by Anita Roberts
As the mortal member of Team WMS, I have to find new ways to challenge myself other than fast times. This year, I ran four marathons. Maybe not a lot to some runners, but a challenge for me. I ran the Olathe Marathon, the Flying Pig marathon, and the Kansas City marathon. Then, I was lured by the promise of a special “Triple Crown” award if I completed Olathe, KC and the Gobbler Grind in the same year. So, I also signed up for the Gobbler Grind.
I decided to do the Olathe Marathon if I was able to train enough throughout the winter. As it turned out, I was able to get in a full training schedule. The day of the race threatened to bring thunderstorms, but they never came. It turned out to be a beautiful day. The rain from the previous week brought out the night-crawlers, craw-dads, and frogs, so that some of the race was an obstacle course. We spent much of the time on paved country roads, which were pretty. Overall, it was a very pleasant race. In fact, this was my second fastest race to date.
Then, I was off to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Marathon. I had heard it was hilly, but I didn’t find it any more hilly than most of our local runs. I have no complaints about the race. It was well-run, scenic, and the spectators were great. The after party was truly a party! As for my race, I was not feeling well and ran one of my slowest times. I’ll blame it on the food poisoning a few weeks before, though that is probably a stretch.
This fall, I repeated the KC Marathon. This was the first time I’ve repeated a marathon. The weather was great. The hills were as expected. The spectators were nice. I saw many of the same people moving from place to place on the course to cheer for an athlete. KC Multisport sponsored an aid station in full Halloween costume. I felt great for most of the race and managed to get what I think will be my long-standing PR. Again, a nice after party.
Finally, like many an obsessive/compulsive runner, I decided to finish up my season with the Gobbler Grind just so I could get an extra piece of hardware saying I’d done the KC Triple Crown. I didn’t have high expectations for my race. I have never done two marathons so close together. However, I met many great people on the run who regularly do marathons once a month or even closer together. They were truly inspirational. I spent most of the race chatting with runners I met along the way. These were the friendliest marathoners I’ve ever encountered. The trails were very pretty this year and the weather was great. There weren’t many spectators, but race volunteers were very supportive and encouraging. Even with a not so spectacular time, I managed to place third in my age-group. Apparently, if the race is small enough, even the mortal runners have a chance at an extra medal.
Overall, I would recommend any of these marathons. Cincinnati was a big race that delivered in the way only a large race can, with spectators and entertainment. While smaller, the KC marathon was able to deliver on a smaller scale. The Olathe Marathon and the Gobbler Grind were well-run races great for those who run for the joy of running.