Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
Where to begin?! The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon presented by Jim Beam was a bucket list race after I heard so many positive stories about the race itself, the post race party and the race management team. And it did not disappoint at all! The city of Louisville was a great host as well but more on that near the end. First, an interesting disclaimer on the race: you must be 21 or older to run it due to all the fabulous bourbon tasting that occurs, and that’s just part of your registration. No added costs!
There were two options for packet pickup. One was to go to the PNC Club at Cardinals Stadium where there were multiple vendors, free bourbon tasting and a chance to take a photo in front of the race logo backdrop. The second option, which was provided to me by the Urban Bourbon management team, led by Michael Clemons, was a VIP pickup at the downtown Louisville Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse.
There was a live bluegrass band, the Tavern Travelers, who were lively and really cool just having there adding to the atmosphere. There was a nice spread of hors d’oeuvres and the option to have bourbon cocktails. After some friendly mingling with BibRavePros Frank and Emily, we all went down to the Taste of History experience where you get to sample four unique bourbons while learning a little about them as well as being taught the proper way to sip and taste bourbon.
We also received a special commemorative shot glass for attending the event, so that was an added bonus. Fun fact about the Stillhouse: they have an actual working bottling line going through the place.
After saying goodbye to Frank and Emily, I went out to get a bite to eat, carb up if you will, and then head back to my hotel to lay out the flat me for the Urban Bourbon in the morning.
Race morning was chilly with a bit of mist floating through the air, but it wouldn’t last. The mist would eventually vanish and the sun would come out. Before that though, I dropped my bag off at gear check and met up with Pros Emily, Frank and Corey for a pre race photo.
Of course it’s always all smiles BEFORE the run, lol. The start of the race was led off by a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the official bugler of the Kentucky Derby. Gave me chills hearing it as everyone was mentally preparing for the start.
The course itself takes you through a portion of downtown Louisville before heading to the suburbs (of sorts) and then you hit some hills around miles 7 – 10 as you wind your way in Cherokee Park. This is one of the best parts of the race. The park was beautiful and I had the luck of running through it just as the sun was really starting to rise. The lighting that lit up the grass and created some beautiful gleams through the trees was quite mesmerizing. Eventually the course brings you back to the starting point and after you cross the finish line you are then pushed out just before the entertainment district of Fourth Street Live. I ran a good race but I am left to wonder if it could have been better. I kept my pace steady but also safe leading into those hills that started at mile 7. I might have psyched myself out into being too careful and that cost me the chance at a PR for a half marathon. That being said, I finished the race strong. So strong that I never stopped running throughout the entire course and had ample energy to make a big burst over the finish line. I have to say that my training runs leading up to this race had not felt this good at any point. These photos here from J.A. Laub Photography pretty much show what I’m talking about.
I mean, I’m smiling. That NEVER happens, lol! I crossed and received my medal but totally missed the Urban Bourbon logo backdrop for my finisher photo. Ugh! Luckily I found another spot to get a nice shot.
And then it was time to party! And what a post race party it was! Just great, I mean really great. Bourbon Bash excitement! The wristband I received for signing up provided me with LOTS of goodies. For starters, there was live music by the Louisville Crashers and they opened up the place big time. Lot of energy; the lead singer even came out among the crowd multiple times getting people gigged up, both in front of the stage and even behind it.
Now after a half marathon, you tend to be a little famished and the Urban Bourbon provided some great options. There was pizza, Kentucky burgoo (a type of stew/chili would be the best way to describe it) and some Falls City beer. Oh, and let me not forget the four bourbon samplings you could have from many choices that were spread out around Fourth Street.
This post race party is the best I have ever attended following any race. There is a reason the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon was rated the #1 half marathon in the United States: all and everything above, from the very start with race management and their communication to the beautiful course and then the finisher of this party. During my rounding up of food and beverages, I was able to find Frank and Emily again so we could capture that ultimate photo: the one with the medals.
And about those medals, easily one of the coolest medals out there for a race. Also, you receive a unisex long sleeve tech shirt and the option to get a commemorative bottle of white label Jim Beam with a special Urban Bourbon Half Marathon touch to it.
Great swag coming from a great race. Can’t be beat. Now, as I mentioned above, time to praise Louisville. I made sure to give myself a couple extra days to check out some tourist type spots. I enjoyed every minute of my visits to the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Louisville Zoo, Mega Cavern and the brief stop at Churchill Downs. All reasons to make a return trip to Louisville to see more AND run the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon again! Oh yes, I plan to return!
Have you ever run the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon? If so, did you enjoy it too? Are you planning to run it if you haven’t yet? Please feel free to comment!