KC survives marathon; Marcason offers solution update
The Kansas City Star
Yes, Kansas City survived the marathon, half-marathon and 5k races run on Saturday. More than 7,500 people completed those races. Traffic was a problem, I’m sure, as roads were blocked at a number of locations.
But as I wrote last Friday, some cities embrace their marathons and Kansas Citians need to stop complaining and find good ways to do that, too.
In response, I got some support and criticism from readers.
I also received an email from City Council member Jan Marcason. She and other council members had pledged after a problematic road race last fall to do a better job improving how the city handles such events. The event in question shut down a lot of streets in Kansas City for a small number of competitors on a weekend.
Here is Marcason’s email. Below that, see an excerpt from a reader who was NOT happy about the marathon.
“We have two major goals regarding marathons and races. (1) Promoting Kansas City as a good place to conduct and participate in races and (2) minimizing the disruption to residents and businesses along the route.
“We have really beefed up our public information about races by putting signs along the route the week prior (the Trolley Run and KC marathon are good examples). In addition we require the race organizers to mail an informational piece to the zip codes along the route, not just the residences and businesses on the streets on the route.
“We are working on our IT capabilities to apply for a race permit on line, better mapping of the route for promotional and informational reasons, and a calendar of race opportunities and community events so that races don’t conflict with other community events.
“We have been meeting with race coordinators since the problematic North Face marathon last year to work out the details. Our constraints include funding and differing views on oversight. We will have the issues resolved in the budget for next year.”
And here is part of a critical email I received, reflecting a number of negative comments I heard about the KC Marathon and marathon planning in general:
“I am pretty sure that those who complain would not do so IF THEY KNEW IT WAS GOING TO TAKE PLACE!!! I suspect many people get up on this Saturday morning, heading off to work (and there are many people who DO work on Saturdays!!) to find that—wait!! I can’t get to my job AT ALL! What’s going on here!
” The people in charge of the race do a complete ‘non-job’ of alerting the public ahead of time. Sure, there are tiny, teeny signs along the race route that only the most observant people, and those with the best eyesight, could possibly notice. Also, they are the same size as all of the political signs in yards at this time of year.
“I used to run a number of road races, but they were ALWAYS on Sunday, when church-goers are the main people who would be disrupted, and even then their churches could alert the congregation a week ahead of time.”