On a chilly, sunny Saturday morning, fans supporting every team in the Big 12 gathered in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, for the Big 12 Run. Competitors could participate in a 1-mile, 5K or 12K run.
“Fans that are in town get to see downtown Kansas City that they may not see sitting in the stands,” said Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission. “We get to show off our city on a beautiful, sunny morning. It’s a social impact when you see all 10 school colors represented. It’s just a way for people to really come together, celebrate their school and celebrate basketball.”
With the Big 12 Tournament almost at its end, the runners shared their thoughts and predictions.
Lisa Joerling and Erica Thomason, Kansas State alumni, have participated in the fun run the past few years.
“Kansas City is both our hometown, so it’s fun to come and enjoy the atmosphere of the crowds and a little friendly competition with all the different schools,” Thomason said. “It was really fun. The first mile is pretty downhill and the rest of it is a crawl back up to the Sprint Center.”
Although Joerling was disappointed with K-State loss on Friday, she thought the Wildcats still had a great season.
“I think the players that stepped in did a great job, and I think they did a great job adapting without [Dean Wade], but it just didn’t work out in the end,” Joerling said. “I think overall [the season] was exciting. I think it was great to see the seniors succeed and make their bucket list.”
Todd Johns, of Blue Springs, Missouri, and Iowa State fan, participated in the 5k run and said the game against K-State was hard to predict.
“It wasn’t really what I expected,” Johns said. “I thought the Cyclones had a chance, but it was a little unexpected. They started really flat and then both teams really struggled to make some field goals. We knew with, probably five minutes left, it was going to come down to the stretch. Whoever had it in the stretch was going to win, and it could’ve been either team.”
Savannah Chambers, University of Kansas alumna, runs the race annually.
“My parents are both avid runners: they find different runs that are fun and tie into things we like,” Chambers said. “This one celebrates basketball and running, so my parents love it. They actually weren’t able to come down to this one, but we do this one every year.”
Her fiance, Dalton Warden, KU alumnus, ran the 5K with Chambers and said KU had a tough season and gave his thoughts on their game against Iowa State this evening.
“I think it’s been pretty rough, our streak ended,” Warden said. “I think K-State deserved it. I don’t think our team’s as good as it has been in the past … I feel like there’s no real leader this year. It was good, I think we trained better this time around. I think we have a chance, I’d rather we play [Iowa State] than K-State if I’m being honest.”