Race Report - Lawrence Kansas Half Marathon, April 19, 2009


On an overcast, grey, and windy morning I ran a half-marathon in Lawrence Kansas.  My goal was to run around 8:30 pace but according to my Garmin I averaged 8:39 and finished in 1:50:27 (but only for a distance of 12.77, more on this later).  This was a tough course, with very windy conditions, so overall I'm satisfied with my time.  You can view my run at Garmin connect.


I'd not done any real training since I ran the Olathe half-marathon two weeks ago.  I ran several 5-7 mile runs and one 10 mile run in between these two races.  On my 10 mile run, I ran the last 10 miles of the Lawrence half-marathon to get an idea of what the course would be like. 

Overall, I felt just a little more ready than I did for the Olathe half-marathon, primarily because I had one half-marathon completed and so I had more confidence for how I could handle the distance.  

I did have one concern about a slight injury I sustained in the last race.  My left heal was very sore for the week after the last race and was still not 100%.  I hoped it would not cause me any serious problems for this race.  I was able to run 10 miles on it the previous weekend without it getting worse during the run, but it was painful most of the time.


There was a strong thunder storm during the early morning hours (2 am or so) that dumped even more rain on Lawrence.  This spring has just been awful so far, with temperatures well below normal.  By race start at 7:30 the rain had stopped, but it was very overcast, temperature around 50 degrees, and a strong wind blowing from the north.  The weather was pretty similar to what I experienced in the Olathe half-marathon.  So I'm 2-for-2 in crappy race weather. 

The Race

You can replay my run and see the course at Garmin connect.  I knew from running most of the course the previous weekend that it was a very hilly course and that I'd need to conserve some energy for the last 2 miles, which were mostly up hill.  Given the tough course and the strong wind from the north, I decided to stay conservative the first 6-7 miles and then see what I felt like.

The race started at 7:30 just south of downtown Lawrence.  I started pretty far back in the rear of the crowd.  We ran north along Mass. Street through downtown.  It was pretty congested and I had to zig-and-zag around slower runners. 

We turned east on 8th street and worked our way to the southeast side of the University of Kansas campus.  We ran up the hill past the KU football stadium and the KU World War II Memorial

At mile 3 we ran past some of the large dorms on Engel road and then turned west.  We ran past the KU Lied Center  and then turned south for a very nice downhill run to 23rd street.  I wanted to run this part pretty fast to make up time I lost on the hills running through the KU campus.  I was able to run miles 4 and 5 at 7:52 and 8:08, which we're my fastest miles.  It felt great to be running downhill with the wind at my back.

At 23rd street and Iowa we turned west and ran on a bike trail that parallels 23rd street.  We did a slight detour along another bike trail that goes north and then ran through some neighborhoods around Jenny Wren road.  We then turned west again and crossed Kasold drive. 

We continued west until reaching Inverness, where we turned north.  We were now more than half-way through the race.  I was feeling about average, but was actually around 1 minute ahead of my 8:30 average pace goal.  However, I knew the second half of the race was much harder. Since I didn't feel awesome, I decided not to press it and just run the second half as close to my goal pace as I could.

After turning north onto Inverness we ran mostly uphill against the wind.  It was a tough part of the course and my pace slowed to around 9:00 minutes per mile.  So I quickly lost the 1 minute cushion I'd built up. It was such a relief when we finally turned west again and ran a half-circle back to Inverness and 23rd street.  I was able to recover and ran a solid 8:13 for mile 10.

At Inverness and 23rd street we turned east and ran back along the same bike trail we ran on before.  We stayed on this cement and asphalt trail all the way to Iowa street.  I came very close to making a pit stop in the HyVee grocery store's bathroom due to a pressing gastro intestinal issue but convinced my body to hold off as it was less than 30 minutes till the finish. Beginning around mile 10.5 we started to run up a slight incline but I pretty much stayed on a good pace.  I actually felt well here (besides the stomach problem) but didn't go all out as I knew the hardest part of the race was ahead.

At 23rd and Iowa we turned north.  I knew from my recon run the week before that this next mile was going to be tough.  The largest hill was from mile 11.5 to 12.5 and we were also running into the strong north wind.  My pace really slowed (9:16 per mile) but I felt OK and was never in danger of walking.  A woman I run with on the weekends rode her bike alongside me up the hill, which was a great help.  Only one person passed me going up the hill, which I felt good about (my hats off to the guy who did blow by me).

At the top of the hill we were back in the area of the KU Lied Center and it was just another half mile to the finish.  I recovered quickly from running uphill into the wind and finished strong. 

To give you an idea of how hilly this course was here are the elevation changes:

Course Elevation Changes

Here are my mile splits:






Crowded start



Picked up pace even though running uphill on KU campus





Downhill and wind aided



Slight downhill













slight downhill





tough uphill into strong wind



only .8 according to my Garmin



For 12.8 according to my Garmin


I started my Garmin right as I crossed the start line and stopped it right as I crossed the finish line. My Garmin measured the course as 12.77 miles, which combined with my overall time leads me to believe the course was short by at least .2 miles. 

Almost always my Garmin measures a course long because I don't run the exact tangents used to measure the course.  When I checked the mile markers they were always showing a distance .3 to .5 longer then reported by my Garmin. 


My sore left heal gave me very little trouble during the run and it seems to be OK now.  At least I didn't do any further damage.  My legs are tired but not too sore.  Overall, I feel good and should be able to get back to my normal running in a couple of days.  I need to ramp-up the miles and long run distance if I'm going to attempt a marathon this year.

Race Impressions

The downtown start was nice and running through campus (despite the hills) is fun.  But the rest of the course was pretty boring and too hilly.  The previous Lawrence half-marathon course went to the east side of the city and was flatter.  

Volunteer support was very good.  Aid stations were well staffed and the course was well marked.  After race food was excellent with grilled hot dogs in addition to the usual fare of bagels, muffins, bananas, etc.  On a cold day, a warm hot dog after the race was a treat. 

The race shirt is a very nice one and the race medal is well-designed.   The price isn't too expensive for a half-marathon (much less then what I paid to run Olathe's half-marathon).

It's too bad the weather was so poor.  The race finish was at the top of a hill and the wind really chilled me after the run.  I quickly got too cold to hang around very long and soon got on the shuttle bus that was taking runners back to the start area where my car was parked.

It's a tough course and one you really need to prepare for with some serious hill running.  Since it's my hometown race, I'll run it again, but it's not one of my favorite half-marathons.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Great run report. And congrats on the great run!

I also did this race, but haven't written up my race report yet.

I may just link to yours. I could also sum it up with "wet, windy and oh my hills!"

I do quite a bit of hill training, but that last up to the leid center was a soul crusher!
# Posted By Tim Hibbard | 4/21/09 4:04 PM
BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden. This blog is running version Contact Blog Owner