Exploration Place Parkrun #32, Wichita KS, May 20th 2023.
The British are coming ….. but they may be a bit late.
Firstly, a big thank you to Curtis the run director and all the volunteers, not only for organising the parkrun, keeping us safe, and on the right course, but also for making it such a friendly and welcoming event: Karin BERENS, Matthew COOLEY, Payten LAPOINT, Jon MEYERS, Marge MOYSEN, Rod MOYSEN, Kris ROBERTSON, Karlee ROSE, Adam SMITH, Adam SMITH, Curtis WHITTIT.
Congratulations to all 69 runners and walkers who completed the parkrun. The first three male and female finishers were in 17:07 Ronald Lapoint, 18:58 Zack Gingrich Gaylord, 20:11 Damien Hiser, and 27:00 Holly Harpel, 27:17 Jenna Bailor and 30:52 Sierra Daughtry. Ten runners set their personal best times, and a big welcome to the parkrun family for the 16 runners for who this was their first ever parkrun.
Along with the 16 new parkrunners this week, we (Deb and Steve Sutch) were two parkrunners from the UK who were visiting Exploration Place Parkrun for the first time. For us this was respectively our 25th parkrun, and 25th different parkrun across 5 countries. These milestones almost did not happen today as we had mistakenly assumed the start was at 9am, rather than 8am. At about 8.05am we realised our mistake and immediately rushed into panic mode, managing to get to Exploration Place around 8:15am, with the challenge of catching up with the tail walkers.
A week ago we had been at the Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore MD (Deb had run, and I volunteered as timer). Being keen to do another US parkrun we checked for an event in Kansas City where we were staying with family, only to find the nearest event was 195 miles away in Wichita. In the UK that is almost the distance from the city of Southampton (where we live) to Manchester, half the length of England, but in the mid-west that’s just heading down the road. After our ‘treacherous’ journey across the state from Kansas City, through the Flint Hills and pouring rain the previous day to Wichita we were really pleased not to have missed the event!!
The fastest runners were already running past us, about to finish, as we pushed on across the Keeper of the Plains bridge, guided along the route by the marshals, firstly by Marge and then Kris, pausing only briefly for Kris to take our photo (well it’s got to be done, hasn’t it?). Heading south down the east bank of the Arkansas River we went under the second bridge (W Douglas Ave) and spotted the tail walkers coming back towards us, giving us the motivation to push on a bit faster towards the turn-around point.
Eight weeks ago, I had broken my fibular and this was my first Parkrun since the injury. I don’t think it was quite what the Orthopaedic Surgeon had intended by ‘strengthening’, but I’m going to assume it was something like that . Little did I know I was being called to the Keeper of the Plains (the 44 ft statue by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin) and my first post-injury parkrun.
Back on the riverbank path we headed back north to catch up with and pass the tail walkers. Then being encouraged by the marshals we went back over the bridge across the Little Arkansas and the Arkansas River, back to Exploration Place and the finish. We were enthusiastically cheered on and greeted by the volunteers at the finish line. Even though there had already been another 67 finishers it felt like the cheering was especially for us.
We hope to return in the future and hopefully be able to start the run at the correct time next time.
Thank you once again everyone.
Video link: https://youtu.be/MrRLSsUopOU
Steve & Deb Sutch