Overall Rating
Overall Rating (17 Reviews)
3.8
(17 Ratings)(17 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.4
SCENERY
2.9
PRODUCTION
3.9
SWAG
4.4
Join us for a marathon, half marathon, 10k or kids run through the beautiful streets and trails of Olathe. The event began in 2003 as the Olathe Marathon. The city of Olathe is just 20 minutes southwest of downtown Kansas City, located in Johnson County, Kansas. Come experience our Midwest … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Lowell Johnson
    lowellscott1960 FIRST-TIMER '14

    Decided to run with a pace group and had one of the best races of my career! This guy was a joy to run with. All the folks I've run … MORE

    Decided to run with a pace group and had one of the best races of my career! This guy was a joy to run with. All the folks I’ve run with that are part of the Garmin pace team have been top-notch; they know the course and so they adjust the pace for hills and rest stops.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Katie Starling
    starlingk2003 FIRST-TIMER '14

    It was raining that day, I had a knee brace on, I was trained, but "injured" with no diagnosed injury. This was a rough race, but I finished it. The … MORE

    It was raining that day, I had a knee brace on, I was trained, but “injured” with no diagnosed injury. This was a rough race, but I finished it. The medical tent at the finish line was good to me and warmed me up and helped me with my knee. I love their Wizard of Oz medals (the half marathon was a glow in the dark Wicked Witch that year) and the atmosphere is fun!! I have come back to run this one two more times! It is worth your time if you are looking for a race in KS. BUT it is NOT flat.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Katie Starling
    starlingk2003 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I compared the course maps with the archived course maps (very cool that they still have them) and this year was the SAME route with maybe one or two blocks … MORE

    I compared the course maps with the archived course maps (very cool that they still have them) and this year was the SAME route with maybe one or two blocks different from the first year I ran it in 2014. MUCH happier!! Still some hills, but nothing dreadful like 2017. They are starting a progression of characters to feature and this was “the year of the Dorothy” Medals were all three the same (different sizes) and were glittery ruby slippers. The shirt design was cute this year too. Happier this year, better trained and I dropped an HOUR from my 2017 time! Not a PR, but my 3rd sub 2 hour half marathon!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Katie Starling
    starlingk2003 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I ran this race for the first time in 2014 as part of the Heartland 39.3 series. This was my first time back. This is a Wizard of Oz themed … MORE

    I ran this race for the first time in 2014 as part of the Heartland 39.3 series. This was my first time back. This is a Wizard of Oz themed race and they have AWESOME MEDALS. That was why I decided to run this one (as opposed to other spring 2017 choices). The medal was a tornado that actually spins inside of a yellow brick road, and there is a tiny house that spins independently of that as well. Other medals were toto in a basket and the wizard of Oz himself. The course had been changed since 2014, and I was not a fan. VERY VERY hilly. I was hoping to improve my time from back then because in 2014 I was running with a knee brace on, and struggled. This time, I had trained and was uninjured, but I was unprepared for the hillier new course and was slower than 3 years before when I was running while injured.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Leslie Christensen
    lchristensen44 FIRST-TIMER '18

    The expo was about 30-40 minutes from downtown Kansas City. It was not huge but had everything a runner might need last minute or just want to pick up. They … MORE

    The expo was about 30-40 minutes from downtown Kansas City. It was not huge but had everything a runner might need last minute or just want to pick up. They had a booth that would make shirts for you with a mix and match slection of shirt styles and Wizard of Oz expressions.

    We did not take the shuttle in race morning because a local friend dropped us off. The start at Garmin Headquarters was well organized. There were plenty of porta potties and a big covered garage area to seek shelter had it been raining. They offered race day packet pickup too.

    The half course was hillier than I imagined Kansas would be. It doesn’t necessarily have huge hills but rather rolling hills. You mostly run through residential areas in a Saturday morning. There is not a lot of crowd support or entertainment so you may want to pack an iPod if you like running with music.

