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.