Virtual KC Half – Recap


“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Garmin Kansas City Marathon (half) to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!” 

Recapping a virtual race can be difficult because everyone will experience something different. However, each event has something a little unique to offer, so here is my recap of my virtual Kansas City Half Marathon.

I had registered for the full marathon way back in February. At that time, it seemed possible that an in person event was going to happen. As the year went on things became more uncertain and at the end of August the in person event was cancelled.

There was an email highlighting the options to move forward with your race entry. There was transfer to the Million Mile Challenge, donate your entry, or defer your entry. The race organization is very prompt with emails.

I transferred to the Million Mile Challenge. I think this is something unique and motivated me to get those training miles in. This challenge just asks you to record your miles (through a link) in the hopes of reaching a total of one million miles. This option allowed you to end with the virtual race distance you registered for. Those who are registered for this also are eligible for prizes as milestones are hit. I actually won a race entry for the 2021 event. This challenge is open through December 15th and you can still join.

The Challenge option also had swag, including that coveted finisher medal. If you were not able to make it to drive through pickup on a Friday afternoon, in Kansas City, you had to pay for it to be shipped. I had no option, so I waited for my swag to arrive by mail.

When it comes to these virtual races, I try to run them the same day the in person event would have taken place. That’s the day I agreed to run when I registered, so why not just get it done?

I had a tough time deciding where I was going to run this event, but after a discussion with my friend, Kelly and her route planning skills. I was off to the Quad Cities to tackle my virtual KC half.

On what would have been race day, Saturday, October 17th. Josh and I took a road trip. It was nice to get out for the one hour drive. (Any further and we need to get a dog sitter.) We made a pit stop at a convenience store for the bathroom, and then read the map to find the start.

I was going to be running the “bike path” from Bettendorf to Davenport. This paved trail connects the communities with minimal street crossings alongside Duck Creek.

The weather was overcast and windy, maybe about 60 ish degrees. Fall was in it’s prime!

I hopped out of the truck and walked to the path. Josh took my starting picture and off I went.

I have run sections of this path before. It’s part of the Run for Carl, and one day we met up with runner friend Kevin and he took us on a tour of the QC and we ended up on the path. I kept thinking it would be pretty flat.

Within the first mile I had already shed my jacket, met a family taking fall pictures and climbed a few hills. I had not run this section before, but it was beautiful. The creek with the trees were perfect scenery.

Josh met up with me as I ran, snapping photos and offering words of encouragement. There were not many others out on the path which was nice. Those I did see waved and kept their space.

There is also a photo contest for this event. In partnership with the app that is available and the Missouri Lottery if you post photos with all the correct hashtags #millionmilechallenge #everymilecounts & #molottery you are eligible to win a Garmin gift card. So, you better believe I was snapping photos and using the app filter any chance I could get.

At mile 6.29 I received a text message asking where I was….and then a few more tenths I saw the person who sent the text. It was Kevin!! The bike path is like his back yard. I have not run with another person, besides Josh, since a race in January.

The sun made a debut and we came upon a portion of the path that was under construction, so we had to make a detour. Just at that moment, we saw some arms waving in the distance, it was Kelly!!

So with the help of Kelly and Kevin, we detoured on some sidewalks and side streets, to eventually get back to the path. At this time, I think I was near 10 miles. I really wanted to slow down the pace, but chatting and matching their pace, pulled me through.

I didn’t realize how much I missed running with others. I run alone about 99.9% of the time, then meet up with friends to hang out on race day. However, getting the chance to run with these two was just what I needed! When I hit stop at 13.19 miles I was surprised by my pace, a lot faster than my recent virtual efforts. I owe it to them for pushing me! Thank you!

We came to the end of the bike path, where Josh was waiting with his camera. Then we celebrated with a jump photo and just chatted for a while. The clouds increased and the wind was cold, so we went our separate ways.

Josh and I needed to eat something, so we went to Portillo’s as we do not have one in our city. It’s like we were on vacation. I made sure to try the signature hot dog and got a piece of chocolate cake. This was my finisher swag.

There was a link to submit my race results. It was very simple.

Fast forward to Thursday of the same week and my finisher swag arrived. There was a bib in amongst the the goodies, I don’t miss running with a bib, but it’s nice to have in a picture. The bag also contained my finisher medal and million mile t-shirt. The t-shirt has my name on it. The bag also had all the things you might find at an expo, so it was a fun surprise to come home to.

Sure this was no in person event, but I made the most of my virtual experience. I think it’s important to make your virtual effort as close to race day as possible, otherwise you are just out running and it doesn’t feel as special.

Even though it would have been nice to have a medal in hand when I crossed the virtual finish line, I feel this event did the best they could. That’s what you should get from any virtual race recap. They provided options, they were transparent and they made it unique.

I originally took this race on in hopes of competing the full I-35 challenge and now that I have an entry into 2021, maybe I will try that again…. I will have to check the football schedule.

Huge thanks to Josh for driving along the way and checking in on me. Thanks to Kelly for planning me a route and joining the run. Thank you to Kevin for the push and moral support!!

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