Barefoot Rick's Olathe Marathon Report - May 20, 2006

Some days, as those of us who run marathons know, the weather can be working against a runner. Other days, it falls into place right at the last minute. I kind of feel like we lucked out for the fourth running of the Olathe Marathon in Olathe Kansas early on Saturday morning. The predicted high was 90 degrees for marathon day. However, we were blessed with a cold front that pushed down a little further south than expected which kept a nice cloud cover and low humidity. Other than a stiff easterly wind, the conditions were superb, in my opinion -- low 60s with cloudy conditions at the start and only a few degrees warmer with mostly cloudy conditions 4 hours later. My kind of weather!

I arrived in Olathe around 6 a.m. and climbed aboard the shuttle bus to be transported to Gardner-Edgerton High School where the race started. (The course is the same as last years marathon, a point to point endeavor with a mixture of suburbia, country, highway, more suburbia, and finally finishing in downtown Olathe. [I like the course and I hope they don't change it.]) We arrived in plenty of time to mill around, take care of "necessaries", and generally visit with runners. Met up with Barefoot Byron who is a local runner and was doing his 5th barefoot marathon since Las Vegas in December! I hadn't seen Byron since we ran Lincoln 2 weeks ago, so we chatted a bit. During our chat, John Dietrich (my 50 state buddy who ran Olathe with me last year, as well as Mountain Home the year before) introduces me to TomD from the Boomers and Beyond Discussion Group on It was so cool meeting Tom and his lovely wife. Tom is a true diehard marathoner that has done some outlandish number of 'thons, with some ran as "back-to-backers" (one on Saturday and another on Sunday).

(Left) Barefoot Byron (Right) ????, Rob Bens, Barefoot Rick, Barefoot Byron, TomD, John Dietrich

Byron's presence at this year increased the barefoot division by 100%!

A local Boy Scout troop was in charge of presenting the flag colors and they sang the National Anthem shortly before race start. The cannon went off with a mighty "BOOM" at 7 a.m. and we were off!

The first few miles flew by as John and I ran together a good part of the way. Byron was up a head somewhere. We finally caught up with Byron about the 6 mile mark. We knew TomD was somewhere up a head because we kept seeing Mrs. TomD. She was a great support, all along the way! She kept saying that he was only a half a mile a head of us, but I never caught him.

John and I lost Byron around the 6 or 7 mile mark, and John would catch me and then drop back over the next 18 miles or so throughout the marathon. When I wasn't visiting with John, I would run with others for a while or engage the spotty spectators along the way. At another time, I found myself slaloming around the traffic cones, just to add some extra fun to my running.

Inch by inch it's a cinch!

The last couple of miles, John had raced ahead of me and the course meandered through the downtown neighborhoods of Olathe. A couple of times I would see teenage boys or girls and I would say something to the effect that I wanted to see them out here running with me next year! They would laugh and agree!

Coming up the final stretch, we could hear BJ the DJ doing what he does so GOOD ... bringing the runners home from his microphone pedestal. He was a welcome voice as I wanted to give my footsies a treat and soak them in the large fountain on the city square. Ahhhhh .... nothing like it! Crossed the finish line at 3:57:54 ... not bad!

Hanging out at the finish line!

Olathe is a great marathon. The crowds are a bit sparse but it just makes those spectators a runner does encounter that much more savory when they clap like crazy for you! The weather, in my opinion, was great! And, most importantly, I had a blast! What more could I want?


Barefoot Rick's Olathe Marathon Interview - May 10, 2006

36th Marathon
18th Barefoot Marathon (the first 18 were with shoes!)
Finish Time - 3:57:54
Pace - 9:05
8th Place AG (50-54)
Ran the entire distance (it's a marathon running event, ya know!)


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