Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Derby Festival Marathon & Mini Marathon Update

For those of you who are running the half or full Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon (known around these parts as "the marathon" or "the mini") at the end of April: we got a crucial email today! The course has dramatically changed. The race director was nice enough to send me the course map in a jpeg format so I could share it with you:

You can also check it out here

Although the picture you can see is small, you can still get an idea of what the routes are for the mini (blue) and the full (red). We are actually running in an opposite direction of years past! Do you see that green patch at the bottom? That is Iroquois Park, which represented the only hills in the course for the mini. Last year, we ran around 1-2 miles and then ran into the park to conquer the three miles of hills in Iroquois. As you can see, that section has been eliminated for this year's race. From what I can see, the course for the mini marathon will be essentially hill-less this year, and I have mixed feelings about it. Whenever I go on a run and tackle hills, I feel like my run has been so much more worthwhile. On the other hand, this isn't a nice little 5k or 10k. It's THIRTTEEN POINT ONE miles! Not having hills might be a nice break for a race of this size. The marathoners still have to run the hills, but I guess it's "go big or go home?"

In about the middle of the map, you'll see our pride and joy, Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. Between miles 7 and 8, we run around the infield of the track. This feature of the race is not new, I've done it a couple of times. I remember at this point last year I saw my parents, threw my hat to my dad yelling, "DAD! CATCH THIS!" and the hat hitting a stranger, and starting to feel run down. I hit a major wall at mile 9 last year due to stress about taking the bus to the race and not being able to find a bathroom that didn't have a long line behind it. This year that won't be an issue as I will have a helicopter with a bathroom dropping me off at the race site. Not really, but that would be ideal.

Overall, I'm anxious and excited to experience the drastically different race course. Let's hope it will be the best yet!


  1. I have mixed feelings about it too. Of all the parks in Louisville, I like Iroquois the most because the hills go up and come back down pretty quickly. Cherokee is torture to me! And I'm sort of afraid that the long distance covered on 3rd and 4th street is going to be boring. But it will sort of be like a new race I suppose! Perhaps we can meet up :)

  2. The Kentucky Derby and the festival both are fantastic fun and, as a lifelong Louisville, I welcome you to the event and to our fine city. Just keep in mind that there are some things you should do while here and some things you probably shouldn’t, at least if having fun is your motivation. If you really want fun and feel relax then book a Kentucky Derby Rentals