Blue Springs Marathon

Last weekend, the wife and I traveled to the Kansas City area for the wedding of my wife’s best friend.

While the reason for the trip was the wedding, which was wonderful, the trip also provided me with an opportunity to continue my marathon journey by running 26.2 in Missouri.

But before I get to race day itself, I just want to put another plug in for Shawnee Mission Park. If you’re ever in the KC area and are looking for a quite, beautiful, piece of nature in which to run, look no further.

Confession time, I had planned to keep this review relatively short, and instead put together a little video diary of the race. I got a few clips recorded on my phone, but I didn’t have anything to carry my phone with me to record while running so the video segments got scrapped. Hopefully that will change for the Double Down coming up in about 10 days.

Anyway, on to the race.

2013 Larry Mattonen/Blue Springs Marathon

With the wedding going on the night before the race, I probably didn’t have the perfect amount of rest and fueling and what not leading up to the race. We got back to the hotel after the ceremony around 10:30 central time, and by the time everything was packed and what not I probably fell asleep about 11.

The 4 o’clock wake up call came early. I staggered out of bed, threw on some shorts, and wandered outside to walk across the parking lot to the Denny’s that was next to the hotel. When I got outside, I got my first shock of the day–it was all of 34 degrees out! And needless to say, the temps didn’t warm up much between 4 am and the start of the race.

After drinking as much coffee as I could, and trying to eat the healthiest breakfast I could find on the Denny’s menu (no easy task), I headed back tot he hotel just before 5:30 so we could leave a little before 6. The race started at 7, but since the field was so small (less than 100 runners) there was no real need to be there super early.


Photo by The Wife just before the start.

The race started at 7, no gun just a 3-2-1 go!, and we set out. I started slow, and began picking up the pace during the second and third mile before settling in after the first 5k. I was running at a comfortable pace (between 8:30 and 8:45) from about 3 miles until about mile 18.

Then, things started to go a little down hill. My legs really started to disagree with me for the first time of the day, and my visions of a 3:45ish finish quickly vanished. By mile 20, I had to stop and walk for a few seconds, but I still had a reasonable shot at 4:05-4:10 if I could just maintain a 10 minute pace.

The Second Half Starts at Mile 20

I’ve heard this sage advice from many marathoners, and boy was it true for me during this race. The wheels totally came off at 20, and there was nothing I could do. I walked, a lot, ran as I was able, and staggered across the finish line with 4:29:15 on my watch.


Photo by The Wife just before the finish.

While the time is still a PR by about two minutes, I was less than thrilled with the result. I faded hard at the end, and there was really no one to blame by myself. My training for this race was solid in every aspect except for my long runs. I had grand desires of going at least 20 miles 4 times, and I only crossed the 20 mile mark once.

No wonder I crashed and burned like the Hindenburg.


Image by Rupert Colley via Flickr

Race Impressions

I would definitely run this race again, even though the super small field made things a bit tough. I like the smallish races, but a 4 race field (there was a 50 miler, 50k, full, and half all happening at the same time) of about 100 people was tiny! While you never had to worry about someone cutting you off, it was still tough to run alone for miles and miles.

But it was still a great race, despite my piss poor performance. Other runners were friendly, and there were lots of smiles and waves as we all passed each other at various points on this out and back course. And the post race black bean soup was delicious, I only wish I was feeling well enough to eat a little more of it.

The only negative about the race this year was the lack of a finisher’s medal. Now, with only a $30 entry fee, I wasn’t expecting a huge piece of bling. But after reading reviews of the race from runners in previous years, they talked of a very unique “medal” and I was really looking forward to adding something different to my medal rack.

Honestly though, if the worst thing about the race was the lack of a finisher medal, obviously the race was pretty awesome.

Have You Ever Participated in a Distance Race With a Really Small Field?

Did You Like It?

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  1. […] little crowded sometimes, and not all runners are familiar with proper runner etiquette. But after running a race in October where I was pretty much alone for 18 of the 26 miles, it was nice having some company from start to […]

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