WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Drivers may have to take detours in and around downtown Wichita Sunday. Police will close more than a dozen roads to protect runners in the annual Prairie Fire Races.

Around 1,800 runners are expected to run either a marathon, half-marathon or the 5K Sunday morning into the afternoon.

The course starts in Old Town and heads east, almost to Edgemoor, before going west to 13th and McLean and then wrapping around to the starting point. One time around is 13.1 miles. Two times is the full marathon of 26.2 miles.

(Courtesy WichitaSports.com)

Road crews will begin setting the course at 3 a.m. Races start at 7:30. Police officers and volunteers will be at intersections to control traffic along the route.

“People traveling in the core of the city should plan to avoid the race route or face potential travel delays,” Tonya Atta, Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission vice president, said in a news release. “For everyone’s safety, please obey the road closures. Even though you don’t see a runner, we have volunteers scattered throughout that we are also trying to protect.”

The barricades will come down after marathon runners have cleared an area on their second loop. The course will close at 2:30.

“It takes hours to set the course, and it takes hours to remove all of the barricades,” Atta said. “We ask that everyone be patient with the process.”

She said that 1,753 runners from 33 states, Canada and Ireland, have signed up so far. People can still sign up, so Atta thinks the final number will be closer to 1,800.

“That would put us 10% over 2021 and 30% over 2020 registrations,” she said. “However it is still down 30% from 2019 and pre-COVID participation numbers of 2,600.”

Crossing Douglas

If you need to cross Douglas before 7:30 a.m. Sunday, use Broadway, Washington, or Hillside.

Once police officers arrive for their assignment, the following intersections will also open for north- and southbound traffic: Hydraulic, Grove and Oliver.

Schedule

  • Saturday, Oct. 8: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Packet pickup at Wave, 650 E. 2nd Street, and on-site registration available
  • Sunday, Oct. 9:
    • 7:50 a.m. 5K and Friendly 5K start
    • 8:50 a.m. 5K awards inside Wave
    • 10 a.m.  Half-marathon awards inside Wave
    • 10:50 a.m. Entrance to the 2nd loop closes for marathoners
    • 11:30 a.m.  Marathon awards inside Wave
    • 2:30 p.m.  Course closes