The Kansas City Marathon Part 2, or, The Great Barbeque Debacle

When we last found our hero, he had just finished his first marathon of the year, set a PR by nearly 10 minutes, shared some heart with 7,000 other runners and nearly killed himself in the process. He was on cloud nine. Nothing could possibly make this moment any better than a customary “free” after-race beer; the BBQ would just be icing on the cake.

Staring into Washington Park with the new-found freedom of not having to run another god-$#&^ step, he took in the scene. There was a band preforming off to the center left… they were just background noise though… perhaps they could casually be enjoyed later; first and foremost would be locating the two places to spend the bib tags. Easy enough, perhaps, but the immediately obvious BBQ tent to the far left had no patrons and prominent prices displayed with a crew of moderately restless workers behind the counter. Could that be the free BBQ? Probably not – it was likely a sadly misinformed vendor watching next to no sales accumulate thanks to the free BBQ at some other vendor. The runner feels kinda bad for them, but looks on…

A little further down the line there is what must be the beer facility, but even this is a slight question mark; its quite unbusy. Well that’s gotta be it… approaching it does indeed appear to be the place as there are 3 poured beers awaiting to be taken. There is a Boulevard truck parked behind this tent, but the three beverages before him are of a color and head unfamiliar; these are not Boulevard brews. This is not a huge disappointment (although it is) though because this was the largely expected result of further running commercialization and popularity. In 2007 the runner was offered THREE Boulevards of CHOICE. Simply unheard of now. In 2008 and 2009 there were, yes, Boulevards. But what was this drivel? Hogspit? uh… free beer? “What beer is this?” the runner asks. “Miller 64” comes the reply. Ah. Never had that one, but no matter. It’s an after marathon beer and it tastes good! (all things considered). So, yes, fine. Beer is beer here. Ok… so supposing… let’s find this BBQ.

Stupidly the runner returns to the BBQ tent and sheepishly asks, knowing a complete question likely isn’t required, they’ve probably been getting this all day… “where is the … yeah.” They’ve answered this question before. Across the way is a red wooden makeshift building with BBQ advertised and once again, prominently displayed (oUtRaGeouS!!!) prices?? Heading over there, there appears to be 4-5 runners milling about alternately studying the menu, staring at the ground, the sky, slowly walking away, and here’s one or two… getting a sample. Hmm…. ok – let’s have a sample the runner thinks? But it dawns on him quickly enough with the fragments of comments and actions here — these are the main courses.

The runners are being handed, tossing in the trash, tossing back (down the hatch), or studying thimbles full of containing some sort of meat which may be coated in a sauce. Almost laughing and with a chuckling straight face the runner hands over his bib ticket as an experiment… knowing, but not really believing until it happens what will be handed back…. but it is. A plastic shot glass of something purporting to be BBQ. It’s quite comical. It’s not even enough to get a taste. Well whatever. Not even caring really… it was just icing on the cake after all. But seriously? What the $#&* just happened here?


Ok let’s get serious for a moment. What theĀ $#&* did just happen here?

That’s the motto – and they’re sticking to it. It was for 2012, and now this is the 2013 model. It works in many ways… you could even not have free BBQ at the finish line — just have some directions and information and possibly free samples from Arthur Bryants, Gates, Oklahoma Joes… wherever. But don’t make this the motto and THEN put a damn bib ticket on the bib which is good for a thimble! It was a joke! Now I’m going to take the high road and assume there was just a miscommunication. But it is possible I assure you. The Hospital Hill Run does it every year. Somehow that race, which costs half the price, provides a LOT of race goodies, AND manages a BBQ SANDWICH, + coleslaw! You think I’m kidding? Check this out!

This marvelous photo from June 2010 depicts the delicacies which can be enjoyed at Hospital Hill. I forgot the beans too! A sandwich! Beans! Coleslaw! TWO BOULEVARDS!!! WOW!!!!

Those were the days. Gone is the Boulevard from Hospital Hill too (they’ve gone to Michelob Ultra) but they still have the BBQ. That’s Three Little Pigs BBQ btw… so shout out to them.

Here’s a shot from the November Runner’s World. Page 28.

Standard Fare.

But here’s what it *COULD BE*


The TITLE event for the Paris of the Plains, The City of Fountains… of which no one from out of town has heard before. What they HAVE heard of though is Kansas City BBQ. Do us proud please!

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