Sunday, October 21, 2001

Louisville Marathon (Kentucky)

October 21, 2001
Marathon 16, State #10 (Age 33)
Louisville, Kentucky

2001 was the 2nd year for this event.  The Marathon only drew about 300 pre-registered runners, so for the size of the race it was adequately managed.  I stopped by a local running shop and heard there were complaints last year of runners getting lost on the course because of lack of volunteers at the turns.  I had no problems navigating.

There is one word for this course...Flat!  The race starts along the Ohio river for three miles and then reverses back past the starting line where the 10k runners turn for the finish.  The next section of the course heads toward downtown, three more miles past the starting line.  Once you enter the downtown finally the 1/2 marathon runners make their turn around and you see many of them as you head into downtown.  Next is an area where you get to run under a double decked express way along the river.  From here you enter a warehouse district.  After a turn a long straight away through a residential neighborhood, you enter a park.  The park has a few twists and eventually is the turn around point where you get to head back towards the river and run a path all the way back to the downtown area under the double decked bridge again.  From this point you re-trace the road back to the start/finish line.

Since there are so few runners, aid stations are placed every other mile marker.  The volunteers were mostly Cub Scouts.  Provided was both water and red Ultima at every aid station.  There are very few spectators on the course.  Once you pass the turn around point for the 1/2 marathon, they crowd gets very sparse.  At the finish line is massage.  I'm always excited to see massage, but this my experience was hardly worth the wait in line.  At the finish was more water, Ultima and this time bananas and orange slices.

All runners got a long sleeve tee and all finishers got a completion plaque pictured below.  There were also age group awards three deem in age groups of five year increments beginning with 14 and under and ending with 80 and over.  Trophies will be given to top three male and female finishers in all events.

The official race hotel is, call for reservations as early as possible.  The Ramada is immediately off of the I-71 exit.:

Ramada Inn at Zorn
1041 Zorn Avenue
(502) 897-5101

I phoned the week prior to the race and the Ramada was completely full, so I looked for a bed and breakfast in the area.  Approximately 10 minutes from the start I found the Central Park Bed and Breakfast.  They allowed me to return after the race to shower.

Central Park Bed and Breakfast
1353 S. 4th Street
(502) 638-1505 or Toll Free (877) 922-1505



The highlights I found in the area were the Louisville Slugger Museum, $6 for a tour, Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby), $7 for a tour, and less than half an hour south on I-65 is Jim Beam Distillery, tours are free.  Bardstown Road is a highlight to see with lots of eclectic shops and restaurants, many started by the graduates of the local culinary college.

This is a very fast course, no hills!  If you are looking for a Kentucky marathon, this may be your only choice, but rumor has it that in the spring during "Derby Days" a week before the Kentucky Derby there is a Mini-marathon that may promote a 26.2 mile race in 2002.