Latest reviews by Sara Kuhl

(2015)
"Operation Jack Zombie Half"
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I decided to do this Half because it is close to my house. The race starts in Shawnee Mission Park and the majority of it is on the Gary Haller Trail. It is paved and in late October is beautiful to run through. I thought the race was a little unorganized as they had a vendor issue and the shirts were not in by the race day. They also didn't have awards for the overall winners or age group winners- I was told they will be mailed which was a bummer for those who placed. It was a charity run benefiting kids with Autism and they will be making the awards, which is neat but again, would have been nice to receive it on the day of the race.
It was a super small race, much smaller this year than in years past.
The course itself started out going downhill and since it was out and back, the last mile or so was uphill. the rest of the course was fairly flat with a hill right before the turn around point, mile 6. The aid stations were well placed and had both water and Gatorade. The course could have been better marked as it was a small race, I did almost second guess myself at one point when I was completely alone on the trail, after coming back into Shawnee Mission Park whether or not I went the correct way. Around 11.5 miles you join back up with the 5K participants which got a little confusing (for the aid workers) as I approached the aid station from a different direction than the 5K runners. Most of the 5K runners moved out of the way as I chugged up the hill in the last mile. I think if the half people had different bib's some of the confusion might have been less. It was also a little bit of a bummer that, the kids run, 5k participants, and 1/2 marathoners all got the same medal but in the end- they all came out in the drizzle to run, and my kids thought it was neat to have the same medal as me that I got over it.

Because it was a small race, I had the chance to personally meet the race director communicate some of my suggestions. Overall it was a great course to run on, and probably one of the prettiest courses I have ever ran. The race director is continually wanting to improve the race, so it might be on the bucket list in 2016.

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(2015)
"Could have been better marked."
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This half took place over Labor Day weekend this year. It was super hot and sticky. With that being said, they maybe should have added more aid stations or made the start time a little earlier. I believe we started at 7:30 and by the time I finished it was more than 80 degrees outside. While we ran on a trail for about two miles surrounded by trees a majority of the race was out in the direct sun next to a four lane road. Needless to say the humidity and direct heat affected many of the runners.

We were also supposed to have pacers but the one for 1:40 and 1:45 never showed up, I don't know if the others did or not as I wasn't looking for them.

At mile 6, a truck was just putting down the mile 6 marker while I ran past- something I would have hoped was there before the start of the race. I had a friend (who would have placed) run two additional miles because the race wasn't well marked and she took a wrong turn.

The medal and food were a bonus at the end as the medal is a flower bigger than my hand and they had a large variety of foods. Also something that got big bonus points in my book, was the sponges post race, as the weather was so hot, it was nice to squeeze the cold water over my head to cool off.

I honestly don't know if I will do this race again, as course and organization wasn't up to par, but the medal and shirt are pretty neat, which may sway my decision.

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(2015)
"Views are amazing!"
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This was my first trail run. I would recommend an easier trail run for others if it's their first, however for season trail runners and others up for a challenge this is the race for you. I signed up for this race because I wanted to complete a run in South Dakota last summer while on a family vacation. I started to get nervous when I asked a lady at our hotel about this trail and she pointed out the window at what I thought looked like a mountain and said that's Crow Peak! She proceeded to tell me she's hiked it once with her husband, and to make sure I take a lunch because it took them 6 hours but the views were well worth the hike. I saw a very strange look on her face when I told her I was running it. Later I realized why... Getting to the trail head was an adventure in itself and I wondered if I was going to lose cell reception. We parked on a gravel road when we saw other abandoned cars. I guess they had a mix up and the port-a- potty never showed, but people made the most of nature and they provided a roll of toilet paper on a very large orange cone. Because the trail itself was so narrow we were given instructions about leaning into the mountain to allow others to pass. As much as I wanted to duck out of this race at this point, as I am afraid of heights, I didn't because I was more enchanted by what brought all these other people out to run. This being my first trail race experience I was taking it all in.

The trail was super narrow, and I almost watched a runner who was running down the mountain nearly fly off a switch back but the tree he grabbed on to held his body. At one point I was on my hands and butt crawling down a few rocks, but again I am a mom with kids at the bottom, who is afraid of heights. The guy behind me said he would have hurdled the boulder at which point I let him go in front of me.

The views were amazing! The people were awesome, so friendly, so adventurous and laid back. The trail took you up 1,500 feet in 3.1 miles and then took you back down. As I crossed the finish line, I was handed a Popsicle stick with a number to know which place I was in. They had Keg beer for the finishers and the swag included a duffle bag. Great experience! Would do again!

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(2015)
"Fun Relay!"
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This relay is so fun. You start in Kansas City, Missouri at Blvd Brewery and run in a relay 47 miles to Lawrence, Kansas where you end close to another (Free State) brewery. This year it was lightening and raining at the beginning of the race but by the end it was sunny. People were dressed up and some were drinking along the drop/pick up points. The aid stations had a variety of foods including M&M's. Running across the finish line wasn't climatic as other races are. Overall it was a fun experience and it takes you down country roads as you run from one Brewery to another.

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(2015)
"Garmin Half"
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I completed the Garmin Half both in 2014 and 2015. This race is a large looped course that takes you through part of Downtown Olathe, over a highway, through neighborhoods before placing you on a paved trail. Both years I have completed this half the weather has always proved to be interesting. In 2014 they had buses ready in case they needed to cancel it partway through, as I completed it during a hail storm. In 2015 it started to down pour shortly after I crossed the finish line. This is a fun and relatively flat race. You will see people dressed up, and last year I am happy to report Glinda while getting rained on, did not melt. The people are friendly, the race is well marked and there is a wide variety of post race treats. the medal keeps getting better too! I am looking forward to completing it again next year.

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