• 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
177 212
"Come for the race, stay for the bourbon"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Angie Maske-Berka's thoughts:

The 2017 event was held on Saturday, October 21st in Louisville, KY. It was a great day for running, cool start in the 50's, sun making appearance, and warming to the 70's for post race. Race started at 8:30 am.

Registration: This was available online, with a schedule posted with the price increase dates. Race is open to those 21 years of age or older. No race day registration, but could register at packet pickup. Included with registration was a bib with timing chip, long sleeve-gender specific - tech shirt, bourbon bash wrist band, finishers medal and virtual event bag. The RaceJoy app was available to track runners.
*I really liked the logo and design of this year's shirt. There was an issue with the original shirt vendor getting them done on time, so they quickly made plan B happen. However, I wore my shirt once, and already have 2 snags.

Expo/ Packet pick up: Packet pick up was held at an Arts Center. No race day pickup, so had to get your bib the Friday before. The pickup was open until 8pm. There was plenty of free parking. You could register at packet pickup. When you arrived there was a board with bib numbers, they were not emailed ahead of time. Runners looked up their bib, then waited in line to get to the bibs and shirts. ID's were checked to get the bourbon bash wrist band attached to your wrist. From there you could buy race merchandise, shop the running store, sample Jim Beam, or pre-purchase an etched bottle of bourbon.
-Someone else could grab your stuff, they needed a copy of your ID or race registration, however they couldn't get your wrist band.
*This space was very cramped, but once again they had to go to plan B with a packet pick up location, as plan A was being used for a sporting event. I hope they get to a more spacious venue for next year. Also a good problem to have, lots of participants!

There were some options for a pre-race pasta dinner. They ranged in price from $20 to $45.

Pre-Race: Parking available in the ramps around town. Port-o-potties were lined up in the finisher party area, which was about a block from the start. There was a large starting area, but no sectioned corrals. There were pacers, and signs on the sides to encourage runners to line up near those times. There was one entry point in the back, get there late and you are fighting through the crowd.
-The National Anthem was played by a trumpeter, who then played the sounder that is played when the Kentucky Derby is started.

Race/ Course: The race is sort of a loop, running down Whiskey Row, with the center section in Cherokee Park, ending up running by the Louisville Slugger Museum.
-Elevation: There are 2 significant hills in Cherokee Park. I feel it's a nice course with changing elevation
-Terrain: Paved. There are your typical spots to watch out for, cracks in the asphalt, no major issues.
-Photographers: They were near the start and finish and a few on course. Pictures were posted online & sent via email a few days later, free for download.
-Aid Stations: - Each station had water and Powerade, both in paper cups. Powerade was always second. There was no confusion which liquid you would get. No food or gel on course. Advertised bathroom at each aid station, but I didn't have to use, so don't recall seeing them.
-Volunteers: Lots on the course, cheerful. Law Enforcement officials at all major intersections.
-Entertainment - Several DJ's on course, a small string band on top of a hill in the park
-Course markings: Each mile was marked with a sign and there were arrows painted on the streets directing runners.
-Spectators: Not a lot of spectators, but any place a family or friend could get, there they were with a sign for their favorite runner. A guy on a bike with HUGE speakers pedaled through the course, offering donuts at one point.
Medical: There was a medical stop just before climbing the first big hill in the park

Post race/finish: The finishers arch was also the starting arch, so it was easy to find and cross the final timing mat. A volunteer handed you a medal. There were bottles of water and Powerade. There was a finisher picture area set up.
-On the turn to the walk to the Bourbon Bash was the finisher food. Bananas, bagels, chocolate milk.

Bourbon Bash: This is the official post race party. This is open to all, however to imbibe in the spirits everyone needed a wrist band. This was included in race entry or available for $30 to non runners. The wrist band had a ticket for - 1 beer, 4 bourbon samples, 1 burgoo, and 1 pizza slice. These tickets were not policed in that you could give them to others, however you did need to turn in one to receive product. The lines were long, but only because the weather was so nice. The Louisville Crashers were the live band and did an excellent job! There was race merchandise available for sale too. The party closed at 1pm.
-There were 2 beer choices, including a Kentucky bourbon barrel ale of 8.2%
-There were more than 4 bourbon sampling stations, and there was a station mixing bourbon drinks, and a moonshine stop
-The pizza was from a local shop, they kept bringing fresh boxes as they would continuously run out

Bourbon Walk: local restaurants and bars were in on the race too, offering pins to those who made purchases at the selected establishments.
*I was having too much fun at the Bourbon Bash and forgot about this.

Other: I mentioned at the expo you could pre-purchase an etched bottle of bourbon. This was done at the Jim Beam Stillhouse. The idea was those who pre-purchased would have their personalized, etched bottle done after the race. They were keeping up with results and to make the bottles as people finished. I could not pass this up, and pre-purchased the bottle. The real story - they had more interest in this than expected, so they were way behind, and my bottle was not finished when I went to pick it up. This is really cool and no fault of the race, so I hope they get it ironed out for next year.

My race: I had one goal...finish the race before hotel checkout time. I was staying right at the finish line, so I would have a small window to cross the finish line, grab a bagel and get a shower, then get my bags to my car and return to the bourbon bash. I kept this time in my head the entire time, and started near the 2:45 pace group so I wouldn't start too fast... well that didn't last and I was with the 2:30 pace group... and you know the story... that didn't last.... so I just went. However, mile 7 happened, which is when the hills in the park happen. My legs just felt dead...they were done...but I kept moving forward. I was also using the aid stations for my fueling...but because the Powerade was second, it made for a process of holding my water cup. Anyway, I could feel myself slowing as I hit mile 12, I knew I would make it in time, but I didn't have much left. I came to the finish line at a time of 2:18, even jumped (sadly it's not what the photographer picked up) and got my medal and water, stood in line for a finisher picture, walked through the food, and then walked to my hotel room. There was someone starting to clean it - DANG! I had enough time as I called for an extension, so I talked her out of the cleaning, grabbed a shower and made it to the party. So I will call my race goal a success!!

Overall: What a great event! They made plan b work for a couple situations. Beyond some simple things like switching the Powerade and water, the running portion is great - you can easily get from start to finish. The post race party is a great time, highlighting bourbon yet enjoying your accomplishment! If my schedule permits, I will run this again!

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