Overall Rating
Overall Rating (11 Reviews)
4.2
(11 Ratings)  (11 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.7
SCENERY
4.7
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
3.6
Run on one of the most beautiful marathon/half marathon courses in the United States passing over 50 Central Kentucky horse farms. This race will be staged in Lexington, Kentucky, commonly referred to as the Horse Capital of the World. A portion of proceeds benefit Bluegrass Farms Charities. The half-marathon is … MORE
Local Historical Weather (Apr 13):
  2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
 
H (°F)  81  76  65  62  68
L (°F)  46  60  48  40  48
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Recent reviews

    elladams REPEAT RUNNER '23

    This review is a two parter - for the race itself? Amazing and top-notch! The race director is my absolute favorite and if I lived closer, I would attend more … MORE

    This review is a two parter – for the race itself? Amazing and top-notch! The race director is my absolute favorite and if I lived closer, I would attend more of the races they put on. Always encouraging, always motivating, and they are there celebrating the last person just as much as they celebrate the first person. Scenery is great with those ‘gently rolling hills’ that come with Kentucky horse farm country. The course was slightly different from when I attempted same race in 2019 – but still very beautiful and challenging. The weather was the same too – weird, since 2019’s race was in May and this one was a month earlier … same heat though and it zapped me. For the personal aspect of the race – I don’t know why I thought I could beat my time. The hills are very much a challenge to this flat-lander and I was not heat-acclimated at all. I did put the miles in on my training but this course didn’t care. Because of the hills and route, there were several portions where I wouldn’t see anyone ahead of me or behind me – the desire to quit was strong but I had training partners who came to run the first part with me (they did the half and when we split off around mile 9, that meant 17ish miles of solo running … I don’t do well with that many miles of solo running). The water stops were slowly running out of water but the pace company was driving around with bottles of water for those of us at the back – I *really* appreciated that!! I was determined I was going to beat my 2019 time and I just couldn’t do it. But that is not a reflection against this race at all – I definitely recommend it and RaceRise (race company) – if anyone is travelling to this area, definitely check them out!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    DonutShark FIRST-TIMER '22

    If you’re looking for a no-frills event, the Horse Capital Marathon is precisely that. If you’re looking for a nice run in beautiful countryside, it’s that, too. I’ll start with … MORE

    If you’re looking for a no-frills event, the Horse Capital Marathon is precisely that. If you’re looking for a nice run in beautiful countryside, it’s that, too.

    I’ll start with the scenery. The race is exactly as advertised: A beautiful run through magnificent horse country, with rolling hills. Lexington, as a city, is a nice enough place, but it’s a dang good thing this race is run on the outskirts of Lexington, because that’s where the region’s true charm is found.

    The race begins and ends at Kentucky Horse Park. Be sure you make time to visit, especially if you have kids. My six-year-old daughter loved it so much, she spent most of the race there, then dragged me back after the race, and we even went back again the next day.

    Now, let’s discuss the event. For starters, don’t expect fan support along the race route. The location doesn’t lend itself to fan accessibility. There were a few fans at the handful of intersections along the out-and-back route, and they were lovely people. But this is a lonely race…no horns and cowbells and screaming crowds. Luckily, there are three out-and-back sections, so you’re passing other runners all day long.

    The pre-race and post-race scene was pretty minimalist. There’s no expo; bib pick-up was at a gas station burrito joint. The pre-race festivities consisted of a low-key DJ/emcee, a food truck (I think), and a line of runners arriving at the parking lot at the very last minute.

    Post-race was probably the most disappointing aspect of this race. I got a mini bottle of Gatorade. If there were bagels and fruit, I didn’t see them. No sandwiches, chocolate milk, or goodie bags either. Literally, unless I missed it (and if that’s the case, layout is an issue), the Gatorade was the only post-race runner care. Though I will say, someone (volunteers?) saw me lying down after the race and hurried over with an insulation blanket to check on me. I was fine, but loved that the checked on my well-being.

    It snowed throughout the race. That was cool. I’ve heard it reached 70-plus degrees in previous years. Weather in Kentucky in April…plan for anything.

    All in all, despite the sparse crowd support and apparently minimalist post-race support, I really enjoyed this race and recommend it for anyone seeking a unique Kentucky marathon in their quest for 50 states.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Tailhook007 FIRST-TIMER '22

    The Racerise folks had a great production! First of several notes: this is a small, local(ish) race. A couple of hundred participants for both the half and full. If you're … MORE

    The Racerise folks had a great production! First of several notes: this is a small, local(ish) race. A couple of hundred participants for both the half and full. If you’re looking for hoopla and big fan fare, this is not a race for you. The only timing was at the start / finish line. The swag (medal) was simple and the long sleeve was bright, beautiful, and soft.
    2nd point: The course is a simple out and back with plenty of rolling hills (elevation gain +570 ft), but all of the course is in horse country. The scenery is breath taking; you’ll see a lot of horses and natural scenery.
    3rd point: The weather guessers were 100% correct! It snowed the last 4 miles of my run. I have never run with a hat before. Although I was warm wearing silks, I had to use my hand as a visor so I could see ahead of me… again, the Lexington PD did a great job with holding and keeping cars off the 2 lane road… keeping us all safe! Wear a hat… keeps the sweat and snow out of your eyes…
    There was plenty of water/power drinks and port a potties along the course. If I was a local, I’d run this again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    todd17406 FIRST-TIMER '22

