The Full marathon, like the Half marathon and 5K race, begins in downtown Kansas City at Washington Park near Crown Center, near the corner of Pershing and Grand Boulevard. From there, the course follows a mostly counter-clockwise loop route, taking runners first northward along Grand and then westward along 13th Street, past the Liberty Memorial in Penn Valley Park as well as through Volker, Gillham, Troost and Spring Valley Parks as it makes its way around the city. This being Kansas City, the race route is of course a hilly one, with the most challenging uphill stretches occurring between miles 2 and 4 around the Liberty Memorial as well as between the 8 and 9 mile markers in the second half of the race. Runners will experience an elevation gain of over 200 feet at the first big hill around the mile 4 marker, from a low of about 750 feet above sea level just before the third mile marker. Between miles 7 and 9 the race course drops again to about 800 feet (with a brief uphill just after the mile 8 marker) and then rises again to about 975 feet between mile markers 10 and 11 before mercifully flattening out on the last few miles to the finish. Runners will finish the race not far from the starting line, in the area of Kansas City known as the Crown Center, an entertainment and shopping district that also happens to surround the world headquarters for Hallmark Cards.
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