I had the opportunity to do something I’ve never done before this weekend. I helped someone cross the finish line of their first half marathon – and not just “someone” – my little sister.
I drove down to Louisville on Friday and we went to the expo that afternoon. It was different than most expos that I’ve been to in that the vendors were set up in an s-pattern in the convention center. That way you had to walk past all of them I suppose but it also made for a very crowded expo. The usual vendors were there plus a few surprises. Lots of freebies were being given away. All-in-all it was a good experience and I really like the shirt.
My sister lives less than 15 minutes away from downtown Louisville (the start/finish of our race) so after the expo I was able to stay at her house, have a nice dinner and just relax.
Race time was 7:30 a.m. So we were all up by 6 to stretch, eat a banana and hit the road. Not too early (though my Central time zone body felt like it was an hour earlier). Everything went very smoothly, it took us about 15 minutes to get to the start line after the elite runners took off but when you have approx 20,000 runners that’s not so bad. In fact, I think the entire race was run very well.
The course started downtown, took us through a few “rough” neighborhoods and then wound through lovely historic old Louisville – beautiful stone mansions, flowering trees, green courtyards – it was my favorite part of the course. My second favorite? Our mile inside Churchill Downs 🙂
We ran under the track and did a loop on the infield before exiting. There was a DJ there playing old race play-by-play. It was funny to come around the curve while hearing “and here they come pounding around turn two…” There were horses practicing on the track too. It was a cool experience and one of the reasons I was drawn to this race in the first place.
After Churchill Downs we saw a bit of University of Louisville, more historic homes and then a straightaway to the finish. My sister had a few struggles during the race but we improvised some new plans and she ran across the finish line strong. I am proud of her and so happy I was able to be by her side and help her finish her first half marathon.
The course was flat, flat, flat. I would really like to go back to this race and try to tackle it with a time goal in mind. There is a marathon too with a few miles in a hilly park but other than that, their course seemed just as nice as ours. We had completely closed roads the entire time too. Really nice race. Fun crowds, plenty of on-course entertainment, nice medal & beer afterwards. I would love to run this one again.