Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bourbon Derby (Paris, KY) Half Marathon Report

If you're a runner that is chasing a goal such as running a marathon or half marathon in all 50 states, you've probably learned that it isn't so much about a particular feature of a race you want to do in a certain state.

It's more about the fit to your budget and schedule.

That being said, I very rarely look at an elevation chart.

But having done the Leadville Heavy Half in Colorado many years ago, I would only shy away from a very technical and steep trail race.

Rolling out from the start line of the third annual Bourbon Derby Half Marathon, 10-Miler and 4-Miler near Paris, Kentucky recently, I quickly realized that maybe I should revisit that policy.

While it is one of the most beautiful courses that you might run by going - literally - through many thoroughbred farms, it packs 1,147 feet of elevation change into 13.1 miles.

Throw in a race that started on a humid morning with temperatures that started at 68 degrees and eventually rose to 80 before I finished, the combination of the two dished out a beating.

This race would really best be run in early-to-mid March or in late October.

The event producer had plenty of water stations and the volunteers working them - and the rest of the course - were superb.

The race started on-time and I can't comment on post-race festivities and awards as I left to head back to my hotel in Georgetown to drive back to Indianapolis to fly home to Houston.

The most unique thing about the race is that it started and finished in the drive-in lane of a drive-in theater! You parked your car like you were there for a movie!

While running the race - or running the downhills and walking the uphills, rather, you realize that the event producer had little, if any, traffic control costs.

Most were very rural, paved roads that had very low-density traffic.

In fact, I only saw one traffic control sign - that Department of Transportation would require - on the road approaching the movie theater.

In fact some of the course was on roads through various farms that wouldn't be available to the public.

When we finished, we were given a medal that wasn't.

It was made of wood!

Being involved in event production, these two things take a significant amount out of the cost.

If it indeed goes towards the non-profit producer's stated scholarship programs and charities, no worries. It just left a different taste in my mouth.

This race was first produced two years ago and experienced very pleasant temperatures, according to -- 53 degrees at the start and 62 near the end. 324 ran the half marathon, 110 the 10-miler and another 134 did the four-miler.

Perhaps based on that, last year, 551 ran the half while 63 and 108 did the 10- and 4-milers, respectively.  However, temperatures at start time were in the 70's and stayed there.

This year, the half marathon number of finishers was way down with 258 while the 10-miler and 4-milers saw 50 and 116 runners cross the finish line, respectively.

I would never say not run this race, but I'd jump on it again if the date was moved where there were cooler temperatures.

My splits were as follows:

Mile 1 -- 12:04.69
Mile 2 -- 11:33.48
Mile 3 -- 11:54.45
Mile 4 -- 12:43.30
Mile 5 -- 12:49.87
Mile 6 -- 12:23.27
Mile 7 -- 12:27.30
Mile 8 -- 12:30.68
Mile 9 -- 14:53.93
Mile 10 -- 10:46.11 (markers were off)
Mile 11 -- 13:29.43
Mile 12 -- 11:39.88
Mile 13 -- 14:00.19
Last .1 -- 1:33.48 (didn't stop quick enough)

As soon as we made the first left-hand turn out of the drive-in theater's entrance and onto the roads, I could see the first set of hills and with the heat and humidity knew that it was going to be a "just finish" kind of day.

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