2016 KC Zoo Run for the Gorillas
4-Mile Run & 1-Mile Fun-Run
Saturday, September 24th, 8:30am
Kansas City Zoo
The event's official site can be found HERE.
KC-area runners get really lucky with autumn-season races. Nearly at the very beginning of autumn (and a bit earlier in the year than past editions), you have a great combination of theme and route in this run: the KC Zoo 4-mile. When else can you run through a zoo full-tilt (without breaking rules and demolishing pedestrians, that is)?? Plus, the cause is great: every year the KC Zoo chooses an endangered animal to donate the proceeds to. This year they've chosen the humble gorilla. This is by far one of my top-5 for the year. A lot of fun.
On to the preview!
Friday, September 23rd, 11am-7pm
Fleet Feet Sports
6911 Tomahawk Dr.,
Prairie Village, KS 66208
(Prairie Village Shopping Center)
(Packet pick-up IS allowed race-day starting at 7am, but is discouraged)
Packet pick-up has moved this year, so note the new address: 6911 Tomahawk Drive, Prairie Village, KS. If you're familiar with the old UltraMax Sports, that's where it is...now owned by Fleet Feet Sports. Parking is touchy in the area (limited number of spots), and being a Friday, the area will be quite busy starting about 4pm (and perhaps around lunch-time), to try to aim beforehand. Exact location is the following...
Race Day Parking
One of the benefits of having a race at a venue such as the KC Zoo is the parking: there is plenty. Mind you, if you arrive closer to start time, you may be subjected to one of the further lots, forcing you to walk a distance, but you'll be forced to walk quite a bit pre-race anyways (more on that in a bit). In previous years, parking attendants were a-plenty, so really, just set your GPS to the KC Zoo and let the attendants take care of the rest.
ONE CAVEAT, however: If your GPS is taking you to the Gregory Boulevard entrance to the park, chose an alternate route, because it'll be shut down. Race organizers recommend the Meyer Boulevard entrance.
Additional Race-Day Information
Before we even get to running the course, we gotta get to the start line. And this is where your walking feet will come in handy -- it's about a half-mile walk to get from the expo area to the start line. Really, the parking lots are sandwiched between the start and the expo area, so, if you got your packet and are race-ready, just head to the start line...it's on the opposite side of Starlight Theatre (see the map included with the official athlete guide here). You can hit the expo post-race (but DO hit the expo... there will be Strouds cinnamon rolls!!).
Here are the route basics...
There are NO significant climbs on-route. Upon coming out of the The Lagoon and African exhibits (and back across the bridge), there is some up-hill, but it is far from substantial. There are also short (like, three or four strides short) inclines upon making your way through the exhibits. As noted before, the only thing that will slow people down are the constant switchbacks, and maybe also the tight quarters (which makes passing a bit difficult). Also note there are some crushed gravel roads on the entrance in to the park (W. Zoo Rd.), but they are few and far between.
Competitive runners will want to jockey for position out of the gate while on Starlight Road before entering the park: this is the only part on-course that has roads wide enough to allow for safe passing. Once in-park, passing becomes fairly tricky, due to them not only being narrow, but with tight bends as well. After the entrance in to the park, just hold as fast a pace as possible -- you won't have any real inclines to wrestle with.
That's all I got. I'm excited! (albeit a bit nervous -- dealing with a good bought of bursitis right now)
2016 Plaza 10k
Sunday, September 11th, 2016 @ 7:30am
(2-mile fun run at ~7:50am)
Country Club Plaza @ Wornall Rd
Kansas City, Missouri
The Heartland 30k Series starts off with a bang! Enter the Plaza 10k, of the most popular area 10k's. The Country Club Plaza is a Kansas City staple, and a historic landmark at that. The surrounding area is just as much. And this run foots over all of it. Proceeds go to not-for-profit children and family behavioral health center, KidsTLC.
To the race preview.
Thursday, September 8th, 11:00am to 6:00pm
KC Running Company
1555 NE Douglas St
Lee's Summit, MO
Friday, September 9th, 11:00am to 6:00pm
KC Running Company
4760 W. 135th Street
Saturday, September 10th, 11:00am to 6:00pm
T-Loft on the Plaza
200 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO
(packet pick-up is NOT available on race-day)
Race-day parking usually doesn't present too much of an issue for participants -- unless you like to cut it reeeeeal close to start time. There are parking garages open as well as on-street parking (my preference), but once those fill up, things get tight. Arrive early!!!
Exact location of the start/finish line is noted below.
Additional Race Day Information
In it's sixth year, the Plaza 10k holds the same 10k course route as years' previous -- which is totally fine with me. Absolutely beautiful area.
Here are the basics for the 2016 10k route...
Runners will start on Ward Parkway, between the front rows of shops and Brush Creek. The route heads West on Ward Parkway to Pembroke Hill Academy, and a turnaround back East on Volker. Once back in the Plaza, left and right turns put runners back on to Ward before the left turn North on Jefferson Street, and the first (and steepest, albeit short) climb of the day. From there it's straight East on Emanuel Cleaver II, past the Nelson-Atkins (pretty!), all the way to Hwy 71. Climb 2 comes in at the turnaround back on to Volker Boulevard, this time West. Approaching UMKC, climb 3 comes in, though is relatively short, much like the Jefferson Street climb. Around the backside of the Northern-most edge of UMKC's campus, the route turns South briefly, only to run back North, ending at the finish line on Ward Parkway.
Of the four races in the Heartland 30k Series, this is the flattest, with under 300 feet of total climbing over the entire 6.26-mile route.
Though there is a non-timed fun-run (2 miles), the 10k is the only race option for the Plaza 10k.
That's all I got! Until then, keep R/B/S'ing.
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