    There’s a spot in the course where you run into a park trail that is decorated with flying monkeys which was cute and in the theme of the race. I dressed as Dorthy and would guess about 1/4 of the runners wore costumes (maybe a little less). At one point I was running alongside a few other Dorthys!

    The race finished were it started. The finisher medals were really cute and if you’re lucky enough to place in your age group, these awards were desk worthy too.

    After the race, if you’re over 21, there was free beer and margaritas courtesy of a local restaurant. Another restaurant offered free barbecue chicken sandwiches which were cooked fresh on a big grill. They also had a live band and tables and chairs to rest. It wasn’t raining but it was all under cover which was nice.

    I ran this race to check off Kansas and visit a friend who lived in the area. Had I known there was another half over the state line in Missouri the next day (Sunday). So if you’re considering this race, which you should, keep that in mind.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    jamielkramer FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was an overall good race. I thought it was well-organized, really nice shirts and medals, plus a good finish-line festival. It seemed like about half of the full-marathon was … MORE

    This was an overall good race. I thought it was well-organized, really nice shirts and medals, plus a good finish-line festival. It seemed like about half of the full-marathon was on a paved trail, which was fine and offered some green space to enjoy. However, there were not many spectators at all- not even in the residential areas. The aid stations were well stocked and they handed out GU at 4 different places in the race. Pacers were awesome- they used the Smart Pacing strategy, rather than an even strategy and it really helped me out. At the finish line, there was plenty of food, beer, and massages available. They had a band and margaritas, but they were gone by the time I finished. I felt it was a fun ending to a great race, though, and they had a wide beer selection!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Nolan Abshere
    ihaveabshere FIRST-TIMER '18

    I grew up reading the Oz books so I thought this would be a cool run. Wasn't as themed out as I expected, some runners were dressed up, but that … MORE

    I grew up reading the Oz books so I thought this would be a cool run. Wasn’t as themed out as I expected, some runners were dressed up, but that was it. The expo was super small. I was in and out of there in 2 minutes because there weren’t a lot of vendors. The race started seconds after the gun. The route is okay with some rolling hills which get annoying. Not a lot of crowd/community support, anyone who was cheering was cheering for their friends and family. A lot of the marathon is on a running path that has to be shared for a part of it because it is a down and back, so it can get a little tight. While on the path there isn’t much to look at, so it was kinda boring in my opinion. As I finished the race I was excited for the party and all of the benefits that came with it, only to find out that the party was basically over even though a lot of runners had not finished. It seemed like the event was for more of the shorter runs that day, so the marathoners were overlooked. They had a lot of volunteers for the course and finish and who were all super nice. Was a nice idea, but wasn’t executed as well as some of the bigger marathons.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    runnercupcake FIRST-TIMER '18

    Between this race & Little Rock, it’s a close call to which one was more fun 😄 Crowd support was fantastic. They had amazing post race food spread cause I’m … MORE

    Between this race & Little Rock, it’s a close call to which one was more fun 😄 Crowd support was fantastic. They had amazing post race food spread cause I’m all about that food life 🤣😋 There was a garage band playing some post-race music (they played in the parking garage = garage band lol). The start of race was a surprise. The start gun went off like 2 seconds after the national anthem singer finished. No countdown, nothing lol. It went off & it was go time! Many hills throughout the race, about 1 for each mile from mile 4 until 9. One of them I nicknamed semi-heartbreak hill (from Boston, not that I know what that hills like, one day) cause it was a steep one between mile 4 & 5. The finisher’s medal is definitely one of the prettiest & unique and I like that the glitter is sealed in. None of that glitterfetti mess lol. Temps & wind were perfect today! If you need to mark Kansas off your list of states, choose this one! They also have the marathon & 10K option as well as a kids’ munchkin fun run.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    d.dencklau FIRST-TIMER '17

    As the title said, getting there was a nightmare. But outside of that, the race was solid. Pros: -Good swag, friendly volunteers, solid (but small) expo -Not much crowd support, … MORE

    As the title said, getting there was a nightmare. But outside of that, the race was solid.

