Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Urban Bourbon Half 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.
I recently ran the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon in Louisville, Kentucky and I am still reeling with excitement over such a great race! I love Louisville and I haven’t been there in a number of years, so I was really looking forward to hitting up some of my favorite places while in town (insider’s tip: DO visit Seviche Restaurant if you ever travel to Louisville). This was a quick trip for me – I flew in on Friday morning, ran the race on Saturday, and then flew back home late that afternoon. Still, I was able to pack in a lot of fun.
Packet pickup was held at Louisville Slugger Field, so that in itself made the trip fun! While the ballpark was closed, it was a beautiful day out and it was easy to walk around and peek into the park.
Inside, volunteers cheerfully handed out race packets and participant shirts, which were made of a gorgeous brick-colored long-sleeved dri-fit material. Aside from bourbon, Fleur de Lis was the theme and was nicely patterned on the shirt, featuring highlights of the race itself. Extra shirts were available for exchange, which was nice for me since the size I ordered was a little too big. As the race sponsor, Jim Beam had a table at the expo, where tastings were available for race participants. Who knew bourbon comes in so many varietals? My favorite at the expo was the Basil Hayden’s. It was quite smooth and went down easy!
At the expo I met Corey, a fellow BibRave Pro who was volunteering at packet pickup. Isn’t it fun to meet online friends in real life? You can barely tell us apart in our matching BibRave gear! Though small, I mulled around the expo for a bit before heading to the streets and checking out the downtown area. I was approached at the expo by race director Mike Clemson, who was so nice and so grateful for BibRave’s involvement in the race. While I would never be in contention for them, check out the prizes for the men’s and women’s first place finishers!
Another fun feature of this race was the Urban Bourbon Walk, where race finishers can visit up to seven different establishments after the race on Saturday and receive a special Fleur de Lis cloisonné pin. I might have strong-armed a few of the establishments into giving me a pin a day early. After all, I had a flight home to catch after the race!
Race morning I was up early and anxious to run. I arrived at the venue way earlier than I needed to, but I wanted to make sure to get a close parking spot, plus there was a meetup arranged before the race for several of the BibRave Pros, and I wanted to be sure to be there to meet more of my online running friends. I walked from the parking lot with a few other runners, one of which had run the race in prior years. She warned me about the hills starting at about Mile 7. I was happy to be armed with that information before the race. Did I mention I HATE hills?
While waiting in the queue for the race to start, I saw a familiar face, but I could not figure out how I knew him. After achieving legit stalker status for circling around three or four times, I finally approached and asked where I might know him from. After talking for a few minutes I finally realized he was none other than IronMan World Championship competitor Craig Taylor, a friend of my eldest son’s (he finished KONA this year in a time of 9:19:38). It’s so fun running into people at races!
The pre-race atmosphere was loads of fun with music playing and seemingly relaxed runners enjoying the morning before the race start. As a nice touch, the Kentucky Derby Bugler played My Old Kentucky Home, followed by The Star Spangled Banner, and then the elite runners were on their way. The rest of us inched our way forward and started our run. Just about a quarter mile into the race, someone approached me from behind and asked me if I am The Accidental Marathoner. Why, yes I am! It turns out he and I follow each other on social media. We chatted for a bit and then went our separate ways. He would go on to crush a major PR that day.
The course took us through parts of Louisville with a slow, gradual decline as we headed toward Cherokee Park. I took advantage of the downward slope and kept my speed up, fully aware I would slow down once we hit the hilly areas of the park. Despite the hills, I maintained a fairly steady pace and continued to run at a pretty consistent speed.
The race finished on Liberty Street, just a block or two away from Fourth Street Live!, where the post-race party would be held. This is hands-down the best post-race event I’ve ever experienced! Race participants were treated to food, beer, and samplings of bourbon from around the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Entertainment was provided by the band The Crashers, who had everyone dancing in the streets. The party lasted until 12:30 p.m., which allowed plenty of time to eat, drink, and be merry.
I’ve run several wine-themed races, but never a bourbon-themed one. The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon was a fabulous race and I loved everything about it. Held in one of my favorite places, I will definitely run this race again. The swag, the post-race party, and the race itself were second to none.
Have you ever run the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon? I would definitely recommend this race to anyone. Sign up for next year’s race with a few running friends. You are guaranteed to have a good time!
So far on my 2020 Race Calendar:
March 1, 2020: Tokyo Marathon
I’m linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics! If you’d like to join along, just follow this link for the linkup rules and a list of upcoming topics. Be sure to check out to Kim’s and Zenaida’s blogs, and visit some of the other linkers while you are there!