Overall Rating
Overall Rating (48 Reviews)
4.5
(48 Ratings)(48 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.9
SCENERY
4.4
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
4
The Kansas City Marathon is managed by the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation, a 100% privately funded nonprofit. The Kansas City Marathon had its debut in 1979 as the Macy’s Marathon. In 1984, the event changed names and was officially branded the Kansas City Marathon. The Kansas City Track … MORE
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H (°F) 63 80 68 78 69
L (°F) 53 52 56 55 42
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Recent reviews

    usamhall FIRST-TIMER '18

    Expo was first rate. Parking was plentiful. The weather was nice. The course was ..... wait for it.... hilly. I have never seen so many hills. And we train in … MORE

    Expo was first rate. Parking was plentiful. The weather was nice. The course was ….. wait for it…. hilly. I have never seen so many hills. And we train in Tulsa which has lots of hills. All I really remember strongly about this race is hill after hill. And of course everyone was saying “this is the last hill”. Well we got it done and found some Maniac friends at the after party. The food, beer, and music was plentiful also. So maybe I should just remember the Expo and After Party!!!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    sandtar79 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Again with the hills! I guess I need to start reading about the race course to be better prepared. The course took us through some lovely neighborhoods, but the hills … MORE

    Again with the hills! I guess I need to start reading about the race course to be better prepared. The course took us through some lovely neighborhoods, but the hills just never stopped coming!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '18

    BOTTOM LINE: Having entered the weekend as a Kansas City newbie not knowing what to expect, I can now enthusiastically gush about the City of Fountains. Both the marathon and … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: Having entered the weekend as a Kansas City newbie not knowing what to expect, I can now enthusiastically gush about the City of Fountains. Both the marathon and the city itself exceeded my expectations for a state that outsiders cheekily pronounce MISS’-ou-ri. Kansas City (as least the Missouri side; we spent very little time on the Kansas side) strikes me as a vibrant, scenic town that’s comfortable in its own skin, with a hint of cosmopolitan panache and plenty to see and do.

    With significant upgrades to the marathon course in recent years, the rolling route now leads its runners past some of the city’s most notable neighborhoods, parks and landmarks including the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain (with its water dyed blue, presumably for race weekend) and the National World War I Museum and Memorial. Even the lengthy out-and-back along Ward Pkwy in miles 14-21 passed quickly with its upscale neighborhoods and flashy fall colors, which always appeal to someone coming from SoCal where seasons are more of a fanciful concept than a climatic reality.

    Sometimes, in the course of running all 50 states, you find a race that just feels right, in an unassuming city that’s eager to showcase itself to anyone receptive to its charms. Kansas City was just such a race, and it’s probably no coincidence that it was also one of my most consistent marathon performances, from its uphill start to its downhill finish. For anyone looking for a Midwestern marathon/half marathon or any 50 Stater looking to add Missouri to their map, I’d highly recommend you #RunKCM. Oh, and do train for hills.

    (Note: I ran KCM as the first half of a back-to-back with the Des Moines Marathon as part of the excellent I-35 Challenge: http://www.sportkc.org/marathon/register/i-35-challenge/)

    PRODUCTION: For the most part, race weekend in the City of Fountains flowed smoothly from start to finish. The energetic pre-race expo, held in historic Union Station, was one of the more enjoyable mid-size expos I’ve attended, with plenty of diverse vendors big and small as well as a number of cool races I’d love to run if I lived in the Midwest. Popular Olympian and running coach Jeff Galloway was available to offer guidance, sign books or simply chat. Kansas City was also the site of the quarterly 50 States Marathon Club reunion, which further added to the energy of the weekend for club members.

    Despite a densely packed start corral that was tough to access, the marathon course did a nice job of showing off the city and its highlights, with plenty of aid stations and terrific volunteers. And though some may disagree, I appreciated the fast downhill finish since I still had control of my legs. Spectator support was sparse, which I count as a positive since big, loud, raucous crowds typically aren’t my cup of tea. That said, a diverse collection of bands filled the air along the route with musical motivation. Hats off, too, to KCM and SportPhotos.com for providing free race photos — always a bonus, and especially if you don’t have your own star spectator like Katie to expertly (wo)man the camera for you.

