Few things make a holiday feel more rewarding than getting out of bed early and going for a nice, long run.
I experienced that fulfillment for the second straight Fourth of July thanks to Koach Karl’s Hardest Half, a heavy half-marathon through the mean, friendly, old, and fancy streets of Kansas City, Mo. The unofficial race is event-only, and thanks to Larry Long, I received my invitation for the 2013 run and now have run two of the four Hardest Half events.
Simply put, Karl finds the biggest hills he can find throughout Kansas City, Mo., and concocts a course a bit longer than a half marathon (all on pavement), sets a 9 a.m. start time and prays for little cloud cover and lots of heat.
We don’t have to go to work on the Fourth of July, so Karl wants to make sure our day off includes a little bit of suffering – and a whole lot of fun.
This year’s course was 15 miles, and it featured a few miles on Troost, a few on Prospect Ave., a loop around Liberty Memorial, runs up two giant, steep hills in the Westside neighborhood, past the lovely Kauffman Center, through downtown Kansas City, and all the way back to the Filling Station Coffee Shop where the run started.
I ran most of my miles with Danny Loental and Rick Troeh, and also got to see Larry, Sherrie Klover, Erica Carper and the legendary Elliot Snickerfritz among others.
Kudos to Bobbi Aschwanden for taking some excellent photos for the second straight year to commemorate the day.
I often take for granted how beautiful a city Kansas City is, but the Hardest Half is a great reminder.