked the tone of the day as the mist picked up and the temp continued to drop pre-start, but that did nothing to kill the mood. The crowd was cold but excited and held that energy til the end. The Bottom of the T is in a neighborhood and top of the T on highway access road. Everything is fully closed off though so no traffic worries and plenty of room to spread out and pass or be passed.

Good little race with complimentary coffee truck at the finish line. VERY comfortable sweatshirt that I’m about to wash and put back on. Only hitch was it was supposed to be a 12k and city only let them do 10k. They did change the webpage but there was no notification sent out and some people were unhappy about the “unknown” change. Bodies Race Company always brings good energy and smiling faces and this was no exception, but this time they also brought chocolate milk and cookies to the finish line.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Not the same Santa Dash as Jazz Museum sadness from before, which was basically 2.5 miles gradual hill up in a straight line by absolutely nothing to look at and … MORE

Not the same Santa Dash as Jazz Museum sadness from before, which was basically 2.5 miles gradual hill up in a straight line by absolutely nothing to look at and no neighborhoods for crowd support. This is not that race at all, and I’m glad I went back to try it again. I’m only sorry that I waited so long to look at it again, because I’m not sure when it changed. Nice course for hill work while remaining fast. My knee is still acting up and I was less than 30 seconds off my PR time, so despite the hills, they are short for the most part (horizontally) and you’ll make up for it on the way down. Most of it through neighborhoods and despite cold windy conditions a lot of people were out cheering, so go Westport, way to bring it! Starting area was great, with a bunch of stalls from local artists/craftsmen (not affiliated with the race, but co-located, which made that nice. Ran out of my shirt size despite registering 2 months ago, so that was disappointing and I have to take away a shoe, but ample coffee at starting line, which was needed on a cold windy morning. Medal was nice for a 2″ with the date of the race on there and more of a classic design to it with minimal color, but classy not boring. Big do-again for this one. One water stop on the course. I’m a big drinker since I’m carrying a load on my back, but I also bring my own hydration. If you’re one too, just don’t expect much on the course and plan accordingly. Also, no mile markers on the course. I find it motivating to see them waving in the wind up ahead of you, providing a level of precision that a watch just doesn’t. For someone who likes tracking splits/split progression, that’s minus a shoe. Plus, come on folks, it’d only be 2 of them. Couldn’t get those out there? Despite the hiccups, absolute do again race for me, and not just because this is slow season.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Fun course by AMC at shopping center. No on course mile markers, which I like to see in advance to motivate myself to pick up the pace in a way … MORE

Fun course by AMC at shopping center. No on course mile markers, which I like to see in advance to motivate myself to pick up the pace in a way a gps can’t. I hate to take off a shoe for that, but it would have been so easy to do on this relatively easy lap. Mile two was somewhat rolling hills. Fast course. If I hadn’t been down the day before I could have really knocked it out, as much of the last mile is slightly downhill. Everything was open at Chicken and Pickle. Coffee and Pickleball on the house. GREAT energy from the volunteers. This is a do again race.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Nice medium rolling hills around a lake with an attached stretch by the road. Wide sidewalk and one land shut down though, so plenty of room to maneuver around other … MORE

Nice medium rolling hills around a lake with an attached stretch by the road. Wide sidewalk and one land shut down though, so plenty of room to maneuver around other people. I was visiting family from out of town, and packet pickup was right around the corner from where I was staying, but there is no race-day pickup, which, as someone who travels up to an hour each weekend for a race, it’s a personal pet peeve of mine even for local races to not do same day PPU. This race started late and was less than 1k people, which seems like same day should have been doable. From the Race’s standpoint, it also means no same day PPU would have ruled out anybody from out of town who didn’t want to spend the night or drive out twice, which seems like bad business. As such, have to deduct a shoe for Race Production.

The few support people on the course and at the water station were reasonably motivated. With the course largely in a park there was little need for a lot of road closures, and there was never really an issue of not knowing where to go. On course mile-markers are always a plus.