    Taking advantage of perfect late October weather, the finish line festival in Washington Square Park was jumping. Operation BBQ Relief dished out Kansas City BBQ while Central States Beverage served up local beers. As a vegetarian planning to run another marathon in another state the next day, I bypassed both the BBQ and beer, though not the complimentary massage tent where I got a (literal) leg up on my post-race recovery. A number of photo ops awaited happy finishers, including a gong waiting to be rung by anyone who’d qualified for Boston, set a personal record or simply run Kansas City for the first time (one out of three ain’t bad!). Even KC Royals mascot Slugger was on hand trading high-fives and posing for pictures. Given that we had our sights set on Iowa for the next day’s Des Moines Marathon as part of the I-35 Challenge, we couldn’t stay long, but I soaked up the post-race ambience for as long as possible before hustling back across the street for our noon checkout at the host hotel.

    Speaking of the host hotel, this was our only legit source of race weekend disappointment. Although a convenient and comfortable facility, the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center seemed to have no clue that the city’s largest running event was happening just outside its doors and that many of its patrons would therefore be runners. For example, information on road closures in the vicinity of the hotel would have been helpful for friends and family members who would be driving the course to support their runners. Much more annoying, our request for a late checkout was denied, and by the time we reached our room minutes after noon, our room key had been deactivated. Sadly we weren’t alone, as I chatted with several other disgruntled runners in our hallway while Katie went downstairs to reactivate our key. We ended up disregarding the checkout time, grabbing a quick shower and hitting the road sometime after 12:30pm. So if you expect you’ll need more than 4½ hours to finish your marathon, you may want to think twice before booking the Westin.

    SWAG: KCM earns two thumbs up (and five shoes here on RaceRaves) for this year’s standout swag, which included an attractive and comfy lightweight blue hoodie, the first of its kind I’ve received in 35 marathons and one I’ve already worn on several occasions. And the hefty square finisher medal is uniquely Kansas City in the best way, as it depicts four of the city’s fountains while distinguishing the race distance visually based on ribbon color. Well done, KC!

    For more on the marathon that RaceRaves voters crowned the best in Missouri, check out my blog report (c’mon, you know you want to!) at https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2019/01/30/kansas-city-marathon-race-report/

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    jessuazo FIRST-TIMER '18

    Do not underestimate these hills. Do your hill repeats, do your lunges & get ready to hurt! I had a great time in Kansas City! The scenery was great and … MORE

    Do not underestimate these hills. Do your hill repeats, do your lunges & get ready to hurt! I had a great time in Kansas City! The scenery was great and there’s a ton to do around there. The weather was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! The cons–the course is narrow in parts, like really narrow and crowded. The expo is also small. Overall it was a great experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    vaidilingam FIRST-TIMER '18

    The hills are a killer. The pacers actually do a good job of keeping you on track but you better train well if you want to get a good time. MORE

    The hills are a killer. The pacers actually do a good job of keeping you on track but you better train well if you want to get a good time.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    atibb1223 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This race has a lot of character! It runs through downtown and neighborhoods. It does have some tough hills, but the support along the route is amazing! I would definitely … MORE

    This race has a lot of character! It runs through downtown and neighborhoods. It does have some tough hills, but the support along the route is amazing! I would definitely do this race if you want to have a great time in perfect running weather.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    akeck1129 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    If you love races with lots of support and entertainment, then this is a race you need to experience. It passes through a lot of Kansas City’s historic sights! It … MORE

    If you love races with lots of support and entertainment, then this is a race you need to experience. It passes through a lot of Kansas City’s historic sights! It is a semi – challenging race, but it is a lot of fun!! After you cross the finish line you are very well taken care of with lots of excitement and food!! I highly recommend this race!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
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    4
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    5
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    lrb47620 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Different Course than I have done in the past. I did the 10K for the first time for the Kansas City Marathon to test my knee after knee surgery. It … MORE

