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Kansas City’s annual Trolley Run brings out 9,000 runners on a chilly morning

The 27th annual CCVI Trolley Run was held Sunday in Kansas City, which was a benefit for Children's Center for the Visually Impaired. Rene Peterson of Independence got a high-five from a runner at the start of the race. Peterson, a disabled veteran who served with the U.S. Army, was one of 9,000 people who participated in the 4-mile run. Peterson, who is paralyzed from the waist down, pedaled the course with his hands.
The 27th annual CCVI Trolley Run was held Sunday in Kansas City, which was a benefit for Children's Center for the Visually Impaired. Rene Peterson of Independence got a high-five from a runner at the start of the race. Peterson, a disabled veteran who served with the U.S. Army, was one of 9,000 people who participated in the 4-mile run. Peterson, who is paralyzed from the waist down, pedaled the course with his hands. tljungblad@kcstar.com

Sunday’s Trolley Run, the 27th annual, began like so many.

Thick clouds, spitting rain, a guy in a Superman cape and a few hundred people muttering at the starting line, “I should have dressed warmer.”

Tammy Webster of Raymore said that very thing about 10 minutes before race time. Her “Idiots Running Club” T-shirt just wasn’t cutting it. It was 48 degrees at 8 a.m at 75th Street and Wornall Road.

She and her friend, Tressie Duncan of Belton, were doing the Trolley for the first time. They are in training for a marathon later this year.

“Our motto is ‘Run, smile, drink water, don’t die,’ ” said Duncan, who sported a 2015 Skunk Run shirt.

Nobody dies in this run. Easy downhill, Waldo to the Plaza. That’s why it’s billed as the largest 4-mile timed race in the country. Organizers hope for about 10,000 runners.

The race benefits the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI). Last year, three runners with the United States Association for Blind Athletes ran the race. On Sunday, the number jumped to seven. CCVI Executive Director Nicola Heskett said the blind athletes help spread the word about what the race is about.

“Plus, these amazing athletes show our students and their families that anything is possible,” Heskett said.

A regular Trolley runner who didn’t run this year was Doug Elmer. He’d run the thing since 2008 or so, but this year sat it out so his wife could serve as a race monitor.

“Back when Doug started running we didn’t even have a son,” Ambriel Renn-Scanlan said. “We had no idea what CCVI would someday mean to us.”

Their toddler son, Teddy, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November 2013. Now after chemotherapy, tests show no sign of cancer, but he cannot see. He recently started at CCVI.

“When I first walked into that place it was like Dorothy walking into Oz,” Renn-Scanlan said. “You go in there and you know there are people doing good and right things in the world. That’s where you want to send your kid.”

So this year to give back, she wanted to help with the race. Her husband stayed with the kids and she was somewhere out on the course volunteering as a race monitor.

Maybe about Mile 3, or about where people start to mutter, “I should have dressed cooler.”

To reach Donald Bradley, call 816-234-4182 or send email to dbradley@kcstar.com.

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