Post Race Review: Urban Bourbon Half Marathon
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro by going to https://www.bibrave.com/bibravepro. Find more race reviews like this one at www.bibrave.com.
I had been looking forward to this race for a long, long time, and am happy to report that the wait was well worth it, as it did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, what it did is exceed my expectations in every way possible.
After flying into Louisville from Houston with my family, we got a rental car, drove and checked into our hotel, then headed to the Expo/Packet Pickup, which was held at Louisville Slugger Field in downtown. Parking there was ultra-easy and free, and I found the facility to be perfectly suited for the event, as it had ample, comfortable space, with a well-organized layout.
It only took us a few minutes in line to get our race bibs and post-race party bracelets. We were also able to pick up a couple of energy gels and bib tabs for the race at the Fleet Feet vendor tent as well as sample some Jim Beam Bourbon, the race's sponsor.
Race-day logistics and start line
The start line for this race was located on Main Street, right in front of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, between 5th and 6th Streets. There were plenty of reasonably priced parking options, and we easily found one at a parking garage on the adjacent block to the Center. The starting area was large and comfortable, with plenty of room to stretch and warm-up before the 8:00 am start. One of my fellow BibRave Pros, Stephanie Boyd, had coordinated a meeting point there for us and we were able to get a group photo in before heading out to the corrals.
The race offered a bag drop-off tent, but this time I decided not to use the service since my wife was there with me and she was able to take the backpack with my gear after I finished warming up.
Course & Support
The weather was picture-perfect for a race with temps in the mid 50s and beautiful, sunny skies. Once the race started, I followed my plan as drawn and made sure to take it easy and not run too fast over the first couple of miles. I focused being "in the moment", thankful for my health, for the beautiful day we were having, and simply enjoying the gift of participating in a real, in-person race again. The course was quite scenic throughout its 13 miles and I feel that it helped me get into a great groove from the beginning. The hydration stops were placed and spaced perfectly approximately every couple of miles or so, and even though I was carrying my own water, I supplemented it by grabbing 2-3 cups as I went by them. The volunteers there were super cheerful and helpful, and made me feel a great rush of energy as I went by each one of them. By mile 3, I settled into an awesome feel and pace, and realized after doing some quick mental math that it could carry me within striking distance of my PR if I could just stay in that zone and close out strong. Thankfully, that feeling never left me, and the last 4 miles proved to be my fastest block of the race, carrying me to a new 1-minute PR at this distance.
Finish line and post-race party
The finish line had plenty of volunteers handing medals and helping out with the post-race hydration and nutrition tables, which were well stocked with fruit, energy bars, and electrolytes and spaced-out perfectly.
And as if the race itself had not gone awesome enough, the post-race party---appropriately named "The Bourbon Bash" was amazing. It was immediately adjacent to the finish line at Fourth Street Live! and it had great live music by the popular local band, The Louisville Crashers, as well as an ample variety of bourbon samplings, beer, pizza, and burgoo, a local style of stew I'd never tried before but that I absolutely fell in love with as soon as I tasted it.
I feel that this a high-quality race that deserves all the accolades it has received over the years. Race management did a great job organizing and delivering on every aspect from beginning to end, and I know that I definitely want to come back and experience it all over again, perhaps as soon as next year.