Location: Wyandotte County Lake; Kansas City, Kansas
Trail Type: Single Track
Host: Trail Nerds
Distances: 10M, 20M, 50K
Atmosphere: You are running a race, during the day, in July, in the Great Plains. The 2016 race was plagued with 96 degree temperatures with a heat index that far surpassed 100 degrees. The heat took serious toll on the runners, resulting in several drops. If there is a low point to this race it is the high likelihood that the weather will be brutal.
Terrain: 100% of the course is ran on single track trails. However, nearly half of the 10 mile loop is ran on equestrian shared trails. Depending on rain fall for the year, this area can be a muddy disaster waiting to steal shoes from unknowing runners. This section also includes the “three sisters” area just before the finish line. The rest of the course, when not raining, is a delightful mountain bike course that is routinely maintained. It is very, very fast and extremely smooth. When the elements are right, this is a very fast course.
Logistics/Aid: You are looking at an aid station nearly every two miles. You could, if given the opportunity, make it through this race with just a handheld hydration device. All aid stations are well stocked with fruit, salty and sweet snacks, ginger chews, electrolyte drinks, water, and also Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, and Ginger Ale. If you are really lucky, Aid Station #14 has Fireball shots. This also brings us to the volunteers. This race is a festival. There are so many volunteers that not once will you feel alone and without assistance. Also, do not be prepared to fill your own back. All aid stations have experienced runners that will do the filling for you. The Trail Nerds organization has been doing this for a long time, and have a great understanding of how to run a race from packet pickup to tear down.
Post Race: Local craft beer, a DJ, and some food is usually available at the end of this course. It is not a cruise line buffet, but there is something for your stomach, if the heat did not purge you already.
Beginners Luck: Locally this has become a race that has introduced several local individuals into the world of trail running, and also to ultra marathons through the 50K. 2016 Western States winner Kaci Lickteig even got her start at this race, and continues to come back each year. It is not easy with the summer heat and humidity, but can be a great first experience.
While the race isn’t necessarily the most dangerous in the world; the summer heat of Kansas can wipe out an unprepared runner. At the same time, between the fast sections of trail and the insanely wonderful aid stations, this is a course that both veteran and rookie could enjoy.