A Prairie Village man is working to bring a unique running race concept to Penn Valley Park and benefit the National World War I Museum and Memorial in the process.
John Anderson had known Overland Park native and Runners World Magazine founder Bob Anderson (no relation) for years through the running community. After Bob sold Runners World a few years ago, he turned his attention to a new challenge: Promoting a new race concept called a “double.” The format starts with a long running race leg — a 5k, for instance — and then has a “halftime” where runners take a break before running a shorter leg — like a 3k.
John, who was a competitive runner for years before hip replacement surgery forced him to take up racewalking instead, said Bob had encouraged him to get involved in the sport early on.
“[Bob] had organized a 15K Double in Overland Park a few years ago, which I racewalked,” John said. “He then encouraged me to do a 15K Double in San Jose, CA and later a third one in Pleasanton, CA. From this experience, Bob convinced me to do a Double in KCMO.”
John started thinking of interesting venues for the race, and approached his friend Matt Naylor, the CEO of the National World War I Museum and Memorial, about using Liberty Memorial as the focal point. Naylor signed on last fall, and John has been working on organizing the event ever since.
The event will be an 8K Double, with a 5K first half and a 3K second half and will be held Sunday, October 9.
“The WWI grounds are very hilly and thus I decided on an 8K format instead of a 15K,” Johns said. “The staging area will be in the grassy area on the north side of the WWI overlooking the Union Station and the city skyline.”
There will also be a kids race coinciding with the 8K that will feature a leg of two-thirds of a mile and a leg of one-third of a mile.