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Race Review: Hospital Hill Half Marathon 2016

Earlier this year I started to look at some more half marathons that I could run. There simply aren’t a lot in my part of the state, so I have to venture out if I’m going to join any of those half marathon clubs. Kansas City makes perfect sense, as we have family we can stay with to save money on a hotel room. I think I was drawn to Hospital Hill by the name. It simply sounds challenging, and I had only been able to race of flat courses.

The starting line, looking towards downtown.
The starting line, looking towards downtown.

My training was nonexistent for the hills I was going to see on this course. There simply isn’t much elevation change where I run, so I knew going in that I probably wouldn’t be getting a new PR.

We drove up to KC on Friday so we could pickup my bib at the expo. We decided to leave super early so we could stop by the World War I museum when it opened. This museum should be visited by everyone in my opinion. Sometimes we forget the past, and need to be reminded of it from time to time. Being right beside Crown Center it made a lot of sense to visit while we were there for Hospital Hill expo.

After the museum we headed over to the expo. I was pretty sure I knew where we were going, but the footsteps on the floor of The Link made it a no-brainer to get there. I found my bib number outside of the entry, and then headed in for my bib and shirt. That was easy enough, so we started walking through the rest of the expo to see what money we could spend.

Chilling in my pace group.
Chilling in my pace group.

Meghan found some new head bands, which she’s been talking about for a while now. I picked up some compression socks while they were 40% off. You’ll have to check the pictures to know what pattern I got, but let’s just say my nickname isn’t Waldo for nothing. We also got a few freebie items that were being given out. After we were done looking around we stopped by the Crown Center booth to get parking validated, and headed out on our way.

On race day morning we got another early morning start to get parked. Some of the roads were already getting closed more than an hour before the scheduled start. We were able to find an open lot very quickly, and started getting ready to race. After I was put together we walked down to the starting line and looked around. We discussed were to meet after the race, but that didn’t turn out. There were plenty of port-a-potties available near the start, and the lines weren’t too bad. Over 3,400 runners finished, so we had a bit more than that at the start. After the Star Spangled Banner we were off.

After the finish.
After the finish.

The course starts off downhill as you run towards the Sprint Center. The first several blocks give you a false sense of difficulty, as it soon turns back to the south to go uphill, which is Hospital Hill. The hill itself isn’t horrible, nor too long, but being early in the race hurts a bit. From there the course was up and down, and in plenty of shade for the most part. We ran by 3 different hospitals, the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, and the Plaza. The final stretch started going downhill while looking right at the World War 1 monument, which was a wonderful sight. I was able to speed up and finish strong thanks to that downhill finish.

Once I got across the finish line I grabbed my medal, water, and wet sponge. The next step was finding Meghan as she waited for me, and then stop by the pancake table. I was hungry, tired, and sweaty. The race was a fantastic experience, and I would recommend it to any runner out there.

 

The finishers medal.
The finishers medal.

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