Organizers of the Kansas City Marathon are hoping this year’s edition is the biggest spectator event in its history.
Westport will be the official “spectator zone” for Saturday’s marathon, which is presented by Garmin. As runners approach the final two miles of the course, they will enter the spectator zone filled with bands playing live music and vendors selling food.
Fireworks will be featured at the beginning of the race and a massive post-race party will offer live music, free food and free local beer to conclude the festivities.
The non-profit Kansas City Sports Commission hopes the public will be drawn to these spectator areas on race day.
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Johnny’s Tavern has also partnered with the marathon on a new spectator contest. The Kansas City neighborhood association voted the most memorable spectator zone on this year’s route will be awarded a $1,000 gift certificate to Johnny’s Tavern.
Marathon organizers are particularly interested in making this year’s event memorable for its 9,000-plus runners.
A new 10K option has been added to the full marathon, half marathon and 5K routes, giving runners or walkers a choice of participating in four different races according to their fitness level.
This year’s full-marathon course should be less challenging than last year’s hilly route. Runners will get a tour of the city’s most beautiful landmarks, including Sprint Center, City Hall, 18th & Vine, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Country Club Plaza, Westport and the World War I Memorial. Full routes for all four races can be viewed at http://www.sportkc.org/marathon/race-information/course-information/.
The final steps to the finish line will be a downhill stretch with views of the KC skyline. Upon completion of the race, all runners will receive a T-shirt and KC-themed finisher’s medal.
A final note: As of Wednesday afternoon, marathon organizers were still seeking volunteer course monitors. Visit https://mysportkc.org/Register/?event=40607#! for more information.