Inside JCPRD: Two great race options for May

Three to four hundred racers are expected for the Heritage Park 5K 10K and 15K event on May 8.

By David Markham

JCPRD is hosting two major race events during May, and they couldn’t be much different from each other.

First up is the Heritage Park 5K, 10K, and 15K races on Saturday, May 8, in Heritage Park. This will be followed by the first-ever Shawnee Mission Park Adventure Race on Saturday, May 22, which will be JCPRD’s first major foray into adventure racing. Physical distancing and COVID-19 safe practices will be encouraged during these programs.

The Heritage Park 5K, 10K, and 15K event, which has been presented in its current form since 2017, promises something for everyone, from the seasoned veteran looking to add some miles to their trusty running shoes to a first timer interested in gaining a little experience while having fun among a stunning landscape. This early spring event date also creates the opportunity for athletes to jumpstart training and kick-off the race season!

Race routes are inside Heritage Park and incorporate the natural beauty of the park’s trail system with breathtaking lake views and spacious trailways. The 5K, 10K, and 15K events will all take place beginning at 7:30 a.m. 5K participants will compete in two age-based categories: Youth (ages 15 and under), and Adult (ages 16 and older). All participants will receive post-race refreshments.

“This is a family-friendly event offering distances for all ages and abilities,” said Special Events Coordinator Katy Renner. “Heritage Park is a hidden gem in southern Johnson County with gorgeous flat trails and a super fun finish near the water. We are expecting between 300 and 400 athletes, and are excited to be working with Kansas City Running Company as our timing company.”

Until the end of registration on race day, May 8, the fee for the 10K are $43 per person, the 15K is $53 per person, and 5K registration fees are $23 per person for ages 15 and under, and $37 per person for ages 16 and older. For more information or to register, go to https://runsignup.com/Race/KS/Olathe/HeritagePark5K10K15K. For information about COVID-19 Protocols which will be observed during this event, visit https://jcprd.com/1630/COVID-19-Protocols.

The new Shawnee Mission Park Adventure Race is scheduled for Saturday, May 22, starting from the beach house in Shawnee Mission Park. This event offers two courses which are open to solo athletes and teams of up to four. Along the way, participants will get to see some lesser-used areas of the 1,600-plus-acre park.

“This event is all about orienteering,” Renner explained. “Currently, JCPRD does not host a specific orienteering event so this is a first of this magnitude for our organization. Prior to this event, we had not gotten into the adventure racing world. We are excited for the opportunity to get people out in all areas of Shawnee Mission Park and not just along the paved trails. It’s a great way to showcase the entire park and portions that people don’t normally get to see. The team that completes the most checkpoints with the fastest time will win the race. There will be several checkpoints that are mandatory (transition areas), but most are not.”

Two different courses are being offered: a two-hour course, and a six-hour course,

“The two-hour course consists of trekking alone,” Renner said. “The six-hour course will have three different elements: paddling, mountain biking, and trekking. Participants in the six-hour course will cover much more distance than those in the two-hour course.”

Mountain biking is one of the events featured in the six-hour course for the new Shawnee Mission Park Adventure Race on May 22.

She estimates those on the two-hour course will cover four to six miles of trekking (both hiking and running), while those on the six-mile course will cover five to seven miles of trekking, plus 15 to 25 miles of mountain biking, and one to two miles of paddling (canoe for teams and kayaks for individuals). There may also be surprise challenges for both courses. It is also important to note that during the event, athletes will have access only to the gear, food, and drink that they carry on their bike or in their pack.

JCPRD is partnering with local Girl Scout groups to host this race. As of late April, Renner said 106 people and three teams for the two-hour course had registered and she expected around 250 or more. Because this event will take place outdoors and participants will be socially distanced, this is a perfect activity to take part in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the two-hour course, solo registration is $35, while registration for a team or family of up to four is $60. For the six-hour course, the cost is $60 for solo athletes, $120 for teams of two, $180 for teams of three, and $240 for teams of four. Registration for the six-hour course will end Saturday, May 15, while registrations for the two-hour course will be accepted until race day. To register, go to https://runsignup.com/Race/KS/Lenexa/ShawneeMissionParkAdventureRace.

Heritage Park is located at 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe. Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa. If you are interested in volunteering or need additional information about either race, email kathryn.renner@jocogov.org or by call (913) 826-2964.