Stop whining and embrace the Kansas City Marathon
The Kansas City Star
Many other cities embrace their marathons.
In Kansas City, we seem to whine about the annual Kansas City Marathon in October. The 2012 event is Saturday.
The biggest complaints: My favorite street is going to be closed. (Check out The Star’s story here.) I have to plan way ahead to leave enough time to go anywhere. The race takes too long to finish, inconveniencing me.
As a long distance runner, I’m tempted to write: Get over it.
Then again, I feel your pain.
Kansas City is a great town for road races of the shorter kind. You can find several 5k races in the region every week from March through October.
Those races are run not just in all parts of Kansas City but around the metropolitan area - from Gladstone to Olathe, from Independence to Shawnee.
And somehow, most of those races go off without a hitch. The credit goes to good planning by the host cities and by professional companies that coordinate the races. Then add in lots of cooperation by the runners in getting on and off the course in an hour or so. (About as long as it takes to walk a 5k really slowly).
But the marathon?
That’s another matter.
I don’t have a personal dog in the hunt because I’m not a marathon fanatic. Over the years, however, I have heard all kinds of criticisms from runners and some other fans of the Kansas City Marathon.
The course is too hilly and boring.
The crowds are thin.
The music is weak.
The aid stations are too far apart.
Motorists are too impatient with their honking at the runners.
The marathon organizers are rude or inpatient or uninformed.
Kansas City does lack the scenic beauty of some cities, the size of some marathon fields (think, Chicago and New York) and the history of other marathons (Boston for sure).
But at the end of the day, the Kansas City Marathon ought to be a point of civic pride.
We ought to find ways and work hard to celebrate the fact that thousands of people are spending money in Kansas City, many of them coming hundreds of miles to stay and eat in this metropolitan area.
We ought to be putting our best foot forward and building up a great marathon that could be used to bring this city together.
We could be encouraging more people to just watch the race and cheer on people brave enough to run or walk 26.2 miles.
How about starting to do that more in 2012 and building on that feeling in 2013?