Tuesday, August 5, 2014
History of Cliffhanger
Each autumn for 29 years Kansas City runners look forward to a special race on Cliff Drive in the historic Northeast. The first Cliff Hanger took place in 1985, starting at the Concourse on Gladstone Boulevard. Over the years, the 5K and an 8K race has been staged on several courses in the Northeast area including the streets near the Concourse and Cliff Drive. In early years the race ended with a tough uphill at the Kansas City Museum. One of the high points was the years when local restaurants provided post race food at the awards ceremony on the grounds of the Kansas City Museum. The popular Italian Festival was often the same weekend.
The race has always drawn runners and their friends and families from all over the metro KC area, making it a great way to showcase the Museum district and Cliff Drive. The 2008 race was the first in many years to attract more than 700 runners and was a great introduction to the new renovations on Cliff Drive that make the route even more scenic.
Over the years the race has focused on giving back to the Northeast. The race was started as a fundraiser for the Assumption Church pre-school and the UMKC school for the handicapped. Organizations that have benefited from the run include a preschool, food pantries, and the Gladstone Elementary School.
In 2008, Neighbor To Neighbor, became the beneficiary. Northeast Neighbor to Neighbor (NNN) provides financial and other support services to the medically underserved residents of the Historic Northeast neighborhoods of Kansas City, Missouri.
Jerry Morrison, a long time presence in the KC running community was the first race director, and continued until 1996. After Jerry’s tenure the Kansas City Track Club took over the race with Lou Joline another well known Kansas City runner and race director managing the first KCTC race. For the past 18 years the Kansas City Track Club has continued to sponsor the Cliff Hanger Run.