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The Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz is held in the town of Olathe, KS in April. The word Olathe is Shawnee Indian for “beautiful.”
The town has around 100,000 people and is a 25 minute drive from Kansas City. This race is in its 12th year and is a well-organized small marathon. You’d think that KS would be flat, but this area certainly has plenty of hills.
The Race Expo
The expo was located on the grounds of the Garmin headquarters (an eight story building). The expo was rather small and because the weather was fairly cool it didn’t seem like people were hanging around to browse. Packet pickup was quick and easy. Each runner received a cotton “OZ” themed shirt that Trevor has deemed “un-manly.” Only marathon finishers received the much nicer short sleeved tech shirt. The Oz theme carried over to the medals too. In 2012 they had a scarecrow medal and this year was Tin Man.On the day of the expo there was a Q&A session with elite runners Scott Jurek, Josh Cox, and Desi Davila. It was held in the Garmin building and was an enjoyable experience. Each runner talked about their training and they also took some questions from the audience.
The marathon started at 7am on Saturday. Parking and getting to the starting line area was easy and there were plenty of port-a-pots to use and the lines were fairly short (always a plus). It was a chilly morning (around 34 degrees) and a little windy. At the starting line they had a hot air balloon from which the race director was doing some announcing. They also held a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston bombing. Many people wore yellow/blue in honor of Boston or a sign saying they were running in honor of Boston.
There were approximately 1,700 runners between the half (1,000) and full marathon (700 participants). The course split off at approximately 3 miles. It wasn’t totally closed but had excellent traffic control at all intersections. The police did a great job of providing a safe course and there were plenty of volunteers.
The first half went along roads and neighborhoods and was pretty hilly. The second half was an out and back along a paved trail through a wooded area. The last mile went back on the road to end up at Garmin headquarters and the finish line.
- The overall winner was Matthew Seifert, 26, with a finishing time of 2:42:44. 2012 winner Daniel McDowell, 28, returned and finished second in 2:48:56. Michael Keenan, 27, shaved six minutes from his 2012 time when he finished 14th overall, to claim third in 2:57:07.
- Nicole Jarvis, 36, successfully defended her title in the women’s race as she finished in 3:07:24 – five minutes ahead of her 2012 pace. Jenn Forkenbrock, 37, was second in 3:12:10. Kerri Nelson, 23, took third in 3:28:29.
The Finish Line
They announced every runner’s name who crossed the finish line. It always seems rather dreamlike to hear my name and I often think “did I just imagine that?” My finishing time was 3:51:14. At the finish line I got my chip cut off my shoe, a bottle of water, a medal put around my neck, and a Mylar blanket (which came in handy).
The post-race food was rather randomly spaced out —yogurt and bananas in one location and chicken sandwiches in another (the hot food tasted great). It was not readily apparent where you got your finishers shirt so I had to ask at the food areas. Low and behold it was over at race results. I told them my bib number and got my shirt and time results printout. With mylar blanket, water, chicken sandwich, shirt, and printout in tow I wandered over to the area I had arranged to meet Trevor. Wouldn’t it be nice if you got a bag to carry all the stuff you get after a race?
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