Race swag….no finisher medal. Some people don’t care. I get it. Some people chase bling. I’m in the latter category, particularly for out-of-town races I do. I did 61 races so far this year. 58 came with finisher medals, so I feel like that IS kind of the standard, particularly for a full-price race. If you want to offer a “no frills” option with no T/medal, sure…more options are always super, but I feel like an opportunity is missed again to pull in the out-of-towners and bling chasers. The long-sleeve, hooded, tech T is nice though, and the turkey hat is warm (and cute) so while I would normally give a no-medal race a 3 for swag, I’ll give them a 3.5 and round up to 4 on this one.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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I was on the injured list today because an old knee injury was acting up. Figured even if I hopped across the finish line, great cause, new race (for me) … MORE

I was on the injured list today because an old knee injury was acting up. Figured even if I hopped across the finish line, great cause, new race (for me) and I was going with a buddy so I was going regardless. SO glad I did. This was one of the best surprise 5K courses I’ve seen in a while. I don’t get excited much about 5Ks, but I am now. Long slow hill up, right from the start, make it to the top of campus and take a quick little sidetrip down a pretty good sized hill just to come back up a steeper one (and thankfully shorter) than the first. It’s a pretty campus, and this course really takes advantage of the terrain. I saw several side streets I’d love to do an out and back on if they have a 10k up there. I will be looking now for sure.

Wasn’t a lot of people out cheering us on, but it was cold and bitterly windy and college students getting up early on a Sunday…well…

There were a lot of students racing with us and the Navy/Marine ROTC was out calling cadence and showcasing their guidon. The cinnamon rolls at the end were excellent and the coffee was welcome (thanks for the decaf!) and we got a KU-themed oversized washcloth in addition to our cotton tshirts. As my third race of the weekend I wish I’d had more to really give it my all, but even if you can’t muster that it’s a great course and a great race, and I hope to see you out there next year.

Swag was a really nice spinner medal with the KU mascot on one side and the Korean Peninsula on the other. It’s a bright medal with a loud ribbon and I want more of them.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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This looks like a really great crew that I would love to race with in person, unfortunately this year it was just too far and timing was too tight due … MORE

This looks like a really great crew that I would love to race with in person, unfortunately this year it was just too far and timing was too tight due to some other commitments, so I did it virtually. Kudos to them for some unique race lengths and putting the exercises in the mix too. If you can’t get to a Spartan/Rugged Maniac this is your best option (and a whole heck of a lot cheaper), plus it supports a good cause.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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This was the first year they added a 10k, but I've done the 5ks any prior year I was in town for. For anyone who routinely does English Landing Park, … MORE

This was the first year they added a 10k, but I’ve done the 5ks any prior year I was in town for. For anyone who routinely does English Landing Park, I think this race is the best of the three major routes for 10k. There’s the double loop (yech), the out and back that turns around right before the little footbridge (something to be said for symmetry) and this modified out and back, where the turnaround is around mile 4 then you take a shortcut back. I didn’t care for it the first time because I like my turnaround points being symmetrical normally, but this means you only have to do the boring part of the course once. That’s also the loosest packed gravel so less sliding and less loss of speed.

The races are always nice down there, and it’s a pretty flat course for the first 5k, then there’s a slight slope down to the turnaround point and back. It should be a fast course, though I’ve never actually PR’ed there. I suspect part of that may be to familiarity because I’ve done that route so many times (it’s my default virtual route if I’m not doing an actual site nearby).

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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First and foremost, I rucked this, so there are nuances that won’t apply to runners as much. I was torn on how many shoes to select on a number of … MORE

First and foremost, I rucked this, so there are nuances that won’t apply to runners as much. I was torn on how many shoes to select on a number of categories, so let me explain my logic and where I’m coming from.

Overall I could have gone 3-5 and justified each depending on the other categories. There are large sections of this race, I think about 4 miles, that’s on a side-sloping highway, so your left foot always has a further vertical fall than your right foot. That’s never GOOD, but it may not be as bad for runners. With 40lbs on your back it gets miserable real fast, and even weaving to try to take the route of minimal slope, I went from just under 15 minute splits for the first 6 miles to 17:30 (I did stop to observe the swelling) and ended up slowing down for the latter half, finishing with a 15:50 pace compared to 15:16 at Garmin KC 2 weeks ago. Is that the race’s fault? Nope. It’s made for runners and I’m borrowing space on their course, but that is a minus and it cost a shoe.