    RD puts serious effort into prerace email communication. Nice way to click Kentucky off the state list as this is a small event with plenty of local hotels, easy packet … MORE

    RD puts serious effort into prerace email communication. Nice way to click Kentucky off the state list as this is a small event with plenty of local hotels, easy packet Pickup and stress free logistics. Course is basically a series of small rolling hills. Not much flat, but no killer hills either. If you’re a flat lander, you definitely need to find some rolling hills to train on or set your treadmill to 2 or 3%. In 2022, we had a freak weather system roll through that brought snow and sleet! Well supported course with aid stations and port o pots about every 1.75 miles.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Karen818 FIRST-TIMER '21

    The course was out and back which usually is not my favorite but it was really pretty. Lots of horse farms to admire. Race was on the road but they … MORE

    The course was out and back which usually is not my favorite but it was really pretty. Lots of horse farms to admire. Race was on the road but they were completely closed for traffic so no issues there. There were a lot of rolling hills but none too long. Packet pick up was a drive through; long sleeve shirt was nice.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    elladams FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race almost undid me and if I didn't already have registrations paid for two more marathons, I would have said this is my last marathon. But that was all … MORE

    This race almost undid me and if I didn’t already have registrations paid for two more marathons, I would have said this is my last marathon. But that was all on me – the race management is awesome and I really enjoy participating in RaceRise-led races. The scenery is nice – lots (and LOTS) of horse farms and gentle rolling hills – just one that was a true doozy that I can remember, but it was on the loop that marathoners had to do twice. Horses and colts were out to cheer the runners on. Plenty of water stops and aid stations — greatly appreciated! But it. was. hot. And I was so not ready for that heat, having only done marathons in November before this. There was also a cutoff of at least 6 hours and 15 minutes … provided you could make it to mile 25 by the 6 hour mark when they reopened the roads, you could take all the time you wanted on that last 1.2 mi. stretch. I was one of the last 10 in and they kept that finish line party rolling until the last one came through – I was so appreciative of this after hearing what the London Marathon runners went through. Swag included a medal and a tech t-shirt – I wasn’t able to get to the packet pickup/expo the night before so if there were any goodies offered at that, I’m not aware of them.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    M_Sohaskey May 20, 2019 at 6:22pm

    Well done, Elizabeth! I ran Hatfield McCoy in 2016, so I can relate to running (or at least trying to!) in the Kentucky heat. Glad you played it smart, since… MORE

    Well done, Elizabeth! I ran Hatfield McCoy in 2016, so I can relate to running (or at least trying to!) in the Kentucky heat. Glad you played it smart, since heat exhaustion doesn't "horse" around... it sneaks up on you quickly until you pass the point of no return, and at that point you're DONE. So to simply finish 26.2 miles in that heat speaks volumes of your resolve 👏. Luckily Indy Monumental and Carmel should be significantly cooler, and you'll have allowed yourself plenty of time to recover from this hard-earned victory. Congrats on toughing it out, and thanks for your helpful review! LESS

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    Bluebird46360 FIRST-TIMER '19

    The expo is nice but very small, great to get in and out! The race start was smooth, bathroom lines and parking were not too bad at all. The course … MORE

    The expo is nice but very small, great to get in and out! The race start was smooth, bathroom lines and parking were not too bad at all. The course had rolling hills with several house farms surrounding, very beautiful! Got to see a few baby colts. Water stops were great with water, sword and ice, very friendly volunteers. Again, never a line for the porta potties. The temperature made it difficult for me hitting 90 degrees, the week before in the 50s (you never know what you are gonna get). Only improvement I would suggest would be timing mats, especially at the out and back. Overall great race, great views and, great people!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    4inthefamily FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race is beautiful from start to finish. The roads are nice and the scenery was amazing. Unfortunately, it was a super hot day, so the water stations had a … MORE

    This race is beautiful from start to finish. The roads are nice and the scenery was amazing. Unfortunately, it was a super hot day, so the water stations had a hard time keeping up. To the credit of the organization, we did get some ice cold Gatorade off one of the marathon trucks in the last few miles and it made a huge difference. They were driving up and down and checking on us and it was appreciated. I’d love to do this one again in 50 degree weather.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    + Small race Nice, level roads Water stations ever 1.5 miles Beautiful views of horse country Snacks post race Towels soaked in ice bath & finish line Clearly marked loop … MORE

    +
    Small race
    Nice, level roads
    Water stations ever 1.5 miles
    Beautiful views of horse country
    Snacks post race
    Towels soaked in ice bath & finish line
    Clearly marked loop course
    7am start
    Easy access to hotels, Lexington, & parking


    Two big hills & rolling hills (+ if you like that sort of thing)
    77 deg F at end of race with < 25% shade

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    kellyh REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Beautiful, quiet course through the rolling hills of horse country. Nice race swag and finisher's medals that double as bottle openers! Plenty of aid stations with water and Sword. Live … MORE

    Beautiful, quiet course through the rolling hills of horse country. Nice race swag and finisher’s medals that double as bottle openers! Plenty of aid stations with water and Sword. Live music and plenty of snacks and beer at the finish line party.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    dchaplin1990 FIRST-TIMER '16

    Stunning views of horses in fields along side the course. It was very rainy after the race was finished. Super cool medal, and great on course support and crowd support. … MORE

    Stunning views of horses in fields along side the course. It was very rainy after the race was finished. Super cool medal, and great on course support and crowd support. Will definitely be making a return trip for the full marathon

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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  1. Races
  2. Horse Capital Marathon & Half Marathon