Last weekend was the final event of the Heartland 39.3 series!
The series is local to Kansas City and is a challenge to run 3 designated half marathons in 5 weeks. This was only the 3rd year for the series, but I’ve done it all 3 years so I got some pretty great swag!
The finale race was Running with the Cows in Bucyrus, KS. This was actually my very first half marathon back in 2010, and now my 4th time running it. The first year there were only like 60 runners and this year they had 2600!
Bucyrus is about an hour from our home and feels even farther because of the country roads and farms that surround it. It takes place at a catholic grade school so there isn’t a ton of parking, so we made sure to arrive really early! Thankfully it didn’t rain prior to the race because we parked in the middle of a huge grassy field.
It is nice that they allow you to wait for the race start inside of the school in the gymnasium. It was just a little bit cold, so it was nice to stay inside. The only thing they need to work on is the port-o-potty situation. Not nearly enough, but Paul and I were able to get in and out before the start since we arrived so early.
The race itself is an out and back course along some really pretty country roads. We saw a lot of cows and horses and apparently a donkey which I totally missed!
The course is kinda flat, but with some rolling hills. Going into the race I was pretty sure that I might be able to PR. I even started out with the 1:55 pace group and felt really optimistic!
However after the first 3 or so miles, I could tell I wasn’t going to be able to hold with them. I got behind and tried to keep them in sites, but the 2:00 group caught up pretty quick. I managed to stick with them until about mile 8 when I started to fall behind again.
The weather was awesome! No rain and a bit of wind. The weather was fairly hot compared to what we have had to train in, so I wasn’t used to that, but I think the fitness to PR just wasn’t there like I thought it was.
In the last 2 miles, the 2:05 group crept up to me. I made it my goal to stick with them and I succeeded in that. I finished in 2:05:38, just about a minute faster than at Garmin two weeks ago.
The best part of this race is the finish line! I really love the medals and everyone gets a cowbell as well.
… but the real swag is the food buffet inside the gymnasium. Since the race is put on by a school, the finish line party seems to be put on by all the students’ families! They have every food you can imagine for the runners: homemade cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, chocolate milk, Fazoli’s breadsticks, Chick-fil-a, BBQ, fruits, PIZZA!, Hostess snacks like Twinkies and mini-muffins, and the list can go on and on. There is just SO much food!
Paul and I loaded up a couple plates before we headed out. We spent the rest of the weekend in Iowa celebrating a 1st birthday, so we wanted to hit the road, but I could have spent the entire day brunching and making my way through the food.
Running with the Cows is definitely an awesome race. If you are a Half Fanatic or 50-stater, I think this would be an awesome Kansas race! The not so flat, but not so hilly course through the country is Midwest awesome and this race is definitely a small local race, but at 2600 runners it certainly isn’t podunky! It also has great swag that keeps getting better and better each year!