Course scenery? Well the view around mile 3 and 5 if I remember correctly was looking out over the lake. That was pretty. The wooded area for the last 5 miles was pretty as we went through the park. The 4 miles on that side-slant there’s nothing to look at but highway and regret. Minus a shoe.

Race production. This one isn’t just me, but also the two people who ran it that I came with. We got some weird numbers on splits that showed up at the end. It was the same end as yesterday’s 10k so we’ll look at that data since I was battling an injury today. Had 2 splits at 15:10-15, all the rest in the 14s. That’s about right. Hit mile 6 (on 10k), so 0.2 mile left to go. Took me 4:48? a 24-minute-mile pace? Think I’d notice a 10min fall behind. All of a sudden. The runners who were already finished said they had the same long split issue, so either the last fragment of a mile is long, or the other full miles are short, because we both had 20-60% increase in pace on our final split according to the signage. Not a huge deal. Obnoxious, sure, but what can you do. There was a two day challenge, race both days, get a cap. They couldn’t find my name on the list. Asked if I registered late. A month ago, so…not by most definitions. Everyone was real nice. They always are (and all the water points, the volunteers were turning it up to 11 on the motivation, so good on ’em there), but it was one more thing to keep me from chocolate milk and a chair, and since usually KC Race puts out some smooth as butter experiences, I can’t in good conscience go higher.

Swag was good. Long sleeve heavy tshirt and a hoodie, heavy weight beanie for the challenge swag, all in a matching yeti and bring blue theme. It’s good stuff. I don’t actually remember so this is hearsay from someone else I was talking to afterwards, but the tshirts weren’t free (okay nothing is free, roger, but they typically come with the race, and sometimes you can opt out for a cheaper race). She didn’t get a tshirt because she didn’t realize you had to pay extra. Read the fine print, I gotcha, but when you’re signing up for 6, 8, 10 races all at once, sometimes you miss stuff. Minus one shoe for no free swag.

My performance was the opposite of Garmin. The exhilaration that pushed me to make up time after some rough hills just wasn’t there today. After the side-slope it really was just “let’s get this done so I can ice my knee.” I did make up from that 17-minute Hindenburg but not with the gusto I’d have liked. Two shoes only because 1 is DNF and I did limp across the finish line.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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So there's about 2 miles or so on a highway that slants down to the left meaning your left foot has further to fall on every strike. Maybe that's not … MORE

So there’s about 2 miles or so on a highway that slants down to the left meaning your left foot has further to fall on every strike. Maybe that’s not much for your typical runner, but I’ve got Army knees and I’m wearing body armor, so that was throbbing a little bit at the end of the day. There’s not a lot to look at out at that part of the course, but the water station volunteers were all motivated beyond belief. As a back-of-the-packer, I’m sometimes just glad that someone is there. These folks made me feel like I was carrying in the olympic torch every time. There aren’t any local spectators on this course because there’s no “local” anything, but these folks woulda given anyone a run for their money. Way to motivate!

Once you get past the highway part you’re in a park on a wide wooded trail so there’s lots of scenery changes going on there as you weave in and out of park-woods-park-woods. I went with two very experienced runners with thousands of races between them. We were all confused by the last split, the 0.2 mile finish. I’d done a little shy of 15 on every split but one, which measured 15:05, but the last .02 (everything after their Mile 6 sign) took 4:48 when I hadn’t broken pace? The “pros” I was with had the same experience (with smaller numbers). Not a huge deal. If you’re looking to PR on this course you probably didn’t make the best choice anyway, I don’t think that 0.2 is going to make a difference there, because this isn’t a particularly flat course. I was a little slower than my normal 10k time but not significantly.

