a marathon in pictures

training runs can so often get long and repetitive. i found myself doing anything to avoid an out-and-back many times this summer. i also did several long and mid-length runs along the very course that the kansas city marathon follows. although it slowed me down for a few moments, i took pictures of some of the beautiful and interesting sights we will all encounter… if we are looking.

here, then, is my kansas city marathon, in pictures. all photos were taken along my training runs.

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here i am just before beginning my first attempt at 20 miles. george washington wishes me luck from washington square park, the site of the start and finish line for the marathon.

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one of the most striking landmarks of downtown kansas city, but no cause to stop and gawk. the sprint center isn’t even 1 mile in.

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union station is an active station, in the sense that you can look down at the tracks and see trains going by. motivation to keep up the pace, so my headphones don’t get drowned out.

IMG_0029the “front” side of union station features the bloch fountain, as well as whatever exhibit is current. right now, that means a pirate ship.

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the reward for making up the first challenging hill is not only a half mile of flat, but also a spectacular view of kc’s unique liberty memorial.

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the broadcast tower for kcpt, one of our public television stations, is not only a welcome landmark both at the start and as an indicator i’m nearing the finish, it’s also taller than the eiffel tower!

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historic westport offers no shortage of interesting shops, libations, and dining choices.

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across from westport lies the edge of my own neighborhood, the volker district. it also means flat-to-downhill terrain for a few miles.

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this intersection will always be holy ground for me. it was while volunteering as a course monitor at the 2012 marathon that i resolved to run the full course in 2013. little did i know what the coming weeks would bring!

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among the many gorgeous sensory treats in the country club plaza is my favorite restaurant of all time, fogo de chao. i hope to hold my celebration meal there… if i can still walk. i do still have a pair of crutches!

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of course, there’s a certain charm to more humble establishments like the original winstead’s. friends of ours celebrated their engagement this summer with a skyscraper.

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another one of kansas city’s most recognizable landmarks is the facade and lawn of the nelson-atkins art museum, complete with larger than life shuttlecocks. i really do pity fellow runners who don’t take the time to see everything they’re passing by.

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the middle section of the course winds through more of the plaza, tackles a long but beautiful hill through some of the more stately homes in kansas city, mo, passes briefly by loose park, and heads down the historic ward parkway. the meyer circle fountain is one of the many reasons kansas city is fondly called the “city of contains.”

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after another 5 miles or so, i’ll return to the east side of the plaza area. kansas city is known for its delicious bbq, and gates is our flagship. by this point in the morning, i’ll no doubt smell it cooking, which may get me moving so i can eat asap. maybe they’ll even call out to me, “hi may i help you!”

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i couldn’t help taking this one. summer 2013 was a time of frequent storms, and usually these resulted in numerous downed trees. unlike the day of the marathon when i’ll be able to travel unobstructed like cars do, when i trained on the sidewalks and trails, sometimes the footpath just wasn’t available.

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hyde park is one of midtown kansas city’s best-kept secrets. not only does it boast playgrounds that attract families from all over the city, sometimes you can climb or even picnic on the most unique sculptures around.

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again, i really hope other runners will take the time to look around. this stunning view is indeed my own photo. it’s a great view from 71 highway at the paseo.

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once the paseo ymca, the buck o’neill cultural center marks the turn to the final 1.2 miles.

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while we don’t go directly into the 18th & vine jazz district, it’s an awesome piece of kc and american history.

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one last photo, representing the “other” crossroads, i.e. east of grand blvd. i swear this is robin williams’ character from the movie “robots.”

these photos are just a sampling of a constant barrage of sights the marathon course will afford. i count it a blessing to have been able to check it out in advance, and i’m really looking forward to putting all the pieces together for the race of my lifetime.

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About andrew burden

andrew blogs about being a volunteer youth leader, teacher, video editor, husband, friend, child of God
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