- 13.1/Half Marathon
- Road Race
The Garmin in the Land of OZ half marathon is an enchanting race. If you love the Wizard of Oz, you must do this race! The race takes place in Olathe Kansas and while it is not a booming metropolis it's the perfect setting for this theme. This year the weather even gave us a perfect backdrop of storms to make us really feel like we were in the movie! Luckily, no Twisters made an appearance!
The Expo was really small and was more of a packet pickup than anything but they had a couple vendors present. Also the best part about this event was that Meb, aka the first American to win Boston since 1983, was there at the pasta party! Since Garmin sponsors him, I hope he makes an appearance at next years race!
The Swag! The shirt is a typical tech shirt that follows this year's theme of the race, The Cowardly Lion. I understand that the Full Marathon finishers medals change each year and represent a different Wizard of Oz character. In 2012 it was the Scarecrow, in 2013 it was the Tin Man.
The Half Marathon medal is always a version of the Wicked Witch and this year's medal even glows in the dark! Totally in love with the bling from this race and now I need to do the full marathon for the next few years so I can collect the whole cast of Oz!
For the Half Marathon the Aid Stations were great. They were spaced out nicely and had water and Gatorade. Later in the race for the half marathoners they even handed out Gu.
The scenery was nice as well. The race started by the Garmin building so it was kind of in a parking lot but we quickly made our way to more residential area and even a spent a great deal of time in the woods on a paved trail.
The weather was typical for Kansas in the spring. We had a nice storm that kept us cool but we did get rained on. If you run this race, be sure to wear a hat to keep the rain out of your eyes.
The elevation was a bit of a surprise. Since it was Kansas I was expecting 100% flat and while this race wasn't overly hilly, it did have a couple that I wasn't expecting. Just set your expectations accordingly and you'll be fine.
Parking was probably the most difficult part of this race. We left our hotel 55 minutes before the race was to start and only made it to the starting line with 15 minutes to spare. The race is at the Garmin building so while there is plenty of parking in their parking garage, it's a 2 lane road to gain access to it so traffic backed up a lot. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get there and park!
Overall I loved this race and plan to do the full marathon next year. I loved seeing everyone dressed up as the various characters from the Wizard of Oz!