THE FINE PRINT: The following preview is written using the information available at time of publishing. Race organizers reserve the right to change the details, including route, sometimes without warning. That said, the details listed below may change come race-day. I do my best to avoid that whenever possible -- but sometimes it simply isn't possible. Thank you for understanding. Keep R/B/S'ing! -R3KC
EVENT QUICK INFO
Admittedly, I have never utilized pre-race packet pick-up. That said, it's straight-forward, and if you did it last year, it hasn't changed. Just make sure that, if you're like me, and picking up morning-of, that you're arriving well in advance, and picking up NO LATER THAN 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO THE START OF THE RACE.
Packet Pick-Up Location
Race Day Parking
From year to year, parking fluctuates in terms of the number of lots that are open. Regardless of what's decided on race day (there is no info on the official website), there are always two open and available, each across from each other, at the Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences campus. It's about a 10min walk from there to the start (north along Paseo), but not much. If you arrive early enough, you should have some spaces available along Paseo up to about Lexington Ave (the gateway to the Cliff Dr Scenic Byway).
If you've run this before, there is no change to the course, which is completely fine with me. This is a gorgeous run. And in early- to mid-autumn, this is a place you want to be to watch the leaves change.
Cliff Drive is actually The Paseo past Lexington Avenue (just north of Hwy-24/Independence Avenue). At the intersection of The Paseo and Lexington, gates mark the start of Cliff Drive. The Start/Finish line is right beyond these gates.
Not even a quarter-mile in to the race, the road will seemingly split. To the right lay Lookout Point Drive, a gorgeous yet quick drive up the side of the cliff back towards Lexington. For the race, the route will stay left, dropping a bit on to the lower Cliff Drive. After about an additional quarter-mile drop (steep in spots, shallow in others), you land on to Cliff Drive. The lure of Cliff Drive comes due to its scenic overlooks to the right, looking over the river and in to North Kansas City, and its large limestone wall cliffs to the right. This time of year, beautiful fall foliage also covers the route directly overhead. Along with it being a closed course for this event, you couldn't ask for a better run.
There is one opening that comes about a mile in (or a mile from the finish, depending on your perspective). Just to the South of Cliff Drive there is a small lake. This opening offers some side-of-the-road parking for the trail that runs around the lake. It's not long past this that comes the 5k turn-around.
Really, a 5-mile(-ish) run is the perfect distance for Cliff Drive, as nearing the end of Cliff Drive is about 2.5 miles. At the race route turn-around, the exit gate is clearly visible ahead only 250 meters or so. Then, back to business-as-usual for 2.5 miles. If you're aim is competition for this one, you may reach a point where your psyche starts to mess with you, as everything looks the same (no matter how gorgeous it may be). For me, last year, I kept looking for that opening at 1 mile that told me it was 1 mile to go -- and it felt like forever for me to reach it. Eventually, you hit it, followed quickly by the only significant climb on-route, with about a half of a mile to go.
That's all I got! Good luck to all, and see you at the finish line.
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