    Pros:
    -Good swag, friendly volunteers, solid (but small) expo
    -Not much crowd support, but I enjoyed the course. Nothing spectacular, but enough variety of scenery that it I never felt bored with it
    -Solid post race food
    -Well supported on course

    Cons:
    -I’m not sure what the snafus was with getting everyone in, but we arrived at the shuttle location about an hour and half prior to race start. We would have been earlier, but the shuttle location took us through part of the congestion for the people trying to park at the race start. The shuttles then needed to get through the same bad traffic. I hope they manage to fix those issues for 2018, but my best advice is to arrive early. Very early.

    Bottom line:
    Who knew Kansas had so many rolling hills?! I wouldn’t call the course super tough, but it certainly wasn’t as flat as I expected! Nice race other than the parking/shuttle snafu. Likely wouldn’t travel to do a again, but not a bad race to mark Kansas off the list.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    42kStraley FIRST-TIMER '17

    The Garmin Marathon is a race that has had many changes to its course. I'm glad I ran it because I'm a loyal supporter of Garmin running watches and they … MORE

    The Garmin Marathon is a race that has had many changes to its course. I’m glad I ran it because I’m a loyal supporter of Garmin running watches and they develop unique race swag. The scenery was a bit boring, but the elevation changes were not that hard to handle. I set my PR for 2017 here and the pacers I ran with were expert level.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Margaret Chamas
    thegreatmdunn FIRST-TIMER '17

    Arrive early! In 2017 at least, the race was delayed twice because runners were still trying to get parked! A lot of people didn't start with the actual race. Getting … MORE

    Arrive early! In 2017 at least, the race was delayed twice because runners were still trying to get parked! A lot of people didn’t start with the actual race. Getting to the location was a bit of a nightmare.

    That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this race. It was pretty scenic (decent neighborhoods for the first half-plus, and then a recreational paved trail), and included some rolling hills without being too challenging. Be ready though – the first half-plus is rolling hills, then it gets very very flat on the recreational trail, and then the last few miles are mostly uphill. I felt that there were a good number of aid stations, though I brought fluids with me so only occasionally took water.

    I rated the swag only a 4 because while the shirt is really nice, the medals are ludicrously large – very much not my style and honestly so over-the-top that I don’t want to display it!

    That all aside, I enjoyed the race and will consider it for next year. I do hope that the parking/start area is changed drastically to avoid this year’s mess.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    KateBrummel REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This was my second year running the half marathon in Olathe. There aren't as many spectators on this course, so I was a little more mentally prepared for that compared … MORE

    This was my second year running the half marathon in Olathe. There aren’t as many spectators on this course, so I was a little more mentally prepared for that compared to last year. Traffic was a nightmare that morning, and to credit those putting on the race, they recognized that several runners were stuck on the highway trying to get to the event, so they postponed it.

    The after race party they threw was fantastic! It was a very cold race day, so they had plenty of tents, space heaters, food and beer and margaritas! Pretty great way to celebrate another 13.1 in the books!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '16

    First off, my understanding is 2016 was a completely different course from years past, so be aware if you're thinking of registering and looked at old reviews. This is for … MORE

    First off, my understanding is 2016 was a completely different course from years past, so be aware if you’re thinking of registering and looked at old reviews. This is for the 2016 event that just took place.

    My opinion is it was a good race. The RD put out A LOT of good information well in advance of the event, which is always helpful, especially for us out of towners. It was my 32nd marathon and 27th state so I appreciate all of the intel in advance!

    The expo was a nice size. If you enjoy shopping for gear or talking to vendors, it’s big enough for that. If you just want to grab your bib and shirt, you can do that too. I didn’t have any waiting around, there was ample parking at the convention center (part of the Embassy Suites in Olathe), and the volunteers were very helpful. I double checked my info at the first table, walked 10 steps and got my bib, then meandered to the back of the hall to get my shirt. There was plenty of information to be gathered here too – parking, race course, shuttles, etc. They also had a cute “yellow brick road” path on the floor leading you to where you needed to be. Appropriate, given it’s the Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz. Lots of photo ops too if you’re so inclined.

