Second race in Kentucky ever and first Run the Bluegrass. I know people who love this race, so I figured I’d come run it. I knew there would probably be hills, but you really have no clue until you come and run the course itself.
The Expo: Thursday afternoon and 11-830 on Friday with race day bib pick up as well. Plenty of vendors and local stuff to see, which was great. Pick up was at Keeneland Race Course, which is right by the airport. Bib numbers are emailed week of, or you can look them up race day. Shirts/jackets (if you upgrade) are towards the end. Plenty of parking available as well.
Race Distances: half marathon, 7 miler and the Yearling (3.65 miles).
Time: the Yearling starts at 8:50 AM, the half and 7 miler at 9 am sharp.
Race day parking: plan to be there at least 45 min to an hour early just to park. Parking is at Keeneland and you enter through gates 1 and 2. Gate 1 was pretty backed up and I ended up going through gate 2, which took a whole lot less time.
The course: very scenic, be ready for hills. Did I mention hills? The course starts in Keeneland and takes you through the property before heading out onto the roads of Lexington. Be ready for not a whole lot of spectator support, but that’s ok. While on course, plenty of horse farms, distilleries. Weather wise, overcast and 50s/60s with some rain about half way into the race (though nothing heavy). Aid stations on course, though I couldn’t figure out the spacing between them. Aid stations had water and something called SWORD, which I’ve never heard of.
The hills: they’re rolling and they never let up. I’m ok with some hills, but they never let up. Don’t expect a PR on this course. I’m typically 2-2:10 but once I saw the hills the first mile or two, I knew it was going to be a long race. One of the few races where I saw a whole bunch of runners walking because the hills were that crazy. Hill work outs should be your friend in preparation for this race
Swag: best swag I’ve seen in awhile medal wise. The medal had Justify on it and it’s 3D like. You have the option of the standard shirt or upgrading to a jacket, which I ended up doing.
Post Race: lots going on in terms of food trucks and just plain fun. Water, snacks, the starting stalls out. Good overall atmosphere
Overall fun race, still unsure if I want to put myself through those hills again though!