Archive for Monday, November 24, 2008

New marathon headed to Lawrence

The Lawrence Half Marathon may be gone, but a longer race is stepping into its place.

November 24, 2008


Scenic race sought

The Lynn Electric Kansas Marathon is set for April 19, with three races in the works: a 5K, a half-marathon and a full 26.2-mile marathon.

Race courses are still being devised, but they “definitely” will be in Lawrence and “try to hit as many scenic spots within Lawrence” as possible while keeping traffic problems to a minimum, said Ryan Robinson, race director.

About 500 volunteers will be needed for the overall event, he said, and information about volunteering and other organizational matters will be available at, a site expected to be operational within the next two weeks.

The Lawrence Half Marathon and 5K may have hit the wall, but a new event is ready to run even farther to help benefit uninsured and other low-income people in the community.

The Kansas Marathon, set for April 19, is a new event that organizers expect will attract 1,500 runners. The one-day event will include three races — a 5K, a half-marathon and a full marathon — with proceeds to benefit Health Care Access.

Word of the event’s formation comes soon after organizers of the Lawrence Half Marathon — formerly known as the Raintree Run — gave up their efforts to keep their event going, citing an inability to line up sponsors during the economic slowdown.

But Ryan Robinson is sprinting into the gap. The owner of Lawrence-based Sherpa Sports sees plenty of opportunity in running a marathon event, having already landed Lynn Electric as title sponsor for the Kansas Marathon in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

That makes the event’s formal name The Lynn Electric Kansas Marathon, and leaders of Health Care Access have agreed to seek out other sponsors to build even more support.

“Everybody knows times are tougher now, but that doesn’t change Health Care Access’ mission,” said Robinson, who also brought the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Kansas to Lawrence earlier this year. “All those low-income people still need health care. They still need it. That’s the cause, and we’re excited for the challenge.”

Health Care Access, a not-fot-profit clinic that serves 1,800 low-income clients and others, had been the beneficiary of the Lawrence Half Marathon for the past two years. The events had been run by Steve and Marcia Riley, and together the races generated a total of nearly $100,000 for the clinic.

“For that, we will always be grateful for our relationship with the Rileys,” said Nikki King, executive director of Health care Access.

But with the expiration of that race contract came another chance to lend the clinic’s name to a newer, longer competition — “one that has huge potential over the next few years,” King said. Proceeds will assist the clinic’s efforts to find a larger home, a process expected to gain speed during the next seven or eight months.

“This is a very big deal for us,” King said. “As the economic climate decreases, business is booming for us.”

Earlier this year Health Care Access was identified as beneficiary for the upcoming TherapyWorks Rock Chalk Run, the 5K and 10K events associated with Robinson’s 2009 Ironman 70.3 Kansas. The 2008 Rock Chalk Run generated about $10,000 for Bill Self’s Assists Foundation.


Danimal 9 years, 5 months ago

Alright, here's something that I've always wondered, why do people need a race or something to get them to give money? I'd like to believe that the people that participate and sponsor participants would still give funds without the dog and pony show of a race, walk-a-thon, or whatever, but I'm just not sure. Couldn't you really help people a lot more by just giving up the cash and saving the charitable organization the money of organizing these things?

TravisTyson 9 years, 5 months ago

Danimal, what better way to bring the community together and promote a healthier lifestyle than to bring an event like this (or keep it) in Lawrence. It's not just the money, it's the opportunity to set goals and go after them while spending a day with a group of people who share the same interests. It is way more about the money, you should come.

somebodynew 9 years, 5 months ago

Well, Danimal - you are actually right that the people should be willing to give the same amount, but (and I don't play a Psychologist on TV, or stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night) I think it comes down to people doing an activity they like to do anyhow and it goes to a good cause. Just kind of a motivational thing. They probably wouldn't think of just donating to a particular group w/out the incentive of doing something too. It does seem a little silly, but if it works, WTH, go with it.

Ms_P_Lane 9 years, 5 months ago

Yay! This sounds like it has a lot of potential to be an awesome event!! I, for one, will be there!

daman 9 years, 5 months ago

I heard Jon King is working on this with Ryan Robinson which makes for a fantastic event! Two top notch guys and a great cause. Where do I sign up?

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