- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
The 2013 Republic Bank Big Hit 1/2 Marathon was my first race over 5K. I was not sure what to think going into this as it was double the mileage I had ran at one time prior to this race. Overall, this was a great half marathon, especially for a first timer.
The course started next to Louisville Slugger Field, home to the Cincinnati Reds AAA affiliate the Louisville Bats. There were some slight adjustments to the course over previous years due to the major road construction known as the Ohio River Bridges Project. The "Big Hit" title is aimed at showing off major attractions to the Louisville area. In this race you run by the Ali Center, named after the great boxer who is from Louisville and resides there even to this day. After passing Ali, the course turns to Main Street and runs by the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, including the 120 foot tall bat that stands out front.
After winding through Downtown Louisville on a rather flat course, the runner turns onto Third Street and heads to legendary Churchill Downs, site of the "Fastest Two Minutes in Sports", the Kentucky Derby. The turnaround near the Downs had a timing mat and free gel packs from GU. The return to downtown puts you by the University of Louisville's Jim Patterson Baseball Stadium and within viewing of the University of Louisville's 62,000 seat Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The next 4.5 miles really do not have any "Big Hits" that are passed, but you do run by the UofL campus and Greek Row, Old Louisville, and many sights of Louisville most people never pay attention to. Near the 12 mile mark, the brand new KFC Yum! Center comes into view, home to the University of Louisville 2013 NCAA Championship Basketball Team. This is an impressive facility that allows you to run next to the Ohio River for the remaining mile. The best part of the run is the final .10 mile when you enter Louisville Slugger Field and run the third baseline into home-plate while your name is being announced on the Stadium's PA system. Results were available on site within minutes of crossing the line.
Throughout the course, aid stations were giving away water, Gatorade, and GU gel packs. Additionally, live bands play throughout the race.
I have not heard of a date for 2014, but have the weekends in October open to run this again. Very good course and an awesome medal.