If early returns are to be trusted, the starting line of today’s Kansas Marathon will be a little more crowded than it was a year ago.
According to Sally Zogry, event coordinator for the Kansas Marathon, today’s event — which will feature a 5K race, half-marathon and, unlike last year, a full marathon — already has surpassed the number of competitors from last year’s races and figures to improve even more following walk-up registrations this morning. As of Saturday afternoon, 1,631 runners had registered for one of the day’s three races —more than 200 more than competed last year — and Zogry said this week that race officials were anticipating at least 1,700 total runners, though that number could jump to as high as 1,800 or 1,900 by the time the first starting gun goes off.
“We hope it is,” Zogry said.
A big draw of the Kansas Marathon, presumably, is that it offers local runners the somewhat rare opportunity to compete in a local 26.2-mile race, as marathons in the Kansas City area are fairly scarce.
All of today’s races begin and end at Lawrence’s Shenk Sports Complex, 23rd and Iowa streets, and will take runners through several of the city’s notable landmarks, including the Oread neighborhood and the Kansas University campus.
The marathon and half-marathon begin at 7:30 a.m., and the 5K race kicks off at 7:45.
Unlike last year’s races, during which chilly temperatures along with rain and heavy winds made for less-than-stellar running conditions, Mother Nature is expected to go easy this year, with early-morning temperatures expected to be in the low 50s before reaching highs in the upper 60s by the afternoon.
“It will be a lot of fun, not only to run it, but to be able to celebrate with everybody when the race was over,” said Ryan Kruse, vice president of chief marathon sponsor Lynn Electric and a member, along with his wife, of today’s half-marathon field. “Last year, it was 40 degrees and raining, so when it got done, everybody scattered quick.”