    My impression is that the previous course was fairly flat and fast, and surprisingly, they still billed this course as mostly flat and fast too. Not the case. It was pretty continuously rolling, with some bigger hills late in the course. I’m not anti-hill, I actually kind of like the variation, but there was very little in the way of flat stretches and when you’re expecting flat, it’s not always a nice surprise. That said, just be prepared!

    The great thing about the morning is that the race starts early (6:45am for the full). I love an early race because it means you’re done early! Also, the start (and finish) is right outside the convention center and hotel. If you stay at the Embassy Suites, you’re golden (I did not but I got there early). Even if you don’t, you can stay warm (or dry, as the weather dictates) inside the convention center. Pretty nice perk depending on the weather. We lucked out with comfortable, cool temps and overcast skies, though it was windy. Not bad at all! The RD had advertised a Marathon Maniac Corner (like Route 66 offers) which would have been nice, but I don’t think it ever materialized, even though they gave out wristbands to us MM/50 Staters. Maybe next year they will figure that part out. Regardless, it wasn’t a big deal to not have that.

    A quick word on parking. I had about a 15 minute drive from my hotel in Overland Park. I was concerned that parking would fill up fast so I arrived very early (about 5am). I had no problem parking in the many lots across from the starting and finishing area. There were also two shuttle spots that would drop you off at the start. I’m sure this will change before next year’s event, but I heard that people got screwed trying to leave the parking lot after the race. As in, they had to sit and wait for 60-90 minutes in a traffic jam trying to cross the course which ran on the only road out of the commercial park. Not great planning for that aspect. Now, that said, as a full marathoner, I think the vast majority of those stuck were 10k and half runners, so when I left I had zero problem exiting. Like I said, I bet they change that for next year.

    The start went off smoothly, and then we were off into the hills. The full and half ran the first 12-point-something miles together before we broke off for the second half. The first half was pretty residential, nothing glorious or scenic but not bad either. The second half was on a paved path by the river which offered peaceful solitude (seriously, there were like triple the half runners, so we were pretty spread out on the back half). The path is out and back to the last 1.2 miles when you run back to the convention center. It was hilly too. Aid stations were plentiful, about every 2 miles, and the course seemed to be marked very well. I ran 26.3, which is about right considering I don’t always run tangents very well!

    I didn’t check out the finish line food, just got a granola bar and water, but I think there were hot sandwiches and maybe some other things. They did have massage therapists inside and outside, which was awesome. I usually find the wait to be too long for this little perk, but it wasn’t more than a couple of minutes in Oz. I got stretched out first, then a nice massage, all inside the wind-free convention center! I also got my printed finisher’s certificate and results quickly.

    The bling for this race was first rate. Very cool dark blue tech shirt with NEVER SURRENDER on the front and the outline of the wicked witch in green, probably one of my favorite race shirts. The medal is quite large and also features the wicked witch. If you like the bling, it’s a good race to collect a nice heavy finisher’s medal.

    Bottom line: it was far from a PR for me and it wasn’t an easy course. But, it was well supported, the course wasn’t bad, the bling was awesome, and we had good weather, so I consider it a good race worth doing and I would recommend it for a Kansas finish for any other 50 staters.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    Joerobe FIRST-TIMER '17

    Overall Rating: Pretty good with a couple of things I didn't love. Course Difficulty: Rolling hills on streets and in neighborhoods for the first half, nice flat rail trail for … MORE

    Overall Rating: Pretty good with a couple of things I didn’t love.

    Course Difficulty: Rolling hills on streets and in neighborhoods for the first half, nice flat rail trail for the second half.

    Course Scenery: The first half was the local community; the second half was nice (running in the shade next to a creek).

