I have decided that the half marathon is my distance of choice. It is long enough to be worth the entry price, and yet challenging enough not to be considered a “walk in the park”. Since I spend a lot of time looking around at half marathons, I’ve come across a few different clubs that I’d like to join someday. One of those clubs is Half Fanatics. There is certain criteria you must meet before you can join Half Fanatics, and one of those is to run 3 half marathons in 16 days. I decided to make that my goal to join, and picked the Harvest Half Series to help me complete it.
The first race in the Harvest Half Series is the Kansas Half Marathon in Lawrence, KS. We had to make it a little quicker trip, so we missed the packet pickup opportunities the previous 3 days. Missing out on the early pickups, we had to make sure we got to the race super early. Getting there more than hour early turned out to be the right thing, as we were able to park close, and I had no wait at the registration table. During our wait for the race to start, the line for packet pickup and registration became very long. I also noticed that the port-a-potties line was getting pretty busy for the amount of racers there.
The race started about 6 minutes late, and I’m not sure there was an announcement made to warn us. The sound system was very hard to hear, so I couldn’t hear anything they had to say before the race.
The course starts with a run down Massachusetts, which is the popular shopping/eatery street in town. We ran down the street for a while, and then headed out east into the country it seemed. We ended up back downtown before running north across the river, and up along the dike. This part of the course was an up and back, which had us return across the river. After going through some more neighborhoods, we were back to the finish line.
This half marathon was the slowest I’ve ever finished, though I’m not sure why. My stress fractured foot held up very well, but I hadn’t been running very much recently. Thankfully my wife doesn’t care if I finished slow, and had a pumpkin muffin and pumpkin bagel waiting for me at the finish line. There were multiple vendors available around the finish line, but we didn’t stick around too long. The park and weather however made for a very nice post race environment.
I enjoyed the course, as it provided multiple types of scenery. The first half of the course was filled with rolling hills, which provided a challenge for me. They weren’t that intense, but we don’t have hills on my running routes to prepare on. I enjoy running across bridges, and this course provided that opportunity twice. I was very pleased with the course support we saw. Not simply the hydration stops, but there were a lot of cheering sections throughout the course. I was pleased with everything about the race, other than not being able to hear the audio system regarding a start delay (if in fact there was one).