Overall Rating
Overall Rating (10 Reviews)
3.9
(10 Ratings)(10 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.5
SCENERY
3
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
3.6
The Prairie Fire Marathon is a USATF Certified Race and a Boston Marathon Qualifier (Certification #KS13034TR). It is the RRCA State of Kansas Championship Marathon. The Prairie Fire Marathon promises a fast and exciting course taking runners through the heart of Wichita. While on the course, runners are able to … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    How did I end up going to Kansas for 31 hours to run a marathon this weekend? It's a bit of a long story but I was planning to do … MORE

    How did I end up going to Kansas for 31 hours to run a marathon this weekend? It’s a bit of a long story but I was planning to do my fall marathon this weekend so I could also do virtual Boston at the same time since I want a unicorn medal but am never going to be fast enough to BQ and don’t want to raise thousands of dollars. I was originally planning to do the much closer Steamtown marathon but that got canceled and I needed a backup. I wanted to find a backup I knew would happened. I asked the Marathon Maniacs Facebook group for recs for this weekend and someone suggested this one. I was intrigued as it was a new state and happened last fall so was definitely happening this year. Since it was on a Sunday I could potentially go for just the weekend but I would need to find perfect flights. I looked for flights and found perfectly timed flights and decided to go to Kansas for 31 hours to run the “Boston” marathon. Logistics, this is a very convenient race as the packet pickup, race start and finish and race hotels are all within about a block of each other. If you want a race you don’t need a rental car this is a good one. I flew in to Wichita early Saturday and took a cab to the hotel. I stayed at the Courtyard Marriot. It was really cheap at $100/night and very nice for the price although a fire alarm falsely went off at 10:30pm when I was asleep so that was annoying. Packet pick up is the day before right by the start line. There was no expo but it was outside and efficient. There is no race day packet pickup but it is a Sunday race so that’s not as big a deal for me. However I do think they should have kept packet pickup open a little longer. It stopped at 4pm. That may be tight for some people. Packet included a personalized bib, the race shirt, athlete guide and a magazine with things to do in Wichita. The shirt is a nice blue polyblend shirt. I’d prefer a tech shirt but it is very comfortable and the design is nice. The race is in Old Town Wichita and there are enough interesting things nearby within walking distance to keep you entertained for a day or two. I also found great vegan/vegetarian food at Lotus Leaf Cafe and Sabor Latin Grill. Race day starts at 7:30am. The half and full start together. There were about 1600 runners all together but much more were doing the half than the full. The start was set up well. There were lots of porta potties and a place were you could get coffee and small snacks. There were pacers which helped runners line up by pace. I liked that they had pacers but I wish they had them for slower runners as they stopped at 2:30/5:00. The start went well and was on time. There is a different start and finish chute both with timing mats. The first part of the course is a 3.5 mile out and back along one of the main streets of Wichita that is about for a total of 7 miles. Then there is about a 6 mile loop along the river. Marathoners do this twice. Scenery for the race was okay. This was probably my least favorite scenery of any marathon I’ve done but I’ve generally chosen very scenic marathons. It’s probably the best scenery they could find in Wichita as Wichita is not exactly Los Angeles or Red Rock Canyon. The main street has some interesting buildings and lots of spectators. The loop had a cool view of the science museum, some nice views of the river and a very well done blue mile at mile 8. The second loop was the same with less spectators and they took down the blue mile. Course was easy to follow and the streets were closed or a large area was coned off so very safe. There were accurate and very big mile markers and lots of aid stations. The aid stations were approximately every 1.5 to 2 miles. All had water and gatorade. 2 had gu the first loop but there was none the second loop at least for slower marathoners. Also the volunteers just left some cups and left at one of the aid stations on the second loop but that seemed to be a one off as all the other aid stations had volunteers on the second loop and this may have been the volunteers and not the race’s fault. The course is very flat but not quite pancake flat. There are a few minor hills/inclines on the out and back. It would normally be a very easy and fast course but today was very hot. It was in the high 70s for most of the race and there was no shade. This made the race quite difficult and slow. As a result I walked the inclines and just a lot of the race but if I were doing the half and it were 10 degrees cooler there was no place on course I would have to walk. The finish line was great. An announcer called out all the runners names and there were quite a few people cheering even though I was slow. This is one of my slowest marathons but with the heat I just wanted to finish under 6 hours and I did that. At the end you are given your medal. It is a really cool medal. The more I looked at it the more I appreciate it. It is shaped like Kansas, has the distance, date, the cute running bunny logo and lots of little details specific to Wichita/Kansas. Great medal for a 50 stater. Only complaint is it is one sided. There was also water, gatorade, bananas and granola bars at the finish line. There was a nice area for post race celebration. There were multiple beers to choose from if you drink along with pizza and some samples of some meat. I passed on the meat and beer but did take some pizza. They had extras and actually offered me a full pie but I wasn’t that hungry but got several slices of cheese pizza. They also had massages and there were chairs and picnic tables set up. Overall I thought they did a really good job with this race. Production was really good for a mid size race. The worst part was the weather which was out of the race director’s control. I did think the scenery got a little boring especially since it’s a double loop race and the energy in the first loop was definitely better than the second but that’s true of most marathons. This definitely seems to be a good option for Kansas especially with the medal. However if it wasn’t for the fact I needed a full marathon this weekend for virtual Boston this would be a race where I would say to just do the half if you are like me and doing a mix of halfs and fulls to get your 50 states. I’m still very glad I did the marathon this weekend to get a new state and my unicorn medal along with my cool Kansas medal.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    bobbybengal79 FIRST-TIMER '20

