Sunday marked the first time a half marathon has been run in Hutchinson Kansas. Known for its salt-mines, Cosmosphere and Space Center, and State Fairgrounds, Hutchinson is not known for long distance road racing. However, this well-planned inaugural event made it seem as though Hutchinson has been putting on a half marathon for years. Race directors Amy Conklin and Amanda Buoy, who are also fanatic runners themselves, didn’t miss any details when planning for this event. From the web-site and easy registration down to the awards, this race was well organized.
Both the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hutchinson and the Hutchinson Recreation Commission joined together to put on this event to benefit thousands of children in Hutchinson.
The course started at 8am in Carey Park at the Aquatic Center as over 360 runners and walkers crossed the starting mats. Most of the course was run on a paved bikepath with only a few small rolling hills. Along the course, runners ran through Rice Park, the Kansas State fairgrounds, neighborhoods, and in front of the Cosmosphere and Salt Mines. The race finished at Gowans Stadium where runners ran the last stretch of the 13.1 course on the track.
“After years of attending the state fair and battling the crowds it was really fun to run on the empty fair grounds” –Jennifer Schmidt
There were a few bands along the course playing music. The drum core really got runners moving along with the spectators lining the streets ringing cowbells. Police officers did a nice job of controlling traffic and directing runners thru the neighborhoods.
“There were two places that I nearly went off course, but officers got me back on track quickly. The last mile was full of turns getting into the stadium but volunteers were great about pointing out the course.” –Karla Gregg
Aid-stations were approximately every 2 miles with water and Gatorade. At mile 12, volunteers from the Cosmosphere were passing out Liquid Oxygen Ice-Cream. However, few runners were taking any ice cream with just one mile left to go, so they moved this unique ice cream to the finish line. Runners were then able to watch as the blended dairy confection was flash frozen in negative 300 degree liquid oxygen.
The awards were as unique to the race as the ice-cream. The top three in each age group received a trophy with a salt rock mounted on-top of a wooden pedestal. The rocks were carefully selected by the staff from the Underground Vaults and Storage and the youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs vocational program carefully hand-crafted the wooden bases. Jennifer Schmidt of Wichita describes the trophies as “fun” and says that “they make a good conversation piece.” Several award winners could also be caught licking their trophies “to see just how salty they really were.”
The timing for the Hutchinson Half Marathon is perfect for those who are running the Wichita Prairie Fire Marathon and Half Marathon on October 9. Many used “Run for the Rocks” as a tune-up race for Prairie Fire.
McKale Davis, 27, of Fairfax Oklahoma easily won the race with a time of 1:20:17 beating out the second place finisher by over 5 minutes.
Darren Keller, 45, of Hutchinson, placed second overall and was the first male finisher. He enjoyed the hometown race and seeing his family along the course.
Top three men:
- Darren Keller, 45, Hutchinson 1:25:46
- Preston Pham, 23, Manhattan 1:26:10
- Matt Morrow, 43, Wichita 1:27:10
Top three women:
- McKale Davis, 27, Fairfax OK 1:20:17
- Melissa Hartman, 28, Conway Springs 1:33:59
- Eve Vincent, 45, Valley Center 1:35:20
For complete results click here. Professional photos were also taken and can be viewed here.