I was in Kansas City back in 1990 to speak at the Kansas City Marathon, it was a wonderful event, but the Kansas City Marathon in 2008 was incredible! Many changes have been made since 1990 and one of the biggest was the title sponsor Waddell & Reed Financial Advisors.
I arrived in Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon and race volunteer, Lisa Fleming picked me up, what a wonderful person she is! I stayed at the host hotel, the Kansas City Hyatt Regency.
Thursday morning I was up early for a run and then Lisa picked me up at 8:30 and we headed for Waddell & Reed. I gave a talk to many of the 250+ volunteers from Waddell and Reed. It is absolutely amazing to me that so many volunteers from one company come out to support the runners! Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Bob Williams introduced me after saying a few words to his staff. Bob was so excited they were involved with the race and is a very motivating person himself!
I gave a 30 minute talk that went very well and helped with handing out door prizes to everyone that was there.
After my talk at Waddell & Reed, I met the kids race director Steve Koranda who took me over to the Nobles Prentis Elementary School where I spoke to all the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I love talking to the kids as they are all so wide eyed! The kids were great and had many questions after my talk!
After my visit to to the school I headed back to the hotel and the race expo where I said a few words to everyone as the expo opened.
Lisa then picked me up and we headed over to the Johnson County Community College where I spoke to high school cross-country runners and their coaches and parents. My talk went very well and afterwards I answered questions and had pictures taken.
Friday morning I was up early for a run and then off to the race expo where I gave a talk at 10:15 and answered questions, right after my talk I went and spent time in the Runner's Edge booth signing books and talking to many of the people attending the expo.
From 5-7 PM they had their pasta dinner, the $15.00 price tag was a great bargain as they had a wonderful pasta dinner! At 6 PM I gave my keynote talk to a packed pasta dinner crowd and it went very well. Afterwards I signed books and chatted with many of the folks and had lots of pictures taken.
Saturday morning I was up very early for a run. I was scheduled to run in the half marathon but because of the knee injury I have (surgery is set for Nov. 17) I decided against it. I can run without too much trouble if I keep it slow and not to far. I knew if I entered the half the competitive juices would start flowing and that would not be good for my knee! The race started at 7 on a clear cool morning. I arrived around 6:45 and met Bob Williams from Waddell & Reed. I was asked to say a few words to the 7000+ runners they had, they were fired up to get going!
Not only do they have a full marathon but also a half marathon, marathon relay, 5K, and a 1.2 mile kids run. They had over 500 kids participating! That was so exciting to see all the kids!
I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone that made my visit possible, but especially Lisa Fleming (volunteer extraordinaire!) and Bob Williams (from the title sponsor Waddell & Reed) You folks really know how to put on a incredible fun event, keep up the GREAT work you do!