For decades, the River Run was the most prominent running race in the Wichita community.
While it is still one of the major races for competitive runners during the year, the River Run has now shifted its focus to serving families.
The River Run on Saturday morning in downtown Wichita will still have the 10-kilometer race, starting at 7 a.m., as its marquee race. But organizers have expanded their emphasis on the 2-mile family walk and a tot trot for children.
“Just like with everything we do with Riverfest, we try to make it family-friendly and something the whole family can participate in,” said Meghan Doyle, the community engagaement director for Wichita Festivals. “With kids being out of school, we want to give them something they can do as well as keep our proud tradition alive.”
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Overall entries have slightly dipped compared to previous years. Even though the size of the running community in Wichita has skyrocketed, so have the number of races in the area.
That has been a challenge for the River Run, but Doyle was pleased with the numbers for this year’s race. Online registration has closed, but interested runners can still sign up for a race on Saturday morning.
“We’re staying pretty steady with the numbers and that’s actually really good in today’s climate,” Doyle said. “There are so many different runs and options for runners, it’s nice to be able to stay steady and still be a great option for Wichita runners.”
Doyle said the River Run still wants to uphold its tradition of being one of the top races for competitive runners. The 10-kilometer course, primarily adjacent to the Arkansas River, will be similar to last year’s with the minor adjustment of taking runners further north on McLean to go near places like Botanica and Cowtown.
There will be a runners’ village, live music, a post-race pancake feed, and a hot air balloon launch at the start of the race.
“This is the 46th straight year we’ve had a River Run, so there’s so much tradition behind it,” Doyle said. “We really want to maintain that and we’re hoping people look at this as something they can do with their family together. We really have something for everybody in the family, whether they’re a runner or not.”
The 46th River Run
- 10-kilometer race, 7 a.m.
- 2-mile wheelchair race, 8:25 a.m.
- 2-mile run, 8:30 a.m.
- 10-kilometer awards ceremony, 8:45 a.m.
- 2-mile family walk, 9:30 a.m.
- Tot trot, 10:45 a.m.