OCTOBER 18, 2014
Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon With Ivy Funds
RUN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COURSES IN THE MIDWEST
5K HALF FULL RELAY KIDS
May 9, 2013
Kendra Bealmear is passionate about running
By Marla Hanover
Over 40 years. That’s how long Kendra Bealmear has been a runner. This wouldn’t seem so out-of-the-ordinary if she had been running her whole life but Kendra’s story begins with inspiration from her brother, Kevin. In high school, he was a talented and highly motivated cross country runner. At the time of his meets, their mother didn’t drive and Kendra would drive her mom to the meets and stay to watch. Watching Kevin inspired Kendra to start running at the age of 18 or 19. Once she signed up for her first race in the early 1980s, she was hooked.
To date, Kendra has participated in over 237 races, including 29 half marathons and 51 full marathons with 13 of the marathons taking place in Kansas City. She can still remember her first marathon, the Prime Health Kansas City Marathon (now known as the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds) in 1993. Kendra says when she crossed the finish line she remembers the feeling of relief that she made it and she was extremely happy and thankful. “There was also the rush of adrenaline I had that last quarter mile or so, which helped me kick it to the finish,” she said.
She ran the first half of the race with her brother Barry and her brother Keith was ahead of them with the faster runners. It was a cold morning. So cold, in fact, that she remembers a guy in front of them with frost on his cotton sweatshirt. This was also when the race crossed the state line covering both Kansas and Missouri finishing on the Plaza. “I also recall that my brother got pulled over for speeding on our way home from the race,” she said, “but the police officer didn’t give him a ticket when he told him he had just completed a marathon.”
Of the 51 marathons, her favorite one has been the Marine Corps Marathon in DC, which she and her three brothers ran in 2009. “We lost our Mom a few months prior to the race and our Dad approximately 10 months before the race so we dedicated the race to our parents,” she said, “I know our Mom and Dad would have been very proud of us for accomplishing that goal together as Team Cooper.”
In addition to the Marine Corps Marathon, her other favorite marathon is the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon. She and her brothers have been running this race for years; her sister-in-law and cousin to join them. In 2011, Kendra ran the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon as her 50th marathon and shed a few tears when she crossed the finish line. “My brothers were there and I had been working toward that goal for so long,” she said, “it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment.” Everything comes full circle when she runs her 60th and last marathon at the same place where it all began, at the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon. Kendra’s future plans include spending more time on her bike and picking up her tennis racquet.
A Kansas City native at heart, Kendra prefers the local races but has a few out-of-town favorites such as Lincoln, St. Louis and Little Rock marathons. Her marathon wish list includes Big Sur Marathon, Honolulu Marathon, Kona Marathon, Maui Marathon and Pikes Peak Marathon.
Kendra says she loves running. “Running is easy, fairly inexpensive, you can run almost anywhere or any time, it is good for the mind, body and soul and is a great stress reliever.” She has been on a running streak since before Thanksgiving and is attempting for the second time to run a full year without missing a day. Her last attempt ended in September at 300 days when she suffered a hip injury. As long as her body allows it, she hopes to continue running for years.
Kendra has been fortunate over the years and has only experienced a handful of minor running injuries, mostly strains. When extreme pain occurs she always consults a doctor, and rests when it is minor. “I’ve become better at listening to my body and what it is trying to tell me,” she said. During her training for the Frisco 50, which was at the end of April, she trained with her younger brother, Keith. “We would meet up early most Saturday mornings at his house for our long run,” she said. She has also trained with her brother Barry and work friends over lunch. She plans to train for the Waddell & Reed KC Marathon with her cousin Janet Taylor and usually runs solo during the week.
Since 1985, Kendra has kept track of her race stats. She has over 23 pages of results tracking breakdowns of races at every distance, separate tables for favorite races and miscellaneous comments, if she placed in an age group, who she ran with, weather conditions and more. “It is fun to look back at all of that information, which I wouldn’t be able to remember if it wasn’t written down,” she said, “be proud of what you have accomplished.” She recommends keeping race bibs and writing finish time and date on the back to keep track and keep your finisher’s medals out so you can see them when you work out.
What advice would she give new runners? She recommends buying a good pair of shoes and get outside and explore your surroundings in all kinds of weather. “Don’t wait for a nice sunny day. Splash through puddles, make footprints in the snow, look for shade when it is hot.” She also suggests looking around when you run, say hello to other runners, find a comfortable running groove and set goals to keep yourself motivated. Then reward yourself along the way with a new outfit or massage. “Enjoy yourself and be thankful that you can run.”