Overall it was a fun race. I do think it’s a shame that the tshirt, while nice, is apparently not free with the race. I bought it, and I’m glad that I did, and I understand the subtleties of pricing to know you’re just paying more for the race or opting out for the discount rate, but as a fellow racer pointed out, seems like at this price point that would include the shirts. Personally I’d signed up for somewhere around half a dozen races at the same time and didn’t remember what I paid or when it was, but I trust her account of this. That said, if you find yourself in that situation, buy the shirt. It’s warm.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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So despite it being a loop on a gradual incline, the old adage of what goes up must come down certainly balances this course out. It was cold and windy … MORE

So despite it being a loop on a gradual incline, the old adage of what goes up must come down certainly balances this course out. It was cold and windy when I got there (early as always) and was going to just do it as a cool down run after Cliffhanger the prior day. This is the same course as Carry A. Nation, so out and back briefly in the park, around the pond then through and around the High School Parking lot. The uphill is so gradual you largely won’t mind it at all, but technically, yes, very little of it is flat. Not the most scenic in the world but the final…just shy of a mile…is downhill towards the finish line setting me up for another easy PR. Mainly I was too cold to be there any longer. I’ll be back next year to see if I can PR again. My only complaint is I like seeing mile markers on the course. I find them more motivating than gps device callouts since they’re more likely to be accurate, and I like comparing splits.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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After a very fast first two miles this course meanders through a very large Christmas light display in the process of being erected. The waterfall later in the course was … MORE

After a very fast first two miles this course meanders through a very large Christmas light display in the process of being erected. The waterfall later in the course was dried up or possibly frozen, but the views looking out into the city from the forest was quite beautiful. The finish by some beautiful houses and a smaller museum was a strong finish. The weather had snapped cold a little bit, and it was nice having coffee available at the starting line (actually quite good coffee). It was somewhat disappointing that I had to find the box of medals at the end and grab one myself, and while I am a back of the packer, there were still quite a few people behind me as well. I was under the weather and O2Sat was sucking that day, but I feel like it could have been a PR course but for one other race I’d done earlier and had PR’ed there when I wasn’t sick. I’ll be doing this again next year and hopefully will be feeling better to test that theory out.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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This is a fast course. A local studio was present for some pre-race yoga. It also seems to be hidden gym that the local circuit insiders go to as a … MORE

This is a fast course. A local studio was present for some pre-race yoga. It also seems to be hidden gym that the local circuit insiders go to as a recovery run after Garmin KC, and after a hard effort to PR at that one it was nice to hit up a fun course with fresh air and great energy. It’s a laid-back race with a really great “thanks for coming out to our family cookout” sort of vibe. The tech T was thicker weight than normal and is actually REALLY nice for that shoulder season when you want a little more weight on you for the breeze but you know you’re going to get sweaty. If you want to be high speed you can PR at Garmin KC then come PR at this one and get two in one weekend. I am not that high speed, but I applaud those who are. I’ll just be applauding from the back of the pack. I suspect I’ll be there next year, so good luck to you however you decide to race it, but I hope to see you there supporting a great race.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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From the expo to pre-event set ups, to the fireworks at start through the finishing photos, this race IS Kansas City. Great Expo at Union Station and many great neighborhoods … MORE

From the expo to pre-event set ups, to the fireworks at start through the finishing photos, this race IS Kansas City. Great Expo at Union Station and many great neighborhoods and parts of downtown being represented on this race, of the 53 races I’ve done this year, truly none of them screamed Kansas City like this one. There are four long-ish hills on this one that everyone had warned me about, but as someone that has done a lot of hill work this year and lives in a hilly neighborhood, they were quite manageable. Not to say that final push uphill to the finish line didn’t suck a little of the “yay!” out of me, but when I heard my name called I kicked it up a notch and annihilated my prior PR. I did pass a LOT of people on the hills though, so if you’re used to running in flatlands this may prove challenging.

I’d purchased the VIP upgrade which I cannot recommend enough. I was parked maybe 50 paces from the VIP tent and having a dry place to sit and stretch in the hour before the race (yes I like to get there early) was quite worth it considering how much dew was out. The medal was neat, in that the bottom folds out to make it capable of sitting on a desk, and is the only one in my collection like that. Energy was high, even when the back-of-the-packers like me finished, and post race options of IV and massages were on hand. My only gripe is for such a great race, the t-shirt design was sort of mid, and there were long stretches of race where there was no real presence on the course of any motivational support. That of course is not the race’s fault, just don’t expect a lot of people out cheering for you. Huge plusses for the course though were the “real time” tracking of participants and the final mile challenge, but would you expect any less from Garmin?

This will be a repeat race for sure, and I highly encourage everyone to come out and see what KC has to offer as far as top notch races go.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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