• Louisville,
    United States
  • October
  • 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

See more of our race!

The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon presented by Jim Beam® is an exciting, one-of-a-kind marathon featuring the beautiful scenery and bourbon for which Kentucky is famous. Starting and finishing in downtown Louisville, race participants will experience a scenic course through the fall foliage in Cherokee Park and past numerous downtown landmarks. After crossing the Finish Line, all participants receive free entry into the best post-race party around. The post-race Urban Bourbon Bash provides participants with free bourbon tastings, beer, pizza and Kentucky burgoo, all while being serenaded by local live music. Join us in Louisville for this amazing half marathon!

Angie Maske-Berka

Iowa, United States
178 212
"All the Bourbon"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Angie Maske-Berka's thoughts:

Saturday October 24, 2015. Louisville, KY. Cloudy, 65(ish) degrees, humid. 8:30 am.

Registration: This was available online, price increased closer to race day. You could also register at packet pickup, but there was no race day registration. Registration included a gender specific long sleeve tech shirt, a bib with timing strip, an Uber discount, and the Race Joy Mobile App.

Expo/Packet Pick up: There were 2 days to pick up your packet at Louisville Slugger Field. Thursday and Friday before the race. For an additional fee, participants could chose to do a VIP packet pick up at the Evan Williams distillery. There was no race day packet pick up. A virtual race bag was sent to runners a few days before, in addition to many informational emails. There was free parking.

There was a small expo at the general packet pick up. Bib numbers were posted, and then you proceeded to the correct volunteer, where you were handed a bib after checking your ID. Then because the race was for people 21 years or older, a wrist band was placed on your wrist, to wear until the post race was over. This band had the tickets for the post race food & drinks. After grabbing a bib and band, then it was off to pick up the race shirt. The shirt was in a sealed plastic bag, volunteers encouraged you check out the shirt station, before opening your bag. At the shirt station they had opened bags, available to look at or try on. If the better fitting size was available, you were allowed to exchange your shirt.

There was some merchandise available to purchase from the local Fleet Feet, where the pace team could also check in. There were race cotton shirts available to purchase. Evan Williams was there with 4 bourbons to sample and a gift basket drawing. There was one table to find out race information. There were a couple of massage tables for free.

*On Friday there was an additional event held at the same location.

Pre-Race: The race started in downtown Louisville, in front of the Yum! Center. There was an arch signifying the start line and a gated off starting area, with one entrance at the back it was about a block long. There were no corrals, but once in the gated area runners were encouraged to line up according to pace, or near a pacer.

Parking available in many downtown area ramps, which you had to pay for.

There were bathrooms open to the runners at 2 nearby hotels, and some port-o-potties set up under the bridge in the area. There were volunteers standing in the area with signs that said something like "How can I help?" There were a couple water coolers with paper cups for water.

There was a gear check set up, it was in a congested area near the one entrance to the gated area. Clear bags were provided and a tag on the bottom of your bib was used to identify your bag. There was no security I saw (doesn't mean it wasn't there.)

There was a trumpet player who played "My Old Kentucky Home" followed by a the National Anthem on trumpet.

Race/Course: The race started and finished in downtown Louisville, and took you through Cherokee Park.

-Surface - the entire course was ran on pavement or asphalt. There were repaired areas or small holes, nothing major.
-Terrain - Downtown Louisville is flat, but the areas around the park are hilly. Nothing too steep, however if you don't train on hills, the course can prove to be a challenge.
-Scenery - There was the pretty park in the fall with the colorful leaves, downtown buildings and an all men's homeless shelter along the course.
-Mile Markers - Each mile was marked with a big sign, there were clocks at these.
-The course had spray painted arrows on the cement
-Volunteers - There were volunteers at each intersection, law enforcement at busy intersection, however some would be clumping and talking amongst themselves.
-Bathrooms - there were a few on the course, but could have been more
-Hydration - There were many stops. A few with water only. Then a few with water and powerade. Each stop had the same design paper cup. They weren't very spread out and it was hard to figure out, unless you heard the volunteer say which liquid they had.
-No food on the course
-Course Entertainment - a couple of DJ's on the course pumping loud music, cops blared music from unmarked patrol cars
-Spectators - very few, but the ones that were out and about were very energetic and cheering for all
-Photographers - only saw them at the finish line
-Some roads were open to traffic, running areas were coned off, but most of the course was closed to cars.
-Timing mats throughout the course.
-Course was open from 8:30 am until 12 pm

Finish / Post Race: The finish line had the majority of spectators, and could be seen with a timing mat, arch, clock, and photographers. Once across the line, a small bottle of water (maybe 8 oz) was handed to you, an Evan Williams bottle shaped medal was handed to you, then a heat sheet wrapped around you.

A quick turn to the post race area, and you walked by the Powerade, chocolate milk, grapes, bananas and Panera bagels. A sign was posted for runners to be respectful and only take one.

After this there was the area, in a field, near the Ohio River, for the post race party. Free to runners, and $20 for non runners. The wrist band each was given at the packet pick up was good for 4 free bourbon samples, one beer, one slice of pizza, and once cup of burgoo. Hi Five Donuts were there selling donuts. Massage was available for $1 per minute. A band was playing cover songs, the lead singer actually sang as he wondered through the crowd.

There were many bourbon brands set up, each under a tent. In the big tent was the main sponsor Evan Williams and the Falls City Beer. The bourbon was spread out, but there was a very long line to get beer. There were a few picnic tables scattered about. The burgoo (soup/stew) and pizza were under the same tent. The pizza "sold out" quickly, but they came back with more pie about a half hour before the party stopped.

There were a bank of port-o-potties in the area, or you could use the hotel. The party wrapped up at 1pm, which gave the last finishers an hour to party, however the music just stopped, but no harsh instruction to leave. The t-shirts went on sale at this time too.

The finishers medal is one of the coolest medals I have seen, it is shaped like a bourbon bottle, but it's then hand dipped in wax. I was told there is one medal that is half dipped or sideways dipped, if you received that, you were comped an entrance to next year's event. The ribbon also has the date on it.

Once the post race was over, there was another event happening in an area called "Whisky Row." Participants could collect up to 5 different pins, from 5 different establishments. Non runners, could get the pins if they purchased a drink with KY bourbon.

Some of the bars were open before the post race ended, and were out of pins before we could claim them, each place only had 250. There was only one place opening at 4pm, but it appeared they were giving out pins before that time. We were only able to claim 2. It was a neat idea, but not fair to everyone as it became a contest.

Overall: Only a few minor things that can be fixed easily, a reasonable price considering all the alcohol, a good challenging course (fair hills) and friendly people. If you can get this race on your schedule, I would recommend you run it.

Check out my blog...pictures and more personal info, and a donut! https://marathang.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/urban-bourbon-half-marathon-review/

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