Is this town big enough for the two of them?
Next year, Wichita marathon runners will find out.
The Chisholm Trail Marathon is a new marathon/half-marathon event scheduled to be run in downtown Wichita on Sunday, March 24, 2019.
It will be one of two marathons offered in Wichita — alongside the Prairie Fire Marathon, which typically takes place in October.
The difference between the two: The new Chisholm Trail Marathon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit raising money for the United Way of the Plains. It has elected to donate 3 percent of marathon proceeds to the charity, said Michael Langston, president of the Chisholm Trail Marathon.
The course is flat and straightforward: It starts near Milkfloat in Delano, then goes east on Douglas to around Rock Road, then back to downtown along Central and Second streets. One loop of that route is approximately 13 miles, so the marathon runs the same loop twice.
There are only 12 turns in the entire marathon.
“With the other race, the running bunny, basically it has 57 90-degree turns — It blocks off all of Riverside,” Langston said. “This race is something I think the running community was calling for in a way. We need something that showcases downtown, is fast and flat, and has minimal turns.”
The Prairie Fire Marathon course certainly showcases more scenery, typically winding through Riverside, College Hill, Eastborough and various other areas.
But because of the Chisholm Trail Marathon’s double-loop route, Wichitans will see fewer traffic cones blocking streets the morning of the race. The course is designed “to bring people to a very spectator-friendly race.”
“We’ve tried to be very thoughtful” about the course, Langston said.
The course is certified by USA Track & Field as well as the Road Runners Club of America.
It will be a qualifier for both the Boston and New York marathons.
Unique to this event: The marathon will offer $17,000 in prize money, including $5,000 for the first-place male and female finishers. In the half-marathon, the top male and female finishers will receive $1,000 apiece.
In 2017, the Prairie Fire Marathon did not award cash prizes to its top finishers.
All participants receive a T-shirt, finisher medal and access to a post-race celebration with local microbrews, music and food.
Until Oct. 15, registration is $75 for the marathon and $35 for the half-marathon. Costs increase as the marathon date approaches.
Currently, Wichita’s Prairie Fire Marathon offers a spring half-marathon, but there has been no full marathon offered in Wichita in the spring. The Prairie Fire Marathon is put on by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, which is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit. It has also made sizable charitable donations in the community.
The Chisholm Trail Marathon also aims to highlight the history of the Chisholm Trail itself. It’s partnered with the Mid-America All-Indian Center to host its pre-race expo there, and the marathon has the blessings of Jesse Chisholm’s great-great-great-grandson Patrick Murphy. Murphy will speak about the trail and fire the starting pistol for the marathon, Langston said.