This past weekend I ran the 7 mile course at Run the Bluegrass. From registration to the after party, from the start line to the finish, this race was one of the best experiences I've had at a race. That isn't to say that there weren't some hiccups, but the Race Director (Eric Marr), and everyone else involved in running this event, made sure that issues were heard and resolved in the most efficient way possible, all while staying very transparent about what was going on. the best part was I got to run it with my best friend and a bunch of other members of my running group- The Princess Posse.
I feel like I could go on and on about this race, but instead I'll just bullet point some of the highlights.
7 miler v. 13.1: This event has both a half and a 7 miler and the course is HILLY. My friend and I chose to go with the 7 miler and I'm really glad we did. It was long enough (and hilly enough to be a challenge), the views were still spectacular and we still felt great when we finished.
Packet pickup/Expo: this was a small, but really well laid out Expo. Traffic flowed pretty much in one direction and you had the opportunity to get your bib, shop, take official race pictures and get your shirt. I was really impressed with the variety of vendors and also the chance to check out the Bourbon (in commemorative bottles).
Course: Like I said- Hilly, but beautiful. And on the course there a bunch of water stations (4 on the 7 mile course) as well as one fabulous beer and twizzler stop at the top of the longest hill. the support on the course was great- even though the stations were spread out, the enthusiasm of those on the course- and especially the finishers chute was awesome.
Race Director/Organization- I can't say enough about how this event was run. Eric was seemingly everywhere. We bought Bourbon from him at the Expo, he was running around before the race and he was announcing and handing out high fives (and witty comments) at the finish. As far as I can tell, he was incredibly approachable and made runner feel welcome and helped to ratchet up the excitement. My running group (of about 25) even got our own tent and sign. It was great to not just be at a well run race, but to see that the director and his team really cared about the runners.
Pictures: There were not a lot of race photographers out on the course, especially for the 7 mile course. I was a little disappointed, because I love pictures, but in the end it was alright. I ended up getting about 13 pictures from the race, expo and after party and they were at a great price, so I don't really have any major complaints there.
After party: The other thing (besides the hilles) that was unavoidable, was the weather. I had hoped that going to KY would result in warmer temperatures, but it was not to be. It was about 18 at race start and only climbed to the mid-20's by the time we finished. This put a little bit of a damper on the after party. It was just too cold to stay too long. That said- it was pretty great and I wish was able to enjoy it more. There was free Papa John's slices and a taste of beer, plus multiple food trucks to buy from, a live band and the expo was open for last minute purchases.
Over all this was a great race and I can't wait to come back down next year.