    Different Course than I have done in the past. I did the 10K for the first time for the Kansas City Marathon to test my knee after knee surgery. It felt great. Not a hard route at all. Ready to do another Full next year!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    bro0820 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    the kc marathon is always fun. course does a great job winding through all the different neighborhoods and history of the city. you can tell they try to hit areas … MORE

    the kc marathon is always fun. course does a great job winding through all the different neighborhoods and history of the city. you can tell they try to hit areas that will draw lots of spectators, too.
    as for difficulty, the half course has a good mix of hills and flatter stretches in between. the jc nichols/broadway stretch is rough toward the end, but worth it to finish going downhill past the WWI memorial and to the finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
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    starlingk2003 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I marked repeat runner, but I had only run the half before now. It was rough for a first, but I knew about the hills going in. KC is a … MORE

    I marked repeat runner, but I had only run the half before now. It was rough for a first, but I knew about the hills going in. KC is a great town and worth doing. It does go through great districts, but I miss the old course (the half and full share big chunks of the course, so there were things I know used to be on the course that aren’t anymore). Things I liked: there were TONS of people (citizens) out cheering on the runners! Sitting in the driveways, playing music, handing out jellybeans, and starburst, and beer! lol A kid in a unicorn costume gave me a marshmallow! A girl in westport gave me oreos! Things that could have been better: one- the starting chute was very narrow and it was almost impossible to get to where you needed to be (pace-wise) if you weren’t in there super early! Since the half and full start at the same time you are talking about over 5000 runners that need to start all at once and there was space in the road for that chute to be wider. two- the photos (are FREE) were late being posted, and I’d say less than HALF are actually marked by bib #. My photos came up from two spots on the course, and neither was the finish. Nowhere else. But I found the person who finished before me and after me at the finish line, but I had no finish line photo? There ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of “lost and found” pictures, but MOST of them have FULLY LEGIBLE bibs!!! I just don’t get that. I spent 5 hours today (shhhh) clicking and clicking and clicking. Found some of my brother (bib visible) and by carefully going back further, found several cute ones of me (bib visible) that just aren’t tagged to me! I get it that there are probably a million pictures or at least hundreds of thousand, but let someone help you to tag them. Or let the runner tag themself! I couldn’t even “claim” the photos I found! They are now lost back in the bin of unidentified, unless I am willing to click through to find them again (not). So, I finally found my official finish line picture….. check “my media”

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    petermcdavitt REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I have run KC marathon before, and both times it went very smoothly. I really liked the new course, fewer hills, and no more 2-3 mile uphill climbs. The downhill … MORE

    I have run KC marathon before, and both times it went very smoothly. I really liked the new course, fewer hills, and no more 2-3 mile uphill climbs. The downhill finish was OK, doesn’t really matter to me as long as it is not an uphill. Police and volunteers did a great job directing traffic and running aid stations. Only complaint was that the race shirt was a bit lame. I would rather have had a quarter zip thermal or long-sleeve tech shirt than a long-sleeve hoodie made of t-shirt material.

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    3
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    5
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    3

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    lkraxner FIRST-TIMER '18

    A very well-organized, large, beautiful, and fun race with the most amazing volunteers and supporters ever! This city route through KC’s most historical and beautiful landmarks is a can’t miss. … MORE

    A very well-organized, large, beautiful, and fun race with the most amazing volunteers and supporters ever! This city route through KC’s most historical and beautiful landmarks is a can’t miss. Great free music, food, beer, and swag, loved every minute of the half marathon so I decided to make the 2019 event my first-ever marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    5

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 02, 2018 at 9:30pm

    Great job, Lisa! Thanks for your review and best of luck in your first full marathon next year — hope you'll let us know how it goes! That final downhill to the finish is going to be positively euphoric.

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    eeadamek FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was my first half, and it was great! Kansas City is a beautiful city, and though the run was hilly, it was a downhill finish which was great. I … MORE

    This was my first half, and it was great! Kansas City is a beautiful city, and though the run was hilly, it was a downhill finish which was great. I really enjoyed the half and plan to train for the full next year!

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    4
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    5
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    4
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    5

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    ixtlamaster FIRST-TIMER '18

    the view, in the environment, the weather and the staff was wonderful!.... I want to run again but the full marathon. see you in 2019... I'm going to train more … MORE

    the view, in the environment, the weather and the staff was wonderful!….
    I want to run again but the full marathon. see you in 2019…
    I’m going to train more to improve my pace

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    5
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    5
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    kahoefer REPEAT RUNNER '18

    As a KC native, I love this race because it shows off our beautiful city. The course is beautiful and the people involved in running it are the best. Be … MORE

    As a KC native, I love this race because it shows off our beautiful city. The course is beautiful and the people involved in running it are the best. Be warned–this course is HILLY. The last 5ish miles of the marathon 2018 route was nearly all uphill. Luckily, the final .25 mile stretch to the finish line is downhill, so you can finish strong for the crowd. Moral of the story: train on hills! Otherwise, such a high-quality race.

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    5
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    4
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    4
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    2

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    trevl96 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I heard about the Kansas City Marathon 19 weeks prior to race day. I was not a runner but I thought why not give a marathon a shot and see … MORE

    I heard about the Kansas City Marathon 19 weeks prior to race day. I was not a runner but I thought why not give a marathon a shot and see what my body is capable of. I had a lot of fun training for it and meeting some new runner friends that I got to train with. I ended up running it at a 7:49 mile pace and was absolutely thrilled by that. Around mile 20 of the race I got real emotional because right then I new how close I was and just how incredible the experience had been. The next day I signed up for my first half marathon at the beginning of next year! I think I’m really enjoying this running thing and hope to do Kansas City Marathon again next year!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
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    5
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    5
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    5

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    Tattedjoe1985 FIRST-TIMER '18

    this expirience was one of the most exhilarating,fun, hard, and fast races ive ran, as a novice runner(only 3 years), i trained for this race for 4 months, i can … MORE

    this expirience was one of the most exhilarating,fun, hard, and fast races ive ran, as a novice runner(only 3 years), i trained for this race for 4 months, i can remember running 20.5 miles in late august (one of my long runs) and thinking ive got this, i think i could do 26.5, the night before my father and i rode up from kansas, and he regaled me with stories of his previous marathons, me like a little kid, lapping up all the information, it was very special that he was there for this event, at the starting line i wanted to find the 5 hour and 30 minute pacers, but instead i though id play it safe and go with 5 hour and 45 minutes, i found them and 3 other runners, and over the course of teh next hours, we all shared our expiriences, strentghs, and hopes, one man from russia told me he was a recovering alcoholic, me being in recovery, and getting into running shortly after getting clean and sober, i immediatly could identify with him, and around mile 20, on ward parkway,i looked to my pacers and said im going to kick it up a notch and bolted for sunset hills, the last 6 miles were great, i though about my 2 year old son, my wife, my past expiriences,this made the run more emotional at this point, at mile 25 entering the end, i felt elated, coming down thi hill i lost it and began to cry, i saw my father cheer me on, i felt at one with myself, i sought out to complete this marathon under 6 hours, and i achieved that, now the memories chrystallized in my brain, and i loved every minute of the kc marathon 2018, thanks

    DIFFICULTY
    5
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    5
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    5
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    5

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    janetdye REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Very well run race. Great expo for packet pickup. Enjoyable course. I really like the race shirt. Food and beer afterwards! Convenient parking along the Kansas City Streetcar route. MORE

    Very well run race. Great expo for packet pickup. Enjoyable course. I really like the race shirt. Food and beer afterwards! Convenient parking along the Kansas City Streetcar route.

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    2
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    5
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    4
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    cwachta FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was a fun race, well staffed and supported! The course goes by many KC landmarks. The aid stations were well staffed, and the staff was enthusiastic and encouraging. I … MORE

    This was a fun race, well staffed and supported! The course goes by many KC landmarks. The aid stations were well staffed, and the staff was enthusiastic and encouraging. I missed the Gu at the half way station though. Random live music along the way. Unexpected beer or Fireball shot passing through Westport! The hills in the first part of the course didn’t bother me, the tough part for me was the long climb from the Plaza through Westport to the high point above the descent to the finish line. Lots of spectators cheering along the way! Many signs and costumes.

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    3
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    paulyforfun FIRST-TIMER '18

    Spectacular finish line medals. Despite the four levels of race (5k, 10k, half, full) the only thing really crowded was the first quarter mile - after that everything thinned out … MORE

    Spectacular finish line medals. Despite the four levels of race (5k, 10k, half, full) the only thing really crowded was the first quarter mile – after that everything thinned out on the wide streets of downtown. The bands along the way and the spectators with fun signs made it all the better.

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    3
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