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
There are many distinctive facets to the runner personality. One of such common denominators is our appreciation of solace while on the run. How else can you explain the ability to run solo for four hours on a Sunday (sometimes -- GASP -- without even headphones!!)? Being in the moment and "one with nature," despite draining our glycogen stores, is enriching, empowering, and refreshing. Open roads and clean air are each at a premium in any modern society, and the humble runner takes full advantage of these, seeking them out with our specialized sonar systems.
Enter Running with the Cows. Open roads and clean air is their trademark. I often hear hesitant parties think "that sounds boring," and yet, with a firm nudge towards the Register Now button, soon find themselves endlessly rewarded come the finish line. And not just the route itself, but the people. RWTC has one of the best post-race spreads I have ever seen, from the standard bagels and bananas, to pizza and orange soda (or, at least, there was two years ago), and everything in between. Locals will bring in scratch pies and cakes. And yes, there's chocolate milk.
I'm confident in saying this is one of the best races of the year. And though not for everyone (you could say that about any race), there's a reason it pulls in thousands of participants every year.
On with the preview.
New this year, packet pick-up in the days (Thursday and Friday) before race day is at the relatively new Scheels in Overland Park. It's in the Corbin Park Shopping Center, behind Spin! Pizza and next to Von Mauer, located on the southeast corner of Metcalf and 135th Street (that intersection is anxiety-provoking).
You'll see signage once inside, but it'll be an immediate right past the registers, and up the stair well in the corner. There's a small conference-room-type area up there -- this is where pick-up will be.
In the past there's been a small-ish expo of sorts. I wouldn't really expect any of that this time around. There may be a few or four vendors on site, but nothing more.
And yes, you can pick up your packet on race day inside the school adjacent to the start/finish line.
Here's where that Scheels is...
Race Day Parking
Smartly, they've decided to spread parking out, and offer free shuttle services. And it works BEAUTIFULLY. Utilize it.
Organizers have designated six parking zones for shuttle services. A list of the available zones is provided above. I WOULD ALSO STRONGLY RECOMMEND REVIEWING (AND PRINTING) THE PARKING MAP PROVIDED HERE.
It is recommended that attendees parking int he southern-most zones (2, 3, 5 & 6) use the 247th Street exit off of Hwy 69. For the zones to the north of the race site (1 & 4, and also parking on-site), use the 223rd Street exit. If you're on pace to arrive any time after 7am, use the 247th Street exit only. If you try 223rd, you run the risk of getting turned around from roads closing in preparation for the start of the race.
Follow the arrows on the parking map linked just above, find your zone, and park on the right side of the street (relative to the traffic flow given by the arrows on the map -- PLEASE don't attempt to drive against the traffic flow...the flow noted on the map works, so use it). Then, just wait for the buses. It won't be long, so no worries.
Though, again, I'd recommend printing off the aforementioned map, here's a snapshot you can use on your phone morning-of...
The basics for the 2017 route, which HAS changed from years' past...
The run route has changed in previous years, but the essentials are the same: Start at Queen of the Rosary, run to 191st street, turn around, run back. And, actually, upon inception, RWTC was a true out-and-back run. This has changed (slightly).
Now it is a somewhat modified out-and-back. The route still trots runners north on Metcalf, continuing all the way to 207th street. En-route to 207th, after only 1km, the first roller kicks in: a nearly half-mile stretch inclining only about 35 feet. Once at 207th, a right turn east-bound provides the route with the only non-straight section, albeit for a brief moment. From there it's another straight shot, east to Mission.
Nearly all of 207th is a slight negative net slope. Once you approach Mission, there is a quick upturn, providing runners with about 30 feet of incline over only a third of a mile. The northbound trek on Mission continues all the way to the turnaround at 191st Street, with small ripples in the road along the way of only about 15feet of elevation change each.
The turnaround sends you back south on Mission over the same shallow rollers. This time, though, you continue past 207th to 215th Street. Halfway between 207th and 215th tosses runners another kicker, this one really the only actual climb: about two-thirds a mile up 65 feet, or an average gradient of about 2%.
The climb stops at the right turn on to 215th Street west-bound, and the road pitches back downward for about half a mile before picking back up for a mile-long roller with a false flat mid-way, totaling about 80 feet incline over the entire length.
There will be just under two miles to go when you turn left on to southbound Metcalf, and putting the speed back in your run becomes a bit easier, too -- the last two miles mostly downhill.
That's all she (or, rather I) wrote! Go out there and run with some cows. And enjoy that scenery!
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