Bealmear is a long-time Kansas City Marathon Participant
Keep on truckin’. That is Kendra Bealmear’s motto when it comes to running. Bealmear will be running the full marathon at this year’s Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds. This isn’t her first marathon, in fact it will be her 55th marathon and many of those have happened right here in Kansas City.
“My first marathon was in 1993, Humana Greater Kansas City Marathon,” said Bealmear. “I ran that year with two of my brothers. It was a beautiful but chilly morning.”
The Humana Greater Kansas City Marathon is the same marathon she will run on October 17. The title sponsor has changed and so has the course. In fact, Bealmear has been participating in the Kansas City Marathon in one form or another since 1984 when the race distance was a 10K. As the event has changed and expanded over the years, she has ran either the 10K, half marathon or full marathon distance.
Bealmear has enjoyed discovering the different parts of Kansas City that she otherwise wouldn’t have known about. The course she likes the least is when the event was the Rib Run and the participants had to run two loops. Her favorite Kansas City Marathon course so far is the current course that she says is outstanding and really showcases the city.
“It is a challenging course but all of the interesting sights and sounds make for a fun adventure,” she said.
Bealmear started running when she was 17 or 18 after being inspired by her brother Kevin who ran cross country in high school. This year she is celebrating 40 years of running and is still inspired by Kevin along with her other brothers Barry and Keith. She continues to train with her brothers and makes racing a family affair by including her cousin, Janet, and sister-in-law, Susan. She also trains with co-workers at Stinson Leonard Street.
Bealmear participates in at least 16-17 races per year, which keeps her motivated. She prefers to run in Kansas City and support her hometown but sometimes she ventures out if a race looks interesting and the price is right. So far her top favorite races are the Kansas City Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Hospital Hill Half Marathon, Lincoln Marathon, and Westport St. Patrick’s Day Run.
She says the Kansas City Marathon is her favorite. “The course is always interesting, the race is well organized, the T-shirts and medals are always cool.” It’s also a race she can run with her family and friends, which makes it extra special.
Where would she love to run? Somewhere warm: Maui Marathon, Honolulu Marathon, Kauai Marathon, Kona Marathon and Florida Key West Half Marathon. The toughest race she has ever participated in was the Fresco 50 Miler in 2013.
“It rained all day and the rails-to-trails path had water up to our knees in some places,” she said. “Luckily, my brother, Keith, and I ran together so we helped each other get to the finish line.”
She tries to run every day at least 2.25 miles and up to 5 miles during the week with her longer runs over the weekend. She also takes a yoga class and does a little weight training. Luck has been on her side over the years and she has had very few injuries. Last year she developed knee issues and had to take a break at the end of 2014 and beginning 2015, breaking her second longest running streak of two years. She has been able to slowly improve after thinking she would never run again.
“Even though my running career is changing dramatically and my days of running marathons are numbered, I will continue to run shorter races for as long as my knees will allow,” said Bealmear.
Bealmear says running is her therapy, her religion and a way to work out problems, like dealing with the loss of her parents. It’s also a time she can spend with family and friends.
She plans to volunteer more at races and has been able to volunteer at several race water stations where she handed out water and offered encouragement, which she says is so much fun.
What advice would she give someone starting out?
Listen to your body. Don’t do too much too soon. Have fun.
By Marla Hanover, Communications & Social Media Manager