- 13.1/Half Marathon
- Road Race
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This was the second year that I ran the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon. The first time that I did so was in 2016. So it has been a few years and there have been a few changes since then in this race. I will get into that in a little bit. But I loved this race back in 2016 and it did not disappoint in 2019.
The race packet pickup was held at Louisville Slugger Field which is a minor league baseball stadium in downtown Louisville. It is an easy packet pickup was easy. There wasn't a real expo. There was Fleet Feet Louisville present to get your last minute needs as well as some Urban Bourbon merchandise for sale and bourbon tasting. Really, if you wanted to, you could be in and out of packet pickup in 5 minutes. What you got with packet pickup was your race number and red long sleeve race shirt. I did pick up a Urban Bourbon Boco hat and a race shirt from last year for $5.
I did get an opportunity to see some guys i know at the expo including fellow BibRave Pro Corey Queen who is the head of volunteers, Race director Michael Clemons, and Brett Albers who is now a Fleet Feet owner in North Carolina but used to be in Mishawaka, IN. Always great seeing familiar faces at races that are out of town.
While down there, the family did come along and we camped on the Indiana side of the Ohio River. This is a great way of saving some money and also making it easy to bring the family along. It was my kids and wife's fall break from school so that helped as well.
Race morning I drove to Louisville about 30 minutes away. I arrived early so that I could get in an additional 4 miles before meeting up with fellow Bibrave Pro's Stephanie, Lisha, and Linda. I was taking this race easy and just using it as a training run so I wanted to get a few extra miles in and figured it would be easier to do it before, rather than after.
After meeting up with fellow BibRave Pro's, I took my gear to gear check. What I liked about the way Urban Bourbon did gear check. You were able to bring your own bag and didn't need to use a cheap plastic bag. Since the start line and finish line were not at the same location, they made sure to get all the bags back to the finish area for the runners.
The start set up was one of the changes that was made since 2016. The course now starts right in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse and heads east on Jefferson St. to 2nd street. Back in 2016, the course took you directly to Cherokee Park. Now the course runs some around town a little more before going out to the park. Cherokee Park is my favorite part of the race. The hills are tough in this section, but it is beautiful especially with the fall leaves changing colors.
The finish is also different now. You now finish on Liberty street which is only about a block away from the start line. The big advantage of the finish area is that it is right next to 4th Street Live. The post race party is known as Bourton Bash and went until 12:30pm. Participants were able to enjoy samplings of bourbon from a number of Kentucky Bourbon Trail distiller. There was also pizza, beer, and a live bad (The Crashers).
As mentioned earlier, every participant received a free race long sleeve race shirt. This is a nice shirt and I think will be great to do those cooler fall/spring training runs. Also, at the finish you were given your finishers medal which is in the shape of a Jim Beam bottle and the Jim Beam logo in the middle of the bottle spins. Its a great/unique looking medal. Also, just two days after the race, free race photos were available that were already sorted out for you.
Overall, I cant give this race enough praise. It is really my favorite half marathon that I have ran. The race director does a great job putting this race together every year and I always look forward to the opportunity to run it. It is not a fast course with the hills, but it is scenic and a challenge that you should not shy away from. I think the changes the did to the course in the last couple years were the right ones and made the race even better. Aid stations were well staffed and the volunteers were fantastic. This race deserves all the praise that it gets and more.