Race Review

Gobbler Grind Half Marathon: Race Review

Particularly in contrast to my last race, the Gobbler Grind Half Marathon in Overland Park, Kansas was an absolute treat. It’s a lovely little race with good course support and fairly decent swag.

Admittedly, I was a teensy bit disappointed that this year’s medal didn’t feature a turkey. When I was poking around online to find a November race, the 2017 medal was partly what caught my eye.

Gobbler Grind 2017 Medals

The 2017 turkey-ful medals!

However! This year’s medal is definitely classy, and I quite like the hoodie they gave us. It’s a nice change from the standard long/short sleeve technical shirts that most races give out. I should mention, though, the hoodie is strangely proportioned (short body/sleeves) and ran really small. I’m 5’5″ and ended up getting an XL.

Gobbler Grind Half Marathon Hoodie 2018

As for the race itself, it was mostly flat and although not exceptionally scenic, still pretty in the crisp winter air. Winter to me, anyway. As I’m working my way West on my grand road trip adventure, I’m encountering some light snowfall and chilly temperatures. So, anything below 40° F counts as wintery to me!

The course starts and ends in a business complex, so the upside is flat, car-free roads for a good portion of the course. It then veers onto a paved running/biking trail, but that happens after there’s been enough milage to spread people out. So, even though it’s a mostly out-and-back course, I didn’t find it too crowded on the trail portions.

Packet pick up was easy. The volunteers were friendly. And the race is big enough that I wasn’t totally at the back of the pack while still being small enough for plenty of parking and short lines (if at all) at the port-o-potty.

Since one of my dear friends lives 15 minutes from the start, it was a great little race to get Kansas checked off my 50-states list. If you live in the area, it’s also apparently one of three Kansas halves in the Harvest Half Series. I might return some spring for the larger, more scenic Rock The Parkway race, but I’m glad to say I enjoyed this fun little half!

Rocking my gobbler grind swag

Rocking my gobbler grind swag!

Overall Assessment: Would Run Again

Time of year: Early/Mid-November (11/11/2018)

Start time: 8:30 am

Temperature: 34° F

Size of field: around 1,000 (600-700 for the half and 300 or so for the full)

Elevation gain: 331 ft (Garmin) or 510 ft (Strava)

Gobbler Grind Elevation Map 2018 Course

Pros:

  • Smaller size. Meant parking was easy, traffic wasn’t an issue, and course wasn’t really crowded.
  • Full and Half Marathon options. I like running races that have a full since it means there will still be food when I finish and I won’t be the last one across the finish line.
  • Good swag. Medal is strangely lightweight, but it’s nice. And although the hoodie is weirdly proportioned, it’s a decent piece of lightweight outerwear.
  • Relatively flat. There’s a pretty big hill around mile 7, but it’s fairly steady and not too bad.

Cons:

  • Not very scenic. In some ways it felt more like a weekend long run than a race, per se. The corporate park where it starts is just that, a bunch of buildings and parking lots. And the leaves have fallen on most of the trees, so the trail is rather sparse.
  • Out-and-back Course. I like out and backs for my long runs, but I tend to prefer more variety for races.
  • Running on paved trail. This wasn’t a problem for me, but for faster runners, I imagine there were parts of the course that ended up getting congested.
  • Cold weather. I like running in the cold, but I think this is the first race where I had to battle shards of ice that had formed in some of the water cups. I talked with someone who ran it last year, and apparently it was snowing?!
Gobbler Grind Half Marathon Medal 2018

It reads: “Courage to start, Strength to endure, resolve to finish.” Nice sentiments!

 

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