Wednesday, July 3, 2013

2013 Double Road Race Overland Park event review

June 30, 2013 was the first Double Road Race in Overland Park, Kansas. It included a 10k started at 7:30 A.M., and then a break until 9:15 A.M. at which the 5k started. All together participants would run a 15k worth of distance, with a halftime after the 10k mark.


While waiting for the start, coming into the finish line and all throughout the event, USA Olympic Gold medalist Billy Mills was at the race helping to promote the double distance and encourage runners.

The temperatures started in the 60’s and stayed there or just barely into the 70’s for the entire race duration. With the sun out with partly cloudy skies, it was the perfect day for running the first double road race in the Kansas City area.

Records for the double were set by the male and female overall winners as it proved to be a very run friendly day, course and event.

Your favorite Examiner Endurance Sports writer toed the line for the inaugural event. Below is what we thought about the 2013 Double Road Race Overland Park.

The Price

If runners got in before the early bird deadline, the event cost was only $45 for 15k of running. Most 5k running races in the Kansas City area cost at least $25 to $35, so adding another $20 or $10 for an extra 10k is a heck of a deal.

For that fee, you get to run a supported 15k, supported halftime area, food, drinks, tech shirt, free massages, samples, drawstring bag, double sided medal and the chance to meet Billy Mills. After it’s all said and done, what runners get in return nearly equals the entry fee.

It’s a heck of a deal and hopefully prices stay low when the event gets more popular.

Packet Pickup

Racers could get their packets at the Garry Gribbles in Overland Park, or race morning at the site. The process was painless and easy with plenty of time to spare to wonder around the store and pick up last minute race items or to browse running gear that racers may or may not really need. Organizers also allowed plenty of time holding the packet pickup from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. This allowed a little leeway with hectic schedules to find a time to swing by and get the packets before race day.


The goodie back was a fabric drawstring bag with plenty of samples and advertisements for products and races. They also had a quality technical event shirt included in the packet pickup. What’s also a great option is the timing device was implanted in the running bib. What’s easier than just remembering the race bib instead of worrying about putting a chip on your shoe?

Web Site / Instructions / Course Info

The website was easy to navigate and direct in getting runners to registration. Through the PDF of the event program, runners could see the course layout. A little exploring did not immediately turn up an elevation profile of the course, but after running the course, elevation wasn’t a real issue.

SeeKCRun.com
Times, location, parking directions and timing of the days events were all published on the site. Any questions could be sent through the Facebook page that organizers were very quick to respond. If runners showed up on race morning and didn’t know what was going on, it was because of their own doing as organizers utilized every form of media to advertise the event and details.

Location / Parking / Access

The Corporate Woods area in Overland Park is a very popular venue for running events in Kansas City. It offers several miles of running in a refuge from main street vehicular traffic. It probably also offers an inexpensive location to divert traffic from to keep runners safe.

Parking was available without having to cross the race course and spectators and racers could come and go as they pleased. There was ample parking available with 360 registered runners. As the event grows, parking may become an issue later on.

The event is directly off of a major trail system that runs through Johnson County. It offers the advantage of runners to ride or run into the event without having to drive if it was an option. The trees were mature, which shaded a majority of the route and kept wind speeds low.

Port-a-potties

There were 10 to 12 port-a-potties for the event. Some were placed in rows and did not appear accessible. The line was somewhat long and took upwards of 10 minutes to get through. With proper planning, pre-race pit stops shouldn’t have been an issue. If runners waited until the last second, they may have been out of luck. It’s safe to say that more port-a-potties would have been welcomed, but no one died from lack of availability.

The Actual Course

The runs were on the same 3.1 mile loop. The streets were wet from morning sprinklers, but other than a few minor cracks and a pothole here and there, the streets were in great shape for running.

The aid station was placed at the halfway point of the loop and should have provided ample opportunity for aid on a day when the temperatures barely climbed out of the 70’s.

The course was well marked and all turns were well noted with volunteers assuring runners were going the right direction. Police were on hand to keep vehicular traffic off the course and to assure runner safety.

Elevation was not a very large factor as there were only 2 increasing grade changes worth noting. It was a great course for attempting to set new personal records and as the results show, a great day to set new world records at the double road race distance.

Race Day Instructions

The announcer kept in constant contact with racers and spectators. The speakers were appropriately turned up and facing the athletes and start area so you could hear and understand the directions from most anywhere around the start area.

Finish Line

The finish line had a finish banner erected on a steel frame with a timing clock counting the minutes to the finish line. Billy Mills was on hand to give fist bumps and high fives to finishers as they relished being done sprinting 6 or 3 miles. Along with Billy were the medals after the 5k event and water bottles being handed out by volunteers.


In the parking lot directly to the side of the finish line, food, drinks, free samples, doughnuts, massages and a lot more awaited finishers. It was a very convenient and low stress finish area to relax at either the halftime between the 10k and 5k or lounge around until the awards ceremony.

Overall Impressions

The first Double Road Race in Overland Park was a great success. For a not widely known event, to garner 360 runners in the first running is pretty impressive. The organizers did the race right and can rely on a solid reputation to build a following and attract more runners in the future. You cannot go wrong with $45 for entry into a race where you get to run a supported 15k.

The only issue of note was the wait for those receiving awards. The 5k started at 9:15 A.M. with awards planned for around 10 A.M. Organizers wanted to run the kids 1 mile race after the 5k while results were verified and posted for awards. What played a part in awards being distributed almost 1.5 hours later than 10 A.M. was the organizers needing to verify new world records for the male and female winner. For those lucky enough to earn awards, they had to wait 1.5 to 2 hours to get the additional medals. Luckily it was a nice cool morning for a June day in Kansas City, so runners weren’t suffering in the heat waiting.

SeeKCRun.com - Overall female winner and new world record holder at the double road race events.
In the end, the awards wait was the only real hiccup in what was otherwise a great event. That should not be a detractor for future runners and with 8 more double races schedule for 2012, it’s not likely that a new world record will be set every time.
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