July 12, 2012

Race review: All-Star Game Charity 5K, Kansas City, Mo., July 8, 2012

I had to do this race. I love baseball. This was a dream race (besides the fact that it was a 5K; 5Ks and I just aren’t that good of friends).  

With my dad visiting me in Florida, I flew back with him to Kansas City on Thursday for the Sunday race. Fortunately, the race had packet pickup Thursday-Sunday, so we could stop and grab my shirt, bib and timing chip. It was super easy, convenient and awesome.

Why it was awesome: the shirt
Since my dad lives an hour outside of downtown Kansas City, we had an early start on race day. My dad was nervous about traffic and parking, so he insisted we get to the race area an hour and a half before the start. Gah. I thought that was perhaps overkill, but since I wasn’t driving, I really didn’t have a choice.  

We arrived in the downtown area exactly an hour and half before the race. No traffic or parking issues (at least at that time).  

So, we found a place to sit and waited. And waited. And waited. I’ll never get to a race that early again (if it’s in my control).

What I did for more than an hour

Finally, around 7:25 a.m., I made my way to the start line. Well, thousands of people back from the start line (there were about 8,000 participants). With the national anthem, I knew the race would start soon … or so I thought.

After the national anthem, so many people had to talk (including Allison Sweeney, host of “The Biggest Loser”). By the time the microphone got to George Brett (Hall of Fame Royals player who was officially starting the race), it was 7:39 a.m. He even mentioned, “What time do you start a 7:30 a.m. race?” Burn. 

Waiting for the start ... and waiting

After many minutes, I finally crossed the start line and began my race. I went into this race just wanting to have fun. That's it. Since the 5K and I aren't friends, it seemed like the best route. 

Then, I ran the fastest race mile in my memory: 10:40! Sweet. This was race was off to a good start. I walked through the first water stop, which I never done before for a 5K. I've never walked any portion of a 5K, but it was hot and I wanted to make sure I took hydration seriously.

The second mile was not as good, but I was OK with it. I'm just having fun, right? So, the 11:58 mile didn't bother me. It included a small hill over a bridge and another walking water stop. It was getting hot, so I dumped a portion of the water over my head (and made sure to run through the fire hydrants they had spraying the racers). 

The third mile is where things got ugly. The third mile was a hill. A long, gradual, painful hill. Maybe other people are used to these horrific things, but this girl who runs in flat, flat Florida is not. So, this mile was long, slow and painful. But, guess what? I'm still having fun (and sweating like crazy). 

Then, it was time for my sprint to the finish. I sped off (at least in my mind I was speeding). I was going to finish strong like I always try to do. And, I came to a complete halt. Why? A backup at the finish line. Ugh. 

"Sprinting" across the finish line

The finish line was on a narrow street with a forced turn onto the next street shortly after crossing the finish line. After crossing the finish line, people wanted their sweet medals (not that I can blame them), and since they were only handing them out on one side of the road, that backed things up. Then, the turn onto the next street to grab your water and Gatorade, return your timing chip, and grab freebies from vendors just made things worse.

The sweet medal that was a partial cause of the finish line backup

So, by the time I moseyed my way across the finish line, the clock read 40:22. Holy hell. 

I actually found myself getting a little irritated at times. But, I reminded myself that I was in this for fun and realized it really didn't matter. So, yay! 

Some people were really mad, and I can't blame them. My dad said he started noticing the backup around 22-24 minutes. Yikes. 

I remained happy when I got my medal, got my warm water and hot Gatorade and made my way out of the finish line cluster. 

The pros of this race:

  • Packet pickup was easy and convenient. 
  • It was a baseball lover's dream.
  • It had adequate parking and bathrooms. 
  • You got a sweet medal and T-shirt.
The cons of this race:
  • It started late: 9 minutes late.
  • The water stops only had water. I never really pay attention in advance to what the hydration stops will include on a 5K since I don't usually utilize them, so I didn't with this race either. I guess I mistakenly assumed they'd include Gatorade since they were a sponsor. I think on that hot of a day, Gatorade would have been nice (at least at one stop).
  • The finish line disaster was obviously the biggest issue. It was horrendous. I never thought I'd be in a race where I was forced to walk slowly across the finish line. That is not my thing, and I wasn't happy about it (but I had fun).  
  • Then, being in a corralled area with a bunch of sweaty runners and not being able to go where you wanted was not fun. 
  • The warm water and hot Gatorade were probably due to my slowness, but doesn't everyone deserve a cool drink when finishing a race? I think yes. 
  • I never saw Allison Sweeney. I think she was at the start area, but by the time I got to the start line, she was nowhere to be seen. Couldn't she hang out on the podium and wave to runners? Maybe I just missed her. 
Am I glad I ran this race? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes, but only due to the baseball factor. Baseball is my weakness, obviously. If I took out the baseball factor, I would not do it again. It was one of the worst races I've ever run, unfortunately.

This race rotates each year to the All-Star Game's location. But, hopefully they learn some things from the disaster in Kansas City and apply them to the cities in the future.


  1. Back up at the finish line, that is so crazy. I would have been mad due to the fact that I really only rally for the sprint across the finish- my moment of glory. Love the shirt and medal that is awesome! Way to tackle the 5k. I think I will sign up for the one here. You have inspired me to just do it:).

    1. I see the finish as the only time I really run fast and eagerly await it. They took it away from me! Boo. I'm pretty over 5Ks, but I want to do at least one during half marathon training to see if I can get a decent time. My coach said I should have my best times then ... we'll see if he knows what he's talking about. :c)

  2. Great recap, def sounds like a just for fun race. One of my biggest race pet-peeves is when a race doesnt prepare for the second half of participants to come through the finish line. ie: warm and hot sports drinks. Keep that on ice. Its even worse when you get to the end and the post-race refreshments are picked over by fast runners and their families. 1 banana per people! Monitor that stuff!

    1. Yes! Treat those slow folks with the same respect! I saw people with bananas and apples, but I never saw where to pick them up ... it's possible I couldn't see them in the sea of humanity in the finish area, though.


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