- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race, Relay
- Road Race
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PRE-RACE: I received entry into this race for being a BibRave Pro, thanks to my pro status. I was able to register for this race nice and early way back in May 2019. In the several months before the race I received a variety of informative emails covering all aspects of the race and multiple FAQs. I also was able to read more into the race through the race website. Social Media for the race was extremely active and clued participants into crucial elements of race logistics as well as this races' many extra fun elements too. This race even has their own podcast!
This race takes place on a Saturday, so the Expo is held the Thursday and Friday prior. The expo is held in Kansas City's Union Station, centrally located in the city with plenty of parking (both short and long term) the expo was extremely easy to access and was open for over 15 hours during the two day span. Although the Expo was smaller than I was expecting (considering the size and scale of this major race) - it was jam packed with a variety of local and national vendors. Packet Pick-Up it self was extremely easy, there were multiple fast moving lines and participants in all the events (10k, Half and Full Marathons) could jump into any line and quickly get their bib's, participant sunglasses and event t-shirts. I was able to spend about an hour within the Expo, connecting with fellow runners and a variety of vendors and staff. It's important to note that there is NO race-day registration or packet pick up for this event. Though, registration does stay open through the duration of the expo.
In terms of travel and lodging (as this race is a popular destination race and a must-run for those looking to check Missouri off their 50 states list) the race is located roughly 25 minutes from Kansas City International Airport and directly near dozens of hotel and motel options. The kansas city streetcar (which is free) can also transport your from a variety of KC neighborhoods to the expo and the start line.
THE SWAG: The swag for this race was some of the best I have seen in awhile. All participants received an event t-shirt (available in both men's and women's cuts) along with a pair of race-branded Goodr sunglasses. These were such a cool touch! Lulu Lemon also sold a variety of additional race themed merchandise - this was available for pre-order and at the race expo.
THE RACE: This race is one of the most difficult courses I have ever run on. Featuring dozens of hills at a variety of inclines and lengths, this course offers a challenge for all. The scenery and history featured along this course is absolutely breathtaking and provides numerous, numerous photo ops. Runners get front row vantages points of KCs Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Westport, 18th and Vine Jazz district, Sunset Hill Neighborhood, Country Club Plaza, and more! I was consistently in awe at all I was seeing along this race route. Even tho my race day took place almost exclusively in the pouring rain, I was still blown away by the beauty of this course. Relief from almost 12 straight miles of hills (both rolling and otherwise) comes around mile 12.5 - at this point runners run almost straight downhill for the remainder of the race, all with the finish line calling to you in full view ahead.
Course support for this race was in ample supply. Both water and powerade were available about every 1.5/2 miles and often included medical tents as well. Crowds and cheer stations along this course varied from neighborhood to neighborhood, but featured many pockets of decently sized crowds and plenty of energy. Despite being a major challenge for me, there was nothing I didn't love about this course and race.
BLING: Medals were available for all events during marathon weekend. The medals were designed in line with the theme of the race seen throughout marketing efforts and the race tshirts. I loved these jazzy medals and appreciated how they offered medals in unique colors depending on the race length.
FINISH LINE & POST-RACE: The energy at the finish line for this race is electric. After flying down the final hill to the finish, participants are able to celebrate a variety of accomplishments by ringing the races giant gong. This made for a fun moment and a great photo op. The post-race party includes a free BBQ sandwich (YUM) and a variety of local KC beers. After eating, there was plenty more to do as well - including tye-dye t-shirts! I had so much fun at this race and absolutely recommend it for anyone looking for a memorial experience.