City hopes advanced planning quells marathon qualms

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some residents already have a headache thinking about the road closures and traffic jams that will stem from the Kansas City Marathon on Saturday. That's why race organizers and city officials began planning months in advance to ease their concerns.

Keith Sharp, the South Plaza Neighborhood Association President, understands the inconveniences that come with a major marathon, but for him the positive aspects outweigh the negative.

"It's a bit of a disruption at times, but it's also just a wonderful community event. It raises money for very needy causes and important things for our community," he said.

Race organizers and city officials, however, understand some people are going to complain no matter what.

"We've done a pretty neat postcard mailing to 60,000 residents in the community that might be affected by this course letting them know about the event and about the road closures that may affect them," said Kansas City Sports Commission Director of Events Sarah Dee.

"Every week we send out a news release, we post on our website, our Facebook page and Twitter. We also send out alerts for people who subscribe to text and email notifications," said Kansas City, Missouri Spokesman Chris Hernandez.

Race organizers also posted signs throughout the 26.2 mile course warning of traffic delays. Hernandez wants to stress these road closures are temporary and likely won't last more than a couple of hours.

"As the runners move through the roads are opened back up. The roads are not closed down until the runners are approaching and then you can get through the race course at the times where there are gaps in between the runners," he said.

This year's marathon will be bigger than ever with more than 12,000 people signed up to run either the half or full marathon.

"About 63 percent of those people are local. What that tells us is that people here in the community love this event," said Dee.

Sharp said he doesn't run the race, but he's one of the event's biggest cheerleaders.

"It's a really minor inconvenience for a really major contribution," he said.

Both the half and full marathon will begin at 7:05 on Saturday morning and will finish at 22nd and Grand across from Crown Center.

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