Garmin Kansas City Marathon

Garmin Kansas City Marathon

Garmin Kansas City Marathon

( 43 reviews )
97% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Kansas City,
    United States
  • October
  • 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race, Relay
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

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Jessica Rudd

Atlanta, Georgia, United States
68 61
"Holy Hills, Batman, we're not in Kansas anymore (lol, it's Missouri!)"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Jessica Rudd's thoughts:

Tl;dr - Despite a VERY hilly course with some other minor gripes, this was a well-managed race with one of the nicer urban marathon courses I've done.

Travel/lodging - Easy 2-hour direct flight on Delta from Atlanta made this an accessible marathon state to check off (FYI, the entire course is in KC, Missouri, so this is a Missouri state race for those wondering). I chose to stay at the Marriott Residence Inn Country Club Plaza. This is an easy 10-minute walk/5 min warm-up jog to the start/finish area. I highly recommend staying in this area as it offers easy race access, is close to some attractions, including the art museum, and has lots of food and shopping options. I did not have a car and was within walking distance of everything needed, so I cannot speak to race-day parking, but it seemed like there were plenty of options, according to the race guide.

Expo - Union Station is a beautiful old rail station that now serves Amtrak. It also houses a science museum. The expo was pretty basic (which I like) but had everything needed if you wanted to grab a few extra race essentials. I enjoy an easy-in, easy-out expo. The packet included a nice soft long-sleeve race shirt and a metal tumbler. The tumbler is a nice touch, as it's something I've never received at another race.

Race morning - As I said above, I stayed very close to the start. This allowed me to have breakfast, stretch, and warm up in my warm hotel room. I left the hotel at 6:20 and made it to the start area by 6:30. This was plenty of time to hit the bathroom one more time (tons of porta-johns and the lines moved fast) and then make it to the corral by 6:45. The first complaint for race day is that there was only one entrance to the start corrals. You had to walk to the back of the corrals, the only opening in the metal fencing, and then push your way through all the people to get towards the front if you planned to run in a faster pace group. I couldn't see, but it seemed like there was an elite and/or wheelchair start right at 7am and then the rest of the field was sent off about 5 minutes later.

The course - I knew it would not be flat, but I assumed, coming from the hills of ATL, that it would be a nice rolling course. Wrong! The first half of this course was one of the most difficult, hilly road courses I've experienced. Many of the hills, especially in the first 10k, are long, sustained climbs, punchy walls, and sometimes a combination. The downtown areas and neighborhoods were nice, and the views at the top of some of the climbs were lovely (especially as the sun was rising), but WOW, hard! The other thing I noticed was that the road conditions in KC are TERRIBLE. There is a TON of construction (obviously, this may change year-to-year), which led to a fair amount of obstacles, including narrow sections, unmarked potholes, ungraded road sections, construction equipment, etc. I was surprised that none of the hazards were marked. This did not seem to bother anyone, I didn't see anyone fall, and this is something that's probably a temporary inconvenience. There's a lot of construction in KC right now, preparing for the NFL draft next year and the World Cup in a few years.

Water stops are every 1.5-2 miles and featured water and Powerade. Some stops also included GUs and bananas. They all included bathrooms. The abundance of water stops was appreciated but I do wish the Powerade was mixed more consistently between stops. Many of the stops had very watery Powerade.

Even though the course was quite difficult, it was a beautiful urban course. In other urban races, there always seems to be a back half section where you're stuck in a bland industrial area. This was not the case at all in KC Marathon. The back half of the marathon was a long out-and-back on a divided parkway (?) through nice, shaded neighborhoods. The ONB was nice because you see runners and cheering neighbors in both directions. I expected to be lonely in the second half of this race but was happy to be surrounded by runners the entire time.

Finish - I struggled a lot in the second half of this race (remember all those hills in the first half? They only got slightly better in the second half), so I was very excited to finish. The finish area was easy to navigate. After receiving a medal, I was quickly handed a water bottle; unfortunately, I needed electrolytes instead. Besides water and beer, I could not find any sports drink at the finish. Five minutes after finishing, I collapsed on the lawn when my calves cramped worse than I'd ever experienced. It would have been much nicer had there been more Powerade, Coke, and/or chocolate milk at the finish. However, I saved myself by downing a bag of Lays potato chips (mmmm salty goodness). Also, the post-race BBQ sandwich from Jack Stack BBQ was super tasty. After reviving myself, I walked the 5 minutes back to my hotel (again - staying near the start/finish is a VERY GOOD idea).

I think some small improvements can be easily implemented in this race. Still, overall I enjoyed the experience, the tour of a surprisingly pretty city, and the friendly atmosphere.

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