Monday, April 29, 2019

The Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon - The Race

Last weekend I completed half marathon #52, the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon.  Kentucky is the 12th state that I have completed a half marathon in and I actually registered for this race back in September 2018 when registration was at it's lowest.  I was in a car accident at the beginning of April and have yet to really run, luckily the course time limit for the half marathon is four hours, so I knew that I could completely walk the course and still finish before the cut-off. 

There wasn't a shorter distance that I could downgrade to, so it was either walk the half marathon in 2019 or come back another year.  I loved this race so much that I probably will be back to run it again, but I REALLY wanted to check another state off my list in 2019 so I didn't give up despite knowing my finish time would be very, very slow.

The Expo:
The race expo was held at the Kentucky International Convention Center, which is in downtown Louisville.  I picked up my packet at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, which was 30 minutes after the expo opened.  Honestly, there wasn't anything new that caught my attention so we were in and out in 20 minutes or less. 

Why you should run this race:
  • Distances include the half marathon, marathon, and marathon relay.
  • Walker-friendly, really!  A lot of races state this but then you find yourself being one of only a few walkers and the finish line is already packed up when you cross the timing mat, if the timing mat isn't packed up yet.  I was never alone on this course and I was surrounded by talkative, friendly runners.  It was the confidence boost I needed after having my training completely derailed!
  • Pre-race communication was timely and not repetitive.  Any question I had leading up to the race was answered with one of their emails, but I also never felt inundated with emails either. 
  • If you stay downtown close to the start/finish, there will be so much to do within walking distance. The expo is easily walkable.  A wide-variety of restaurants, museums, and shops are all nearby.  It was so nice to just leave the car parked after the four hour drive from St. Louis!  With so many options so close together, you could also just fly in to Louisville and cab/Uber/shuttle to your downtown hotel and not even need a car! 
  • The race starts and ends near Louisville Slugger Field and ends up taking you through a wide-variety of neighborhoods.  You pass through the campus of Spalding Unviersity as well as the University of Louisville. You run into Churchill Downs, under the track, and around the infield.  Then you cross the finish line as spectators cheer, inspiring music plays, and volunteers greet you with a smile and your medal.

  • There were corrals, but we all just merged into one wave of runners once the race started. 

  • Pacers were available for both distances. 
  • LOTS of parking garages available downtown for race day.
  • Post race snacks include chocolate milk, Powerade, bananas, bagels, chips, peanut butter crackers, and squeezable apple sauce.
  • Plenty of porta-potties at the start and finish line and the pre-race instructions gives you the exact location of all of them.
  • Plenty of water, Powerade, and porta potties on the course too!
  • Plenty of volunteers and a large police presence. 
  • Music throughout the course.
  • Louisville is a beautiful city and we found that the locals were friendly and very helpful.
  • Any time you finish a race and then immediately wonder when you can come back, that's a good sign!
  • The half marathon medal features the Louisville Slugger Museum, which you run by in the first mile.  We were able to tour this museum the day before the race, but more on that in another post. 

Last year in Nashville my obsession with murals started.  I ran/walked past several murals on the course in Louisville but then we went on a bit of a journey to see how many more we could find during our stay. Stay tuned for my next blog post coming later this week: The Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon - The Rest.  

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