“Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to Hospital Hill Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews”
For the second year in a row I was given the chance to run Hospital Hill Half marathon, and for the 2nd year I accepted. I experienced a well managed race last year, so I opted to do it again. Not to mention I have a good friend that lives in Kansas City, that provides me with a place to stay. The Hospital Hill race is in its 45th year so I knew there would be in for some nice goodies to celebrate. It had originally supposed to be a family trip, but do to some circumstances, I made the trip solo. I signed up for the Re-Run challenge with included a 5k Friday night, followed by half marathon on saturday morning.
I flew out of NC late thursday morning, and after a short layover in St. Louis, I arrived in Kansas City around 3pm CT.(had to keep reminding myself they are an hour behind my normal eastern standard time) I proceeded to rental car area to pick-up my rental vehicle. I got a great deal through Hotwire for a premium car. I walked outside to booth to pick out my vehicle(I like that National lets you choose your own car from an assortment). An older gentleman and a younger lady were working. he asked if I had a premium car, I responded “yes”. He pointed to 5 cars parked on the side and said I could choose between any of them more I could take one of the 2 cars parked under the breezeway. The 5 cars consisted of a Caty suv, infinity 4 door, infinity suv and the others weren’t has noticeable. The 2 under the breezeway were both infinity coupes and they were SWEET 2-doors. He suggested one of them, but I was thinking practical. Being in a new place, I didn’t exactly want to be driving around in something so flashy. I said I wanted something 4 door, and he pointed to an infinity 4dr. It wasn’t as flashy so I agreed. There was just one problem, he didn’t have the keys. He said he had to walk to back to grab keys and he would be a few minutes. I wasn’t in a rush, so I said ok. After about 10 minutes I began to wonder where he was. The young lady working said “I don’t know why its taking him so long”. She said he had been working there 25 years and knew everything about everything. A few minutes later, she says to me ” I know what he is doing”…I think he is trying to upgrade you”. I responded “really?”. A few minutes later he drives up in a Mercedes GLA hybrid. He jumps out and looks at me and says “will this work”. I had never driven a Mercedes so I was kind of excited. He didn’t have to do that for me, so I thanked him several times before driving off. I would tell you how I had to read the manual to find out how to adjust the seats but my learning of that car would take up several paragraphs. lol
I left rental place and drove straight to the expo for the race. After I successfully parked using the backup camera, I made myself inside to the packet pickup. They had a designated area for runners to the Re-Run challenge to get both their bibs. I walked up and provided the lady my bib number. She started shifting through bibs and couldn’t find mine. She advised me that they had several stacks of bibs that had not been sorted yet, so she began to go through stack by stack, still she couldn’t find my bib. She asked the guy working with her for help, and he started going through the stacks. STILL NOTHING. By this time a line is starting to form and another lady had came up for her bib, and they couldn’t find hers. After about 10 minutes of them searching, they sent me down to another table to get a new bib assignment. Im honestly beginning to get upset. I go to the table and explain to them the situation. Lady says that she couldn’t reassign me a another number if I already had one in the system. She said she would walk down and look through the bibs herself. After about 5 minutes of looking, she finds my bib in the same stack the previous 2 individual had been looking. I thanked her and headed over to VIP to pick up my band. As I was walking a looked at my bibs…the first one was right but the 2nd bib had a totally different name. Frustrated, I walked back to the same lady that had just helped me and showed her. Her response was “I don’t know what is going on with them”. She walks over and tells a coordinator what’s going on, then she goes to the 5k area to see if my correct bib was there….IT WAS. After finally getting my bibs and VIP bracelet, I went for the swag. Last year swag consisted of pajama bottoms and a beach towel, this year they had duffle bags and performance shirts celebrating the race’s 45th anniversary. I collected my goods and decided to walk around the expo to see what free stuff I could grab. My favorite booth was the taste testing of the beef and wine tasting, both were great. I stayed about an hour before heading to my friend’s house to prepare for the next day’s 5k.
About 9pm thursday night, I receive an email from race organizers saying they were going to move Friday night’s 5k to saturday morning because of the weather. The forecast was causing for 90 degree weather at 7pm Friday night, with high humidity. Rather that subject runners to potential dangerous conditions, the decided to move the race. I appreciate them letting us know well in advance, although I was disappointed. By moving the race, they pretty much put an end to any runner that was trying to do the Re-Run challenge because now the 5k and half marathon were starting at the same time, so no way you to do both. They said that we could still receive all three medals after the half and we would get a voucher to move our registration for the 5k to 2019. I don’t like getting medals I didn’t earn so I got up Friday morning and did my own 5k. I went out at 6:30 and it was already extremely hot and humid. I think they made a good call moving the 5k to the next morning.
The next morning I was up at 4:30 to get prepped for the half marathon. I woke up to thunder, lightening and some rain. My first thoughts were “please don’t let them cancel this race”. I left the house at 5:30 and headed towards the start. By the time I got there, the rain had stopped. VIP had designated parking area, but I just could never find it. I ended up parking in regular parking which was just as close if not closer to the starting line. I headed to VIP tent, where they had coffee, porter potties and last minute essentials that you may have forgotten.(band-aids, sunscreen, etc) The race was set to start at 7, but radar showed a thunderstorm was heading our way, so they delayed the race until 7:30 and told runners to seek cover. We watched the rain and thunder hit us for about 15 minutes then it cleared up. The race started promptly and 7:30 and we were off. Once we started running the route came back to me, and I remembered…this course was HILLY as HELL. Up, down, up, down we went for the full 13 miles. I don’t recall one section of the race that was level. It began to get hot and you could tell the hills were really challenging the runners. I saw a lot of people walking the hills because they just couldn’t recovery fast enough between hills. In spite of the hills, their was beautiful views to see as we ran through KC, past the hospital and through several neighborhoods before ultimately finishing downtown. The final mile of the race was downhill, and you could try to take advantage IF you had anything left in the tank after the hills. I had a little bit and was able to finish in a respectable time. I checked my watch and saw that we had run course with 975ft if elevation. My course graph looked like a heart beat signal. lol
I gathered my snacks and 3 medals, and headed back to the VIP tent. We were treated to free massages and mamosas, in addition to receiving a free gift. We all got power banks. I thanked the organizers again before heading back to my friend’s house to shower and pack in preparation for my flight back home that evening. I returned my Mercedes and was at the airport 2 hours before my plane took off. My plane took off at 5:25pm, and I left behind Kansas City and another great race weekend. Can’t wait to claim my results on Athlinks. Sigh up and get all your race stats in one place. http://www.athlinks.com
This race is definitely challenging, but if you enough a good challenge and LOTS of hills, I would recommend it without question. Thank You Hospital Hill 2018.