Weather smiles on 20th annual Brew to Brew run

This weekend’s 20th annual Brew to Brew run attracted thousands of entrants, who enjoyed near-perfect spring weather for the 40-plus mile Kansas City-to-Lawrence relay.

The conditions “were a dream,” Free State Brewing Co. proprietor Chuck Magerl said. “We’ve seen it all weather-wise.”

The annual race starts at Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, Mo., and ends at Free State Brewery in downtown Lawrence (technically the finish line is just across the river, a cool-down walk away from the brew pub itself). Profits benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Runners have faced every weather condition from snow to high winds to nearly 90-degree temperatures for the race, usually the first weekend in April.

The event has grown from a few hundred runners to more than 4,000 in some recent years. About 3,700 entered this year's race, raising about $40,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, race director Lou Joline said. Joline — who started the race 20 years ago and is retiring as director this year — said Brew to Brew has raised more than half a million dollars for the foundation over the years.

Magerl said the race is a draw for downtown Lawrence. On Sunday — undoubtedly boosted by clear skies and mild temperatures — race-finishers could be seen up and down Massachusetts Street throughout the afternoon.

“Certainly there are a portion of the runners that are Lawrence residents, but the majority of them aren’t, so it’s bringing them into our community and giving them a chance to experience the vibrancy of the downtown area,” Magerl said. “It really does boost that sense of vitality.”

The majority of runners tackle the 43.1-mile race in teams of 10, with each person running about 4 miles, mostly on highways and gravel trails.

But many take on longer legs, and some ultra-runners go it alone.

This year, 37 men and 12 women completed the race solo, according to results from the Kansas City Track Club, which manages the race. Pete Kostelnick was the fastest male solo runner, completing the race in 5 hours, 25 minutes. First place for female solo runners was Amy Clevenger, who finished in 7 hours, 20 minutes.

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