Home > Uncategorized > Chasing the Bourbon Derby Half-Marathon

Chasing the Bourbon Derby Half-Marathon

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Once a year a group of my childhood friends and I head away for a long weekend to partake in some food, craft beer, baseball game and a little bit of culture. This year we made our way to Kentucky and took in the cities of Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky and ticked the state off our bucket list of states to visit. The past several trips, my buddy Matt and I have also completed a race while on the trip ranging from a 5K in Pittsburgh to the Flying Pig Half-Marathon in Cincinnati. This year, our trip coincided with the Bourbon Derby Half-Marathon in nearby Paris, Kentucky so Matt and I made our way to the starting line yesterday morning for the race.

The race started bright and early at 7:30 AM which was a blessing in disguise given the weather and rather hot racing conditions. Matt is a local Bluegrass Runners member and was chatting with some other runners who noted the race was hilly and in the sun for a good chunk of the race; and they were not kidding.

The course was one of the most beautiful half-marathons I have tackled running past miles of farmland, huge mansions and horse barns, horses running free and some of the most idyllic American countryside you can imagine. In the 8th mile you ran past a fountain with a massive, impressive horse barn off in the distance behind it which made for one of the finest backdrops I have seen. I’m not much of a horse enthusiast, but seeing horses running free behind acres of fencing really was quite a sight and made the race aesthetically quite appealing.

The sun shone bright overhead and at race time the temperatures hovered at 80 degrees. The whole course was a challenging mix of hills that simply put didn’t seem to ever stop. Just as soon as you climbed one rolling hill and made your way down the other side you were greeted with another hill. About half-way through the run I made the decision to dial back a bit having just come off another half-marathon preceded by a marathon three weeks ago and wanted to just enjoy the race and finish. I could feel I had little in the tank and the mixture of the heat and hills took a rather tough toll on me out on the course.

The race support was absolutely dynamite with all turns well marked and volunteers handing out water and a local energy drink Swords along the way. Even though, like the runners, the volunteers were baking in the heat they handled their duties at each stop with a smile and a push to keep chugging along. The people who partook in this race also were a great group and it was nice pairing up with runners up and down each of the hills encouraging each other along.

Coming into the finish line, a great crowd of locals cheered you into the finishing chute as you made your way past one more farm complete with cows and a barn. The supporters cheered each and every runner into the finish line and a post-race setup of water, fruit, granola bars and local goetta sliders helped runners refuel to their desire.
I finished the Bourbon Derby Half-Marathon with a time of 2:09:38 or 9:54/miles. It was a much slower than normal going for me but with the heat and hills coupled with muscle fatigue from all the recent long runs, I was glad to just hoof it into the finish line and grab my finisher’s medal. I have a couple weeks off until my next long run to allow for some recovery time and will be looking to race some shorter races soon.

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