Archive for Monday, January 12, 2009

Runners to flood Mass. Street in April for Kansas Marathon

Routes for Kansas Marathon event would go through downtown

Up to 2,000 people may be running down Massachusetts Street this spring if Lawrence city commissioners approve a new marathon-like event.

January 12, 2009


Related document

Kansas Marathon route ( .PDF )

It will bring a different type of meaning to the phrase “foot traffic” in downtown Lawrence.

An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people are expected to run down Massachusetts Street on April 19 as part of an inaugural long-distance race that is expected to grow into a full marathon in future years.

“We think it is going to be a great event,” said Ryan Robinson, race director for the event. “It will give people another reason to come to Lawrence for the day or maybe longer.”

The new event — which is dubbed the Kansas Marathon, although it will not feature a full marathon this year — also will take participants through Old West Lawrence, through Kansas University’s Campanile and deep into West Lawrence near the Alvamar Country Club golf course.

City commissioners today will consider approving the newly announced routes for the event, which will include a 5K, a 10K and a half-marathon. Robinson also is asking the city to donate the services of police officers and firefighters who would help with public safety issues associated with the races. Those requests involve about $6,000 of in-kind services from the city.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Lawrence’s Health Care Access. The clinic previously had been the beneficiary of the Lawrence Half-Marathon, which took participants through eastern Lawrence. But after organizers decided not to have that event in 2009, King said she was excited about the potential for a new race.

“We’re hoping this really gets on the radar of KU alumni who are looking for an excuse to come back to Lawrence,” King said. “It could be great for economic development in Lawrence.”

All the races will start at South Park downtown and will end at Kansas University’s Lied Center at Iowa Street and Bob Billings Parkway. Robinson said participants at the end of the race will be transported from the Lied Center back to downtown.

“We think there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for people to grab some lunch, shop and spend money in Lawrence,” Robinson said.

The event is set for a Sunday, and would begin at 7:30 a.m.

City Hall staff members said the timing should eliminate many potential traffic problems. Jonathan Douglass, the assistant to the city manager, said Massachusetts Street, Seventh Street and Mississippi Street will each be closed for about 15 minutes at the beginning of the race. As the runners move westward, they are expected to be spread out and should not create major traffic disruptions, he said.

Other city streets expected to be affected: West Campus Road, Crescent Road, Engel Road, West 19th Street, Jenny Wren Road, West 21st Street, Heatherwood Drive, West 22nd Street, Hartford Avenue, Waterford Avenue, Inverness Drive, Prestwick Drive, Carmel Drive, Riviera Drive and Rodeo Drive. The Clinton Parkway and Heatherwood recreational paths also are expected to be used.

Originally, organizers had planned on having a full marathon as part of the event. Robinson said the idea for a full marathon has now been pushed back to 2010.

“We could have done it this year, but from the athletes’ perspective, it really wasn’t enough time to train,” Robinson said.

Robinson said he thinks that when the event grows to include a full marathon that it could attract 3,000 people to the city, with many of them coming from outside the area.

Robinson’s company, Lawrence-based Sherpa Sports, was responsible for organizing last year’s Kansas Ironman event, which took place at Clinton Lake and attracted 1,400 participants from across the globe.

City commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. today at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.


mcontrary 9 years, 1 month ago

I applaud every penny that reaches the coffers of Health Care Access from this event, but who is going to fund the estimated $6000 it will cost the city to supply the necessary ancillary services?

d_prowess 9 years, 1 month ago

That's a lot of west lawrence compared to the one two years ago (I didn't do last years).

sharper 9 years, 1 month ago

Where's the info about how to sign up?

morganalefay 9 years, 1 month ago

So the LJWorld forgot to mention where to go to sign surprise, eh?Sharper - Here you go: after January 15 - after Robinson talks to the commission.How does he want to make 1,500-2,000 people run through the Campanile??? What?! That can't be right. They can run past the Campanile on Memorial Drive maybe...

Jennifer Nigro 9 years, 1 month ago

"I applaud every penny that reaches the coffers of Health Care Access from this event.."I doubt there will be much money left to actually give to the clinic by the time they pay an outside agency to organize and execute the race rather than relying on volunteers. But maybe that doesn't matter, seeing as HCA makes no mention about their gratefulness for funding for the clinic-- they're looking forward to the economic development it could mean for the city.

brookcreeker 9 years, 1 month ago

Why call it the Kansas Marathon when it's only a half? Why not call it the Kansas Half Marathon and then call the race the Kansas Marathon when they make it one? It's just like calling this summer's triathlon event an Ironman. It wasn't an Ironman, it was a half Ironman. What gives, Ryan Robinson? I think that's a little dishonest. I'm neither trivializing the half marathon nor the half ironman, I'm just saying let's call it what it is.

TravisTyson 9 years, 1 month ago

Garry Gribble's downtown should have the most up to date inofrmation on the race for those interested.

SteelHorseRider 9 years, 1 month ago

GREAT idea!We have so many events in Lawrence that bring people in for the day or weekend. Think about the numerous KU events including and other than sports, Lied Center events, Aquahawk swim meets, the Rain tree 5k & 1/2 marathon, Haskell pow-pows, Brew-to-Brew relay, Octoginta Lawrence Bike Club weekend, etc...The thing that irritates me is how some people seem to ALWAYS default to how the event is going to benefit or hinder the downtown?Isn't it good enough that we have events promoting outdoor activities tailored for anyone...and oh by the way they might make some $$ for needy causes.

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