    Race Production: Good, for the biggest part. We rolled in at about 3am and the road crews were out in full force, slept a little and when we woke at 5am the parking guys were already in place and doing a great job. Race morning packet pick up was smooth. And then the things I didn’t love…at 6:35 we received an alert that the 6:45 start of the race was going to be delayed by 15 minutes due to traffic problems, it was cold and windy, and this made everyone who had planned correctly and gotten there on time a little grouchy…then, at 7am the announcer said we would have another delay for 10 minutes…WHAT??? I know I run more marathons than a lot of people, but come on, everyone (even newbies if they’re honest with themselves) know you need to get there 1-2 hours before the race start if you want to get parked and prepped, and if you’re a poor planner or just love to sleep in, then the race is going to start without you. It’s chip timed, so maybe it would have been better to leave the start mat in place a little longer.

    I learned a couple of rules when I started working-If you’re early your on time, if you’re on time you’re late, and if you’re late your finished, or how about his one-poor planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part. I could go on, but why…

    Any way, rant over… from my observation, the kiddie race was probably the main issue, and it is likely why most races move this and shorter distances (5k-10k) to the day before the marathon and half.

    Race Swag: Really good. Nice spinner medal and good tech shirt.

    My Performance: The knee was still not good, so it was pretty slow. Happy to finish and cross Kansas off the state list.

    Even though it was a pretty slow run, the rain went away and it was a beautiful day, I met some great people who I will be seeing at future races, and I crossed Kansas off the list. Fix just a couple of issues, and this race will move from good to great.

    I’ll take it.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Peter FIRST-TIMER '17

    Relatively flat half marathon but very windy, especially the last half mile. Rolling Kansas hills were very nice; about half the race was through suburban streets. Race swag was interesting, … MORE

    Relatively flat half marathon but very windy, especially the last half mile. Rolling Kansas hills were very nice; about half the race was through suburban streets. Race swag was interesting, and the hot dogs at the end were fantastic. Well run relatively small race.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    runmichigan FIRST-TIMER '16

    The organizers changed to a new course in 2016 to eliminate the 'muddy trail' scenario from previous years. However, this made the course more challenging with fairly constant rolling hills … MORE

    The organizers changed to a new course in 2016 to eliminate the ‘muddy trail’ scenario from previous years. However, this made the course more challenging with fairly constant rolling hills throughout – even on the bike path used for the second half.

    Pros:
    1) Very good race organization
    2) Lots of committed volunteers
    3) New expo location allows for easier packet pick-up
    4) First half of course showcases lots of Olathe and surrounding communities
    5) Large medal with changing Wizard of Oz theme
    6) Good communication via email and Facebook leading up to marathon
    7) Excellent new start/finish location
    8) Good course support with water, Gatorade?, and Gu.

    Cons:
    1) Expo was on small side with maybe 20 vendors
    2) Marathon is over shadowed by half marathon
    3) Second half of marathon course is extremely rolling 6.5 miles out and 6.5 miles back on an asphalt bike trail which is fairly boring
    4) Insufficient number of portapotties at start
    5) Community did not seem aware of marathon – few spectators beyond runners’ families
    6) Garmin reps at expo did not know their Forerunner product line very well

    Overall this is a good smaller marathon. The Oz theme is fun. The weather was a bit warm. That combined with the challenging course, especially the bike trail section, kicked my butt. It did allow me to complete Kansas on my 50 state marathon quest.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    dansolera FIRST-TIMER '13

    I ran this race as a training run leading up to my first 50k, so I ran it conservatively and with no time ambitions. In hindsight, I would have preferred … MORE

    I ran this race as a training run leading up to my first 50k, so I ran it conservatively and with no time ambitions. In hindsight, I would have preferred to run this as a PR attempt because at least then I would have had something to focus on. The race runs through mostly flat neighborhood roads, and then on a narrow bike path through a park. There’s one aid station that is flush with Wizard of Oz costumes and references, but it’s far from enough to really give this race the quirk it promises. They do give good medals and t-shirts, and I got to see Desiree Linden, Scott Jurek and Josh Cox at the finish line, but other than that, it’s difficult to get swept away by this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    4

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