    Overall a nicely ran race during a pandemic... a good solid alternative to Kansas city Marathon being canceled... Social media and email communication before the race was excellent. Course was … MORE

    Overall a nicely ran race during a pandemic… a good solid alternative to Kansas city Marathon being canceled…
    Social media and email communication before the race was excellent. Course was pretty flat but the full was 2 loops…which included running by the same areas just on the other side of the road during each loop…but you did get to run through some neat parts of Wichita. trickle start with masks seemed to work but there was still a gaggle at the start…aid stations were limited to water/Gatorade…no gel(not sure why)….crowd support was better than anticipated… course was well marked and I found mile 8 in support of the fallen military inspiring and emotional…The weather was not ideal for the beginning of October…very windy and it warmed up quick so my time wasn’t ideal…a lot of hotels and restaurants near the start…though some of the areas near there were run down to include shattered windows that my 2 year old almost got into

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    usamhall REPEAT RUNNER '20

    No expo due to Covid19, Start was planned as a trickle start however everyone was standing on top of one another. The first half was fast for me but of … MORE

    No expo due to Covid19, Start was planned as a trickle start however everyone was standing on top of one another. The first half was fast for me but of course it was hot on the second… my fault back of the pack runner. But I pushed myself and finished. If it had been cooler I would have done better. The race is well arranged for spectators not so much for runners. When running down the main street (Douglas) runners are in the middle of two lanes of traffic very well marked. But not so good if you are looking for shade from the sun. So I liked the new start venue however there weren’t as many neighborhood streets once again no shelter from the sun.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    shilpa REPEAT RUNNER '20

    the best sign on the course "RUNNING ON COFFEE & COVID ANARCHY" i think the race organizers did an excellent job in this covid environment. packet pick up was outside, … MORE

    the best sign on the course “RUNNING ON COFFEE & COVID ANARCHY”

    i think the race organizers did an excellent job in this covid environment.
    packet pick up was outside, no expo, you got the medal at the packet pick up to reduce congestion at finish line. Volunteers at water stations were less than normal. Course was different than previous years to make it a 2 loop for the full. Pretty course – through some nice neighborhoods and then by the river front.

    They had a blue mile to honor fallen and missing military. Was very emotional.

    Logistics –
    stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Old Town which was 2 blocks from start and finish. Excellent meals at
    Sabor Latin Bar & Grill – simply outstanding pre race dinner – lots of vegeteraian options,
    Dempseys Burger – post race burgers (yummy portabello mushroom burger option)
    Pumphouse – saturday lunch option

    We also spendt a couple of hours at the Sedgwick County Historical Museum – very informative about the settling in the midwest, and the start of Wichita.

