Second annual Lagerhead Marathon and Half happening Saturday

Marissa Ventrelli
The Ottawa Herald

What started as a social distancing-friendly way for runners to get a race in during the pandemic is back for its second year: the Lagerhead Marathon and Half Marathon will take runners 26.2 miles and 13.1 miles, respectively, along Ottawa's Prairie Spirit Trail on November 20. 

Race organizer Tim Anderson of Spring Hill said the idea for the Lagerhead came to him last fall when most marathons were canceled due to COVID-19. "I along with everyone else was kinda frustrated with the fact that we didn't have any options for races, and I've always loved the trail in Ottawa and thought it'd be a great place for a race, so I approached the Kansas City Running Company and talked to them about the possibility of putting on a half-marathon," Anderson said. "They told me they had a list of people who were full marathoners who had all trained for and prepared for a full marathon and had nowhere to run it because all of the races had been canceled." When the Kansas City Running Company asked if Anderson would be interested in also holding a full marathon as well as a half, he said, "the answer was obviously yes."

The crushed limestone on the Prairie Spirit trail provides the perfect surface for running because "it's easier on the body than pavement", Anderson said. The race route heads southeast and loops back around, and upon crossing the finish line, all runners receive a custom medal. The top three male and female finishers also get awards, and as the name of the race suggests, every participant over 21 gets a free beer from Ottawa's Not Lost Brewing. The name and adorable turtle logo were both ideas of Anderson's, who says he first came up with it when he and a group of friends were participating in the Brew to Brew Relay, a 40-plus-mile trek from Kansas City to Lawrence. 

Anderson, a retired sergeant with the Leawood Police Department, has been running for over 10 years and has numerous marathons under his belt, including the qualifier-only Boston Marathon. Anderson is still active in the law enforcement community and now teaches classes for the Kansas Highway Patrol. As part of his charity commitment, a portion of entry fees for the Lagerhead go to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington, DC, which features the names of officers killed on duty. 

For any runners looking for a race this weekend, the Lagerhead is accepting walk-ups on Saturday. The race starts at 8:30 am at 5th and Walnut. And for anyone interested in running the Lagerhead next year, or just getting into running in general, Anderson offers the following advice: "Research and read and find a training plan, and don't do too much too fast. Make sure you're in a position where you make the proper plan to get yourself ready on race day - it's always a good idea to get a good start, the earlier the better to get your pace developed, that way you're not asking your body to do too much last minute."

You can find more information about the Lagerhead on the race's Facebook page.