What Should You Expect When You Run the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon 

On October 22, 2016 I will be running in the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon (UBHM) in Louisville, Kentucky.  While this is not going to be my first trip to Louisville, it is the first time I will be running the UBHM. 

Back in April, I had the opportunity to meet Michael Clemons, who is the Race Manager for the UBHMas well as handeling all of their social media platforms (do everything you see posted on social media about the UBHM, is coming from Michael).  I reached out to Michael this week and he was willing to answer some questions about the UBHM, what to expect during the weekend, and how it is different from other half marathons.

Michael and myself at the Carmel Marathon Expo

Q: How many vendors will be at the expo?

A: We like to keep our expo small and only have vendors who add to the experience, so we’ll have a very minimal number of vendors. A lot of races have 20+ other races passing out flyers, and while some people like that it takes away from the bourbon experience of our race. So, we’ll only have three or four vendors.Fleet Feet Louisville will be there selling last-minute items you may need, like socks, gels, massage sticks, and running gear.

  • Evan Williams will have a booth set up where they’ll be sampling multiple flavors of bourbon, pouring samples free for all participants. They’ll also have some (amazingly tasty) bourbon balls.
  • We’ll have a booth there selling Urban Bourbon Half Marathon branded gear and apparel.
  • Massage therapists will be set up giving out pre-race massages for $1 a minute.
  • There may be 1-2 others, but only booths that add to your UBHM experience. 

Q: Do you offer pacers during the race, if so, what’s the fastest pace setter and slowest? A: Our partners at Fleet Feet Louisville will once again be supplying pacers, and they’re fantastic at getting you home in the time you hope for. There will be 2 pacers for 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:10, 2:20, 2:30, 2:45, and 3:00 finishing times.

Q: What are some of the must see/things to do in Louisville? 

A: There’s so much amazingness that Louisville has to offer right at your fingertips! Main Street has Museum Row just next to the Finish Line, which includes the Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville Slugger Museum, and Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. Churchill Downs is a short drive or Uber ride down the ride. While there won’t be any live racing the weekend of UBHM, you can still tour the track and their fabulous museum. There’s also Waterfront Park and the Big Four walking bridge just a short walk from Packet Pick-up. The Urban Bourbon route will also take you through some of Louisville’s trendiest neighborhoods in Nulu and the Highlands, and through one of our award-winning parks, Cherokee Park. And just outside the city are countless distilleries offering scenic and informative bourbon tours. Our Convention and Visitors Bureau has a lot of travel tips and must see attraction info on their website, https://www.gotolouisville.com/.

Be sure to also check out Cassie’s blog about what she plans to do while in Louisville for the race

Q: What are your recommendations for places to Carbo load the night before? 

A: One of our go-to recommendations is Bearno’s by the Bridge. While we’ll be serving their pizza free to all participants at our post-race Urban Bourbon Bash, they’ll also be offering a pre-race pasta dinner the night before. They are located on Whiskey Row, right next to the KFC Yum! Center and on your walk between the host hotel (the Galt House) and Packet Pick-up.

Q: Will we see a sneak peak at the medals and race shirts? 

A: Soon :). We’re hoping to have the medals in the next week or two, and the shirts shortly after. I’ve seen the mockups, and they both look great!

Last years long sleeve tech shirts.

Q: What are some of the highlights of the half marathon course? 

A: As I said before, the Urban Bourbon route goes through two of Louisville’s trendiest neighborhoods in Nulu and the Highlands. It also goes through Cherokee Park, an award-winning park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. While it is a bit hilly in the park, the foliage in October is full of color and super beautiful. You also start and finish on Main Street, in the heart of the city’s downtown with museums and urban bourbon bars aplenty.

Q:I have heard that there are some hilly sections on the course, can you tell us what is the toughest part of the course?

Miles 4 through 8 are through Cherokee Park, which definitely brings the most hills. It’s also the most scenic though, so at least you’ll be distracted a bit by the foliage. You start and finish in downtown, which is pancake flat.

Q:What Fluids are at the aid stations? Will there be Bourbon? Gels? Maybe Bourbon Flavored gel?

A: We will have our famous Louisville tap water at all seven stations, as well as Powerade at four stations. We’ve not had gels in the past, but are hoping to be able to add those in at Cherokee Park this year. Unfortunately liquor laws are a little sticky and we can’t do bourbon on the course, but it would be interesting to see how many people would take a shot at mile 11 or 12!

Maybe there won’t be bourbon flavored gel, but I did get some bourbon flavored chap stick at the Carmel Marathon expo.  

Q: What are the typical late October temperatures in Louisville? 

A: Unfortunately fall Louisville weather can be a bit unpredictable, but it tends to be cool with a chance of rain. The past few years have been in the 50s, and the rain held off last year until the very end.

Q: Do you do age group awards? 

A: Yes, we’ll have unique age group awards (exact award TBD, but it will be bourbon-themed) for participants in the following age groups: 21-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, and 70 & Over. Overall winners will receive custom bourbon barrel heads!

Q:Do you provide online or text message athlete tracking? 

A: For the second year, we’ve partnered with the Racejoy app to provide tracking and real-time alerts on all race participants free of charge. Racejoy also allows your friends and family to send cheers and encouragement directly to your phone as you run. We’ll send out more details on Racejoy to participants in the weeks leading up to the race.

Q: I have heard that the post race party is awesome, can you tell me what we should expect after we accomplished the half marathon? 

A: Our post-race Urban Bourbon Bash is one you won’t wanna miss! We do it big with live music from the Louisville Crashers, free bourbon from numerous local distilleries, free Bearno’s pizza and Kentucky burgoo, and free craft beer from Falls City Brewing. All of this is in addition to the normal post-race replenishment like Panera bread bagels, bananas, Powerade, and TruMoo chocolate milk that all race participants receive. So basically you’re getting two events in one when you do UBHM!

Q:What sets the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon apart from other half marathons?

A: UBHM is not just a race, it’s a bourbon experience. From the first moment you arrive at Packet Pick-up, we want to make it an event you won’t forget. My team and I strive to make everything special down to the littlest of details, so that you leave the race with a smile on your face and a sense of accomplishment in your heart (and hopefully a belly full of bourbon). Our unique placement in the heart of downtown Louisville allows us to feature the best our city has to offer, from our awesome race route to our numerous race amenities. It truly is a race experience like none other.

I can’t wait tonarrivevin Louisville. We will be arriving on Thursday, October 20th.  We wil actually be staying in Indiana as the host hotel has already filled up, but we look forward to spending some time in Louisville.  

Check out fellow BibRave Pros, EricaJessica, and Angie, race reports.  You can also check out what others have to say about the UBHM on BibRave.com.  Be sure to check out the UBHM website for more info and to register. Use promo code BourbonRave2016 to receive 10% off your registration!  You can also follow UHM on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  

Hope to see you at the 2016 Urban Bourbon Half Marathon!


2 thoughts on “What Should You Expect When You Run the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon 

  1. Awesome post! Still bummed I couldn’t make it back this year. You are going to have a blast! (And yes the hills in Cherokee Park are no joke!)


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