    Overall a great weekend.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2
    My Media

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    seagroves87 Aug 31, 2021 at 6:47pm

    I just signed up for this one since my planned marathon canceled the weekend of this race and I'm glad I found your review so I know where to get… MORE

    I just signed up for this one since my planned marathon canceled the weekend of this race and I'm glad I found your review so I know where to get good vegetarian food! LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 22, 2020 at 7:38pm

    Well, dang it! Wish I'd known you had this one in your sights, I'd have joined you rather than running the Kansas Rails to Trails 50K in Ottawa this coming… MORE

    Well, dang it! Wish I'd known you had this one in your sights, I'd have joined you rather than running the Kansas Rails to Trails 50K in Ottawa this coming weekend. We need to coordinate our travels soon. But glad you had a great weekend in Wichita, and here's hoping more and more races open up in the coming months thanks to safe, effective covid plans like Prairie Fire's. 🤞 LESS

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    coweyeslee FIRST-TIMER '20

    It was windy 25-35 mph and sunny 65F start & 85 finish. I did horrible w heat so it wasn't a pleasant run for me, but nice view, nice city … MORE

    It was windy 25-35 mph and sunny 65F start & 85 finish. I did horrible w heat so it wasn’t a pleasant run for me, but nice view, nice city and people, awesome race crews.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    raispuro REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This was the second race of the “back to back”. The host hotel was literally at the start/finish line. The hotel staff was amazing. The course itself wasn’t anything memorable, … MORE

    This was the second race of the “back to back”. The host hotel was literally at the start/finish line. The hotel staff was amazing. The course itself wasn’t anything memorable, so nothing horrible or amazing. It was a different course from the May race. The post race food and crowd is amazing! Definitely a great race! I would recommend this one to anyone! Especially if you are close to Wichita, this is great because their “back to back” is a May and October race.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    dwhitehorse FIRST-TIMER '19

    This course is very flat and fast, two-loop with a long out and back through town. Once the marathon starts the second lap, the course is pretty devoid of spectators...and … MORE

    This course is very flat and fast, two-loop with a long out and back through town. Once the marathon starts the second lap, the course is pretty devoid of spectators…and other participants. The race itself was well run. They moved the start to an area downtown that was a little hard to get to due to road closures and construction, but the nightclub at the start line was warm and had indoor bathrooms.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    usamhall REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I had run the half my first year and enjoyed it. I had even gotten a PR on the flat half course. The Marathon expo is huge and the race … MORE

    I had run the half my first year and enjoyed it. I had even gotten a PR on the flat half course. The Marathon expo is huge and the race flat and well organized. Why then was it such a killer? We had just started when it started the rain. The temperature dropped from 40 to 33 for the finish. There were only 26 miles of pouring freezing rain. I feel sorry for the RD, he can’t control the weather. No one dared to stay for the after party this year. When getting my medal they asked me if I wanted to step into the medical tent to warm up. I was shaking and my teeth were clattering. So happy the hotel was just steps away. Since I had done it once and enjoyed I may go back. I would tell you it was my second worst experience in running.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    msteele7 FIRST-TIMER '17

    The water stations were sparse but great race, good support and since I was super slow and last I had my own golf cart for support. I choose this race … MORE

    The water stations were sparse but great race, good support and since I was super slow and last I had my own golf cart for support. I choose this race as my first half because it is a fast and flat course. I felt it was flat.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    mjenn66 FIRST-TIMER '15

    Great course. Go for a PR! Flat and fast. Great for new runners who don't want a difficult challenge, beyond the distance. I loved the race logo and finisher medal, … MORE

    Great course. Go for a PR! Flat and fast. Great for new runners who don’t want a difficult challenge, beyond the distance. I loved the race logo and finisher medal, one reason I chose to run it. Smaller size race, but well run and made to feel like a bigger event. And a bonus of a smaller race is: 1st place age group award!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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