Overall Rating
Overall Rating (48 Reviews)
4
(48 Ratings)  (48 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.5
SCENERY
3.6
PRODUCTION
3.9
SWAG
3.6
The GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon & Marathon is a long-standing tradition held every spring in Kentucky. It has become the largest annual day of road racing in the state. As 2022 marks the 49th annual miniMarathon and 21st annual Marathon, the Festival looks forward to another historic event. … MORE
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Recent reviews

    LSWJohnson FIRST-TIMER '22

    The first half was eventful with the course going through Churchill Downs and downtown. I enjoyed the bands and different types of bands that were playing along the first half. … MORE

    The first half was eventful with the course going through Churchill Downs and downtown. I enjoyed the bands and different types of bands that were playing along the first half. The walking bridge into Indiana was beautiful and much longer than I was expecting. The out and back course was kind of boring even though it was still pretty to see. The water stops were far and few between during the last half, which was disappointing since that is when I really needed a refill in my handheld water bottle. It was also very hot towards the end. My watch and phone both said the marathon was longer than the 26.2, almost an extra half mile. Overall, I enjoyed the run and the scenery. I’m happy to have completed another marathon and check off another state. I was disappointed to see them taking down the finish line and beer tents before the course time limit happened.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    I do love the medal! The women's cut shirt is nice! The weather was great at the start but it warmed up really fast! Didn't really care for the course … MORE

    I do love the medal! The women’s cut shirt is nice! The weather was great at the start but it warmed up really fast! Didn’t really care for the course at all! I have heard and read nothing but good things about this race and what a great race it is. I really don’t understand the hype! I found the race blah and really my least favorite race in the 8 years that I have been running. Loved Louisville!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
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    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    1

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    joblatchley FIRST-TIMER '22

    Plenty of water stations (9) on the half marathon course. Flat course but not too scenic except for small portions. Crowd support was sporadic but lively. Finish is a mile … MORE

    Plenty of water stations (9) on the half marathon course.
    Flat course but not too scenic except for small portions.
    Crowd support was sporadic but lively.
    Finish is a mile from host hotel.
    Expo small.
    No race props or background to take photos with.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3
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    hseitz FIRST-TIMER '22

    Common marathoner knowledge: big city marathons try much harder on the first half of a marathon course to impress half marathoners, and then the quality dips for the last 13 … MORE

    Common marathoner knowledge: big city marathons try much harder on the first half of a marathon course to impress half marathoners, and then the quality dips for the last 13 miles. This was the most egregious case yet!

    Packet pickup was at the Kentucky International Convention Center, a really nice, shiny building downtown. The expo was great (even featuring some sports games!) The temperature for this race was borderline too hot, but the clouds kept it from being miserable. Surprisingly, not many hills. The first half of the course is *amazing* for a city this size. We start downtown, and run past the Louisville Slugger Museum, the University of Louisville, several nice neighborhoods, and even into Churchill Downs at mile 8, before finishing next to the Louisville women’s pro soccer stadium. All the city landmarks. Great crowd support and water stations. If I did the half, this would get 5 stars.

    For the back half, we run onto a bridge and over the river into Indiana, where we do a 6 mile out and back on some greenways on the Indiana side. People said Louisville outsourced the second half to Indiana because they didn’t have enough police to secure enough intersections in Louisville.

    Running on lonely greenways isn’t the worst, but I was really disappointed by the aid stations in Indiana. Almost all aid stations were only handing out WARM water bottles, no gatorade. In the 75 F heat, the warm water made me gag, and almost every runner took two sips of a bottle and threw it out, leading to massive water bottle waste. You’d think paper cups would have been cheaper and almost as easy. Some 7 year old kid finally saved me with an ice cold Gatorade around mile 23, and I almost cried, I was so sick of warm water bottles. Even at the finish line, there wasn’t a single person who could give me a cold cup of water! Just Powerade and warm water bottles.

    Official parking is at the Lousville soccer stadium and is $10. We parked for free in a park parking lot northeast of the stadium on River Road, a mile away. Take your chances if you want.

    Hills to watch out for:
    -right at mile 14, running onto the bridge from Ky-Indiana, is a steep incline.
    -just before mile 21 is a long uphill. You will run past this at mile 18, so you will be warned.
    -at mile 24, getting back onto the bridge to run back into Louisville.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    3
    SCENERY
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    bsobering May 05, 2022 at 10:22am

    I agree with all of this! Just did my first marathon here and while it was still a wonderful experience, as first things are, I completely agree about the first… MORE

    I agree with all of this! Just did my first marathon here and while it was still a wonderful experience, as first things are, I completely agree about the first half being awesome and the second half being more of an afterthought with way fewer and less equipped aid stations, tons of water bottle waste, and generally a little lackluster compared to the first half. I still recommend the race and it’s mostly flat and scenic but the second half could definitely up its game! LESS

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    soozaay FIRST-TIMER '22

    There are much better half marathons in Kentucky, but if you’re looking for a flat course & a 4-hour time limit…this one is for you. The highlight is being able … MORE

    There are much better half marathons in Kentucky, but if you’re looking for a flat course & a 4-hour time limit…this one is for you. The highlight is being able to run inside Churchill Downs. You would never know this is a kick-off to Derby Week, the lack of spectators or even large signage throughout the city was disappointing. Expo was really just a bib pickup…which is fine but since this is advertised as such a big race, that was disappointing as well.
    The course itself was well marked and the police support was outstanding…as well as the number of water stations…even for a back of the packer like me. I was extremely happy to be able to check off Kentucky (I’m a 50 State Half Marathon Club member) with this flat course…but would not repeat.

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    50StateRunner50 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Socially distanced due to COVID. The course was an out and back and had a fantastic view crossing the Ohio river on the long foot bridge. Fairly flat, the majority … MORE

    Socially distanced due to COVID. The course was an out and back and had a fantastic view crossing the Ohio river on the long foot bridge. Fairly flat, the majority of the course followed a greenway along a levee on the river.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    vhaden REPEAT RUNNER '21

    Great efforts to make it covid safe. The route was pretty & fairly easy. I get why the majority of the route was in Indiana, but it made it seem … MORE

    Great efforts to make it covid safe. The route was pretty & fairly easy. I get why the majority of the route was in Indiana, but it made it seem less like Derby. There were some super awesome people along the route though!
    My biggest point of concern is the support, or lack there of, at the end. I am a slow runner and could only run on Sunday. I finished within the allotted time, but everything but the finish line was packed up. No photo ops, no medal engraving ops. Does my lack of speed equate to less importance? Sure everyone wants to be done and pack up after a long 4 days, but don’t offer amenities to anyone if you won’t offer them to everyone. This isn’t the only race where this has happened to me & it’s very disheartening. I’ll never be a fast runner, but I will always give 100% effort. So should you.

    DIFFICULTY
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    2
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    4
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    4

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    Profile photo of Matt Ryan
    MattyIce FIRST-TIMER '21

    First time in Louisville and running the race. Deferred registration from 2020, first non-virtual marathon since last February. Overall I really enjoyed the race and the city. Event staff were … MORE

    First time in Louisville and running the race. Deferred registration from 2020, first non-virtual marathon since last February.

    Overall I really enjoyed the race and the city. Event staff were responsive over email which was helpful for me coming in from out of town. Same-day packet pickup was a breeze. Course was very well marked and self-serve water was available throughout the day. Really nice scenic trail on basically a levy on the Indiana side of the river.

    Only complaint would be for a “Kentucky Derby” marathon I felt like it was Kentucky and Derby in name only. Maybe it was different in non-COVID years. Also kind of funny that only 10 of the 26.2 miles are in KY…rest is Jefferson/ New Albany IN.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
    SCENERY
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    runvirginia FIRST-TIMER '21

    This year's course and race was different because of the pandemic, and I really appreciate all the effort that went into putting on a live, fun event. There were many … MORE

    This year’s course and race was different because of the pandemic, and I really appreciate all the effort that went into putting on a live, fun event.

    There were many starting waves, and the expo was early (to the surprise of out of town runners), but there was also morning-of pickup. I was in the first wave, and was given a bib and shirt for the half, which I didn’t realize until close to the start time. I was able to exchange my bib but not my shirt (priorities!).

    The fun thing about the many waves is that I could see runners the entire time! People passed me, I passed a few , etc. It was further livened up by the full marathon course having little spurs so that by the time we were crossing back in to KY across the bridge, we were at mile 20 and the half was at 12. The out and back spurs allowed for runners to see each other and the full spurs built a sense of camaraderie. The scenery was mostly of the river along a bike path, lush and green. Some of it was along a more industrial area, and through a small sliver of the city.

    Overall, it was so, so much fun. Louisville is a cool town, and I loved walking from my hotel to the start, seeing other runners in the hotel afterwards, the medal engraving station at the finish line.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Pros: 1. Running inside churchill downs is super cool! 2. Really fun finish line party (ran this in 2019, pre-covid). Definitely recommend splurging on the VIP package 3. Nice expo. … MORE

    Pros:
    1. Running inside churchill downs is super cool!
    2. Really fun finish line party (ran this in 2019, pre-covid). Definitely recommend splurging on the VIP package
    3. Nice expo. Not super huge though

    Cons:
    1. There is a really nasty uphill around mile 14
    2. The course overall isn’t the most scenic

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    mwpotter5 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This was my third time running the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon (it was my first half ever in 2016). I love the course because it takes you through some of the … MORE

    This was my third time running the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon (it was my first half ever in 2016). I love the course because it takes you through some of the most scenic parts of downtown Louisville. The medals are always amazing and I’m loving the Louisville landmarks series they’re doing. There’s plenty of water stations, the crowds are great and super friendly, and running through Churchill Downs is the highlight of the race. I’m looking forward to running this race again and again.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    erbVanZan FIRST-TIMER '19

    Louisville is a pretty, clean and safe city (or so it seemed). Enjoyed running through Churchill downs. Nice people! had a fun time with my sister, enjoyed the Jim beam … MORE

    Louisville is a pretty, clean and safe city (or so it seemed). Enjoyed running through Churchill downs. Nice people! had a fun time with my sister, enjoyed the Jim beam at the expo. The fun through the park was pretty.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    The course was fun and easy, with some good local scenery and some just plain running down a street. I was able to walk from my hotel and the race … MORE

    The course was fun and easy, with some good local scenery and some just plain running down a street. I was able to walk from my hotel and the race race production made things smooth.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    gerryberry393 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Expensive lodging, nice expo, take the Churchill Downs tour. Really cool to run through Churchill Downs while horses are out running around for inspiration! Hilly in the middle, great medal, … MORE

    Expensive lodging, nice expo, take the Churchill Downs tour. Really cool to run through Churchill Downs while horses are out running around for inspiration!
    Hilly in the middle, great medal, great swag! Good size hill around mile 12, then up and down through park setting before heading back through downtown Louisville. Volunteers didn’t want much to do with us turtles coming in after 6 hours (I think they had already started laying claim to any leftover box lunches). Beer was all gone and had a painful limp back to the hotel.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    clsmit FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race has 2 good parts - 1) It's flat. There are a couple of places where it goes under a railroad and there's the entrance/exit from Churchill Downs, but … MORE

    This race has 2 good parts – 1) It’s flat. There are a couple of places where it goes under a railroad and there’s the entrance/exit from Churchill Downs, but otherwise flat. So if you want to PR this race is an option. 2) You run the infield of Churchill Downs. Seeing the iconic horse racing location in person is just awesome. The race could use more water stations early on the course, but otherwise it’s well run with decent crowd support and a big party area at the finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
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    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    demman1024 FIRST-TIMER '19

    It was a really nice course. This hills through the park were tougher than i thought, or maybe I wasn't as fit as i thought. Although I didn't run as … MORE

    It was a really nice course. This hills through the park were tougher than i thought, or maybe I wasn’t as fit as i thought. Although I didn’t run as well as I had planned i still think it was a great course. Loved running through Churchill Downs! The town was really into the Kentucky Derby! So much to do there besides the race–bourbon tours, Louisville Slugger factory, Ali museum, etc. I like the race shirt because it fits well and I can wear it anytime. Since this was my 31st marathon I really don’t need another short sleeve running shirt!
    I think they could improve the aide stations if the volunteers were more informed on what the runners need. They didn’t yell Gatorade loud enough. i never knew if i was getting water or Gatorade or even if they had it. As far as the gels, they were so timid handing them out that 2x I just noticed after I had passed that i missed the gels!!! That’s not good in a marathon! I only ended up getting 1 on the course and good thing I had a couple with me. I thought the finish line was just fine. Lots of places to sit, plenty to eat.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    4
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    amyg186 FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race is a great option for a first timer. The half marathon course is relatively flat and there's enough entertainment to remain entertained the entire time. The finish line … MORE

    This race is a great option for a first timer. The half marathon course is relatively flat and there’s enough entertainment to remain entertained the entire time. The finish line is downhill; there is one “hill” in the race; there are frequent water/powerade stops.
    The potty stops were frequent but the lines at each stop were long.
    The race expo was boring – basically a regular packet pickup with a few extra people to talk too.
    Swag — included was a shirt and then the finisher medal. There were extras available for purchase.

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    roisaac FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race was really fun. I did the full marathon and the course was flat except for the park. It goes through the infield of Churchill Downs, which was really … MORE

    This race was really fun. I did the full marathon and the course was flat except for the park. It goes through the infield of Churchill Downs, which was really cool. After the marathon splits from the half, there are barely any spectators and no one from the half really sticks around to watch the marathoners finish. The expo was smaller than I thought it would be. I completed this race because I heard this was one of the top races in America and it didn’t disappoint. Great swag too. The medal was big. Just a heads up, when you do run this race, make sure you get downtown very early, they close the roads early and it’s nearly impossible to park. I had to park over a mile away and run to the start line and I was still 15 minutes late. But the people of Louisville are very nice and they helped me find my way when I got lost trying to find my car after the race. I live in Michigan and I would travel down to run it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Shak38 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I ran this race with some friends from Colorado as we are attempting to run a marathon in every state...eventually... The course was very enjoyable, especially Iroquois Park, although the … MORE

    I ran this race with some friends from Colorado as we are attempting to run a marathon in every state…eventually… The course was very enjoyable, especially Iroquois Park, although the hills are no joke during that point in the race. The course is interesting and hits all the highlights of Louisville. We stayed at the Galt House and had many restaurants and activities to choose from during our stay and we were within walking distance of the start and finish line. The expo was a very good size – not too big and not too small. It had all the things you might need if you forgot to pack something and some cool things that you wouldn’t expect at an expo, like bourbon tasting. There were more than enough aid stations and the volunteers were top notch. Quite a few spectators were out and about with kids giving those all-important power high fives! The medals are pretty cool with the ribbons mentioning all the highlights of the course. These are some things I’d suggest to make the race even better. The bag drop had an incredibly long line. This was because the volunteers had to mark your bag with your number and then use a zip tie to close the bag and there was still a line even after the race started. I suggest having the markers at the expo so that the numbers can be written before the race and then just have the zip ties on the table for people to tie their own bags. The corrals weren’t monitored and, