“Disclaimer: I received a free entry into the Kentucky Derby Festival Half Marathon 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!” Check out my BibRave Review here!
Saturday April 25, cloudy, 50, rain. 7:30 am. Louisville, KY
Registration: Available online and with a paper application to be capped at 18,000 runners.There was a full marathon, half marathon and marathon relay. There was also a bib transfer program for $20 if you couldn’t run. If you missed the registration deadline, you could pick up a charity bib at the expo for $125, available to 250 people. Included with your fee was a bib with timing chip, gender specific tech shirt, and a prefilled (gear check) bag of flyers and promotional items.
Since I was registered through Bibrave, I can’t recall the fee, I think in the $80 range.
Expo: Was held at the Convention center in downtown Louisville. There was pay parking available in ramps an on the street. The expo was held on 2 days, as there was no same day packet pick up. Bibs and shirts were separate from the vendor area.
The expo was set up so you had to follow a maze like system to exit the exhibition hall. There were many vendors selling things from clothing, race entries to showers.
Pasta Party: $20 ticket for dinner. Included were marinara pasta, alfredo pasta, salad, bread, and derby pie. You could also get a free beer, Mich Ultra or Budweiser. Also included was a Louisville Slugger muddler and a pasta scoop.
I traveled to this race, and the pasta party just seemed like an easy answer to dinner. However not a huge fan of pasta with sauces. I prefer a bland pasta before a race. The derby pie was delicious. I also met up with Pro Christine.
Pre-Race: Parking available in ramps for $5 near the start/finish area. Gear check available with provided clear bag. Many port-o-potties available on side streets to the corrals. There were 7 corrals, preassigned on your bib, according to submitted time. Not sure if there were any special announcements of if the National Anthem was played. My corral just started moving forward and we started.
I met Pro Josh before the race. I was excited for a great race as Enter Sandman, by Metallica was playing on the sound system as I crossed the start line. I imagined I was the Hawkeye semi, crushing the opponent.
Race/ Course: The race snaked through downtown Louisville, passing by notable landmarks (Louisville Slugger, Churchill Downs, University of Louisville)
- Paved roads, some potholes. Asphalt was slippery with the rain, especially the painted areas.
- All miles marked with a banner
- Water stops in blue paper cups, Blue Powerade stops in a different blue paper cup
- Many stops with oranges, but couldn’t tell if they were all affiliated with the race
- MarathonFoto on the course
- Flat – steepest incline / decline was going through tunnels
- Energetic spectators
- Volunteers at all intersections
- Pacers for the Full
- Medical tents on the course
- DJ’s on the course
Finish / Post Race: The finish was well marked with an arch, the announcer was calling out names. Once done, you could grab a mylar blanket, then you were given your medal, (different for each distance) and told to keep moving. Then there were cups of water, bottles of blue Powerade, then a short walk to food. Bananas, Sun Chips, Belvita, bagels, peanut butter crackers and chocolate milk. The area was super crowded, a combination of people staying under the bridge to stay dry and limited space due to construction.
There was an open field with a band playing on the stage, and a beer tent to redeem a free Michelob Ultra.
Overall: This is a great race, you get to pass by so many city landmarks, the spectators are great, the volunteers are friendly and the course is flat.
Personal: I was ready to race a half again. I left my music at home, ran with my Go Pro. It was also a great temp, but the rain picked up near mile 10 or so. I started too fast, but was keeping that pace. I realized I should slow down, but I think when I stuck with the 4:30 marathon pace group to do so, it was too slow. Then about mile 7 I needed to use the bathroom, so that slowed me down a bit too. Instead of stop, and wait, I just kept moving. I finished with a 2:13. Not my best, not my worst. It felt good to run this distance again, but I need to work on actual training and pacing.
I also wish I had more time to spend as this race was just one of the events leading up to the Kentucky Derby.