Race Review: Kentucky Derby Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Kentucky Derby Half (mini) Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

This past weekend, I made the trip out to Louisville, KY to run the Kentucky Derby 1/2 Marathon. One of the few Saturday races I’ve done, I made the trip down Friday via my trusty Rogue. It took a little over 5 hours and since traffic was minimal, it made for a decent drive down. I got in around 3 pm and checked into the Bed and Breakfast I had found. I stayed at Austin’s Inn Place Bed and Breakfast. At $120 a night with a nice queen size room with TV, internet and own bathrooms, I couldn’t complain! It was a nice little place with their own gated parking behind their houses (10 rooms in 2 houses that connect). Austin and his wife Mary were incredibly nice and hospitable: if you’re ever looking for a place, look up this little place for sure!

I walked down to the expo at the convention center (about a mile from where I stayed). Expo was decent size. Good amount of races to sign up for, some vendors and hand outs. You walked in and went right to the area where your number was located and got your bib and gear check bag. Down the line, were shirts and you had the option to exchange shirts if the size was off that you ordered.

Afterwards, I went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and walked around. I didn’t do the tour since I got there at 430 and they closed at 5. I also went a Bourbon tour and found some souvenirs for my dad. I headed back to the pasta dinner at the expo. Pasta with marinara, garlic bread, dessert, salad. Not bad! I also got to meet fellow Bibrave Pro Angie (we really do exist!)

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early. I walked to the start and got to my corral about 10 minutes before the start of the race. As we were waiting (and the clouds were grey and you knew the weather gods weren’t going to cooperate), I was able to hop out and go to the bathroom without missing anything. We starting moving and got a glimpse of the start coming upon us,

We crossed the start and the rain started coming. It was only a drizzle/light rain initially, which I was ok with.  The first mile was in town and we passed the Slugger Museum and made some turns. We passed through a neighborhood, though a little run down, had some awesome people out cheering from one of the churches. As we continued through town, we hit up the first few water stops, which seemed to be about 1.5 miles apart or so. As we pushed through to mile 5, I spotted my fellow Bibrave Pro Angie around mile 5 and hung behind her a bit (close to Spalding University). It was a nice historic part of the city. We then came up on Churchill Downs. Apparently there’s something going on there this coming Saturday?

We got to go through the stadium and around it some. People were stopping for pics and all that good stuff. After we came out the other side and dealt with the underpasses, the half and full marathons split (this as we were at mile 8). The half marathons made off easy as we had some miles sans hills (those poor marathoners). As we trudged along, we saw some of the marathoners come back and run parallel with us. At one point, I saw one of the Ethiopians/Kenyans pull out of the race. About 10 miles in, the rain started picking up. I kept praying for no blisters. It was beyond miserable and wet. We all made it through somehow. Somehow, we made it back to downtown Louisville and YUM stadium. I think I missed the last few mile markers. We got to the point where we made it around the last turn and through the finish. The medals were such a sight for sore eyes

The course was generally flat, though there are some hills involved. the weather wasn’t on our side and I think it kept some of the spectators away, as there were bleachers set up, but no spectators. I missed some of the water stops, but there times were I thought they needed to be on both sides.

The post race led to a lot of people hanging out under the highway underpasses to stay somewhat dry. It was a tad congested and people were backed up once you got to the refreshments. I never got my banana, but I got some bagels and peanut butter crackers. Afterwards, I headed back for my million dollar shower. The B&B owners were super sweet and let me wash my soaking wet running clothes. I did some sight seeing the rest of Saturday and had breakfast Sunday morning before heading back home. While at breakfast, there were some other runners, one of whom placed 3rd overall. At 2:33, it was a rough day in the office. He offered some cool insight into the elites. One knows that the Kenyans and Ethiopians don’t like rain and cold, so he saw 2 in front of him peel off and stop. If they don’t think they’re going to do well, they’ll stop and find another race in a few weeks. For about 5 miles, he kept pace with a Kenyan before that runner peeled off and told him to keep going. If only I was that fast!

This is a definite must do race. Yeah, the rain was miserable, but race organizers can’t do much about that. Take a trip out to horse and bourbon country for sure!!

About drrunner
8 time marathoner, 65 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. BibRave Pro, Doctor and a mix of insanity

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