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About the Race

From the Kickoff to Kinnick 5K (K2K) website

“Kickoff to Kinnick was created in 2014 to provide support for the University of Iowa Dance Marathon. Each year the amazing students of the University of Iowa dance for 24 hours to raise funds to support children diagnosed with cancer at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. In it’s 27 year history, Dance Marathon has raised $31,810,826.12 all For the Kids! Kickoff to Kinnick 5K is a run/walk finishing on the 50 yard line of historic Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, IA….”

I remembered from reading race recaps from Kim at Running on the Fly that she’d run the Kickoff to Kinnick 5K in previous years and that the race benefited children diagnosed with cancer at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. As an avid college football fan, I loved that it finished on the 50-yard line of University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium which is located right next to the hospital.

When Kim mentioned that she’d be in the area on the weekend of October 2nd for the University of Iowa game against the University of Maryland and planned to run the Kickoff to Kinnick 5K virtually, I jumped at the chance to join her. Kim and I schemed for her to come to my house so we could run together!


Why I Jumped at the Chance to Run this Race

ESPN College GameDay, a two-hour Saturday morning TV show, provides the latest update on all things college football from the day’s predictions to human interest stories. One of my favorite human interest stories appeared in 2017 while my husband and I were watching the live broadcast from the Virginia Tech campus. We learned about a new tradition at the University of Iowa football games where between the first and second quarters, Hawkeye fans in Kinnick Stadium turn to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and wave to the sick children and their families watching from the upper floors of the towering hospital.

As the story unfolded on the big screen, there were few dry eyes in the crowd. Because Iowa had an away game and there’d be no wave for the children, the ESPN announcer asked the crowd to assume the honors and wave. It was truly a privilege to fill in for the Hawkeye fans.


Having the opportunity to run a race benefiting the children in the very hospital we waved to four years earlier brought me full circle and I felt drawn to register. Running the race with Kim made it all the more fun!


Packet Pickup / Delivery

With virtual races, packet pickup has become as easy as checking the mail and has made me quite spoiled. The K2K race packet included a shirt, bib, finisher’s medal, and collapsible water bottle which was delivered the day of the race.


Race shirt front and bib (I love that I was given the choice to order a women’s cut)…


Race shirt back…


The Course

I chose a very flat section of the W&OD Trail which included out-and-backs in opposite directions from our starting point. The route would include one road crossing and sharing the trail with many other runners and cyclists enjoying the perfect fall weather.

The following elevation chart makes the course look extremely hilly; however, when the hills are squished into a 3.1-mile chart they look a lot steeper. In fact, this course wouldn’t even qualify as rolling hills and our total elevation gain was only 53 feet.


And We’re Off!

At 10:12 AM after a 3/4-mile warmup walk to the trail, Kim and I started our race at mile marker 27.5 on the W&OD Trail. It was a delightfully crisp fall day with the temperature hovering around 59° as we started to run. We headed east for just over a half mile to our first turnaround. Once back at the starting point we continued to head west for another mile to our next turnaround.


Our paces were very compatible as we chatted nonstop and even our ponytails were in sync! Note: Kim was exhausted from an early morning flight and staying up late for the football game the day before which certainly helped me keep up with her!


About a quarter way into our third mile we stopped to take a picture at Bill’s and my bench and I stopped my Garmin (affiliate link).


Had this been a live race, I wouldn’t have stopped to take pictures along the course and certainly wouldn’t have stopped my watch, but I opted to make an exception since we wouldn’t be reporting our times back to the race officials. My time without stopping my watch was 32:29 (10:28 pace) and my moving time was 27:26 (8:50 pace). My splits were…

  • • Mile 1 – 9:04
  • • Mile 2 – 9:08
  • • Mile 3 – 8:29 (13:27 including stop)
  • • Final .1 mile – 7:06 pace


Post-Race Fun

After the race, Kim and I did a cool-down walk home and even stopped to acknowledge the children in the hospital with a wave.


Back home, we chilled while waiting for the breakfast casserole I’d made to bake – post race refreshments included a breakfast egg casserole, freshly made fruit salad, bagels, and Gatorade.


Later in the day, after the mail had been delivered, I had my husband take a picture for #MedalMonday on Instagram


Final Thoughts

After a year and a half of running the occasional virtual race, I didn’t expect to register for another, hopeful that that only live races would be in my future. There’s always the exception to the rule and running the K2K was for such a good cause that I couldn’t resist signing up. Running the race with Kim was just icing on the cake!



  • • What organization has touched you most as a beneficiary at a race you’ve run?
  • • Do you coordinate your outfit with friends when running a race together? ~ I had considered wearing Iowa black and gold, but decided to represent my alma mater in maroon and orange since I’d first had the opportunity to wave to the sick children while on the Virginia Tech campus.
  • • How many virtual races have you run? ~ This was my sixth virtual race.


Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the blue product link and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for referring you. You will pay no more or less for the product; however, Amazon will show their gratitude for my referral by paying me.