- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
See more of our race!
This was my first time running the Urban Bourbon Half and my first trip to Louisville, so I went in for the VIP packet pick-up at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience which included cocktails, snacks, and a tour of the distillery. There were no lines and I got a drawstring backpack, nice metal water bottle, as well as my bib and the wristband for the after race party in what might be record time! It was very different from your typical race expo but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Race morning was easy as well. I stayed within easy walking distance and the race didn't start until 8:30 which I liked. There was no line for gear check when I got there (about 45 minutes early) and the volunteers were even nice enough to get my bag back out for me when I realized I had forgotten the baggie I brought to put my phone in. The starting corral was a little difficult to get into as there were no side entrances and you could only go in through the back. As everyone was getting lined up, a trumpeter played My Old Kentucky Home and the National Anthem which was pretty cool.
Though there were no corrals by time and about 3,000 runners I was impressed that everyone seemed to do a really good job of lining up near the pacers and there was really no jostling and passing in the first mile like you sometimes find.
The course was beautiful. We ran through downtown and then through Cherokee Park which was very hilly but the fall leaves totally made up for it. If you are used to hills the course was probably not all that challenging. I don't have a lot (or really any) of hills where I usually run so I struggled. The cool weather helped as well though the humidity did pick up towards the end. There was one hill near the middle that was much more difficult than the rest (which I had seen on the elevation profile) so I was glad that the finish of the race took us back into flat downtown!
The aid stations were plentiful and a few had Powerade in addition to water. I do wish they had different cups for the different beverages, but there was usually a volunteer letting you know which was which.
The miles were all well marked and there were timing clocks at each which was a nice touch.
At the finish there were volunteers handing out medals and big tables with water, powerade, bananas, chocolate milk, and Panera bagels. They also had heat sheets available which I appreciated because I started to feel cold shortly after running!
There were a lot of porta potties at the finish so there was no wait time. There was also an awesome party! In addition to bourbon tastings, there was a band playing cover songs, beer, pizza, and burgoo (a Kentucky soup/stew) and a donut truck! You had to pay for a donut (which I did lol) but the rest were free. The beer line was pretty long and they ran out of pizza, but they got more pizza before the party was over and both issues were addressed via Facebook by the next day which I thought was fantastic.
When the party was over there was an additional Bourbon Walk with participating restaurants/bars on whiskey row where you could collect 5 pins. This was apparently only the second year doing this and each establishment only received 250 which was not enough to meet the demand. From the sounds of things the number of people looking for the pins was up dramatically from last year and will be something addressed in the future.
To top off the fun weekend, there was even a free yoga class at the Galt House Hotel on Sunday morning which I was able to do before I hit the road home!
Overall, this race is probably my favorite I have done and was the perfect travel race. The race was well run and all the other events for the weekend just put it over the top. I hope to go back next year!