From extreme heat on Friday to high winds and a menacing storm front early Saturday, the weather caused big worries just before the 2018 Hospital Hill Run, sponsored by the UMKC Health Sciences District. But after the starting horn sounded at 7:30 Saturday morning, June 2, cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s prevailed, making it a good day for the races.
Mid-90s heat caused the usual Friday evening 5K to be pushed to 7 a.m. Saturday, when the 7.7-mile and half-marathon races also were to begin. Because of lightning and a brewing storm, that start time was delayed an additional 30 minutes. But the big storm never materialized along the race routes, and all three runs started and finished in good order at Crown Center.
This was the 45th year for the race, which drew more than 2,800 entrants for its three distances, and the first year for the UMKC Health Sciences District to be the lead sponsor of the race. Several of the dozen institutions that make up the district also provided the physicians, nurses, students and other health care professionals to staff the medical tent for runners in distress.
The cool weather helped, and just more than 30 runners ended up needing any medical help.
“We had a very light day in the medical tent,” said Margaret E. “Meg” Gibson, M.D., medical director for the Hospital Hill Run and director of the UMKC Sports Medicine Fellowship. “The cool weather definitely was a big factor. However, we still had runners coming in with hyperthermia, high temperatures, and needed immediate treatment. Most presented with fatigue, muscle cramps, needing ice.”
Gibson, who has worked the race for nine years, said 50 to 100 people needing help on race day is more typical. She and her staff were ready for much worse. The medical tent was stocked with cots, ice packs, bandages and even an iced-down tub to treat the worst cases of overheating.
“We had an excellent team of volunteers that provided excellent care,” said Gibson, who practices in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Truman Medical Center Lakewood. “The medical tent would not be a success without their help. In total, we had 16 students, nine residents and fellows from TMC Lakewood and UMKC, 13 nurses from TMC and the community, and two physical therapists from TMC and one from Children’s Mercy Hospital.”
One of the residents, Cassie From, D.O., packed as much as she could into the morning. She ran the 5K before helping staff the tent.
“I have three kids at home, so I’m used to doing more than one thing at a time, fitting things in when I can,” she said Saturday right after the 5K and before any runners came to the tent needing help. “I wasn’t going to be able to do the race Friday evening because I had to work an overnight shift. But when they moved it to this morning, I had a friend sign me up yesterday. So I worked my shift, came here and ran the race, and now I can help in the tent. This also fills a community service requirement for my residency.”
The unique UMKC Health Sciences District is made up of UMKC; its Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies, and Pharmacy; Children’s Mercy Kansas City and Truman Medical Centers; the Kansas City (Mo.) Health Department; the Missouri Department of Mental Health Center for Behavioral Medicine; Jackson County Medical Examiner; Diastole Scholars’ Center; and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.
The Hospital Hill Run was started by E. Grey Dimond, M.D. He also founded the UMKC School of Medicine, which in recent years sponsored the 5K. The UMKC Health Sciences district became the lead sponsor for all the races shortly after the district was founded a year ago.
The race weekend usually draws top runners from around the country, plus many local participants, often from fitness groups. That was the case Saturday for about 15 runners from the Sunday Runday North contingent. They met, stretched, chatted and watched the sky for a while at Crown Center before heading to the starting line.
One member of the group, Matt Kaspar, said this was his first Hospital Hill, and he chose the 7.7-mile race.
“I did a half marathon two weeks ago,” he said, “but this course is more challenging, hillier.”
Perhaps helped by the weather, the division winners in all three races turned in good times.
The first to cross the finish line in the 5K race was Zach Grover, 18, of Lee’s Summit. He won the men’s division in 17:17, followed 13 seconds later by his younger brother, Dylan Grover. Jennifer Butler, 29, of Overland Park, won the women’s division in 22:13. The race had 380 entries.
Zan Johnson, 20, of Olathe, won the men’s division of the 7.7-mile run in 45:12, and Jamie Martens, 42, of Mission, Kansas, won the women’s division in 54:53. That race had 1,004 entries.
An hour and 10 minutes (and 9 seconds) after the starting horn, the half marathon winner crossed the finish line: Austin Bogina, 24, of Arma, Kansas. The women’s division winner, Elle Meyer, 32, finished in 1:21:43. The half marathon had 1,487 entries.
Full race results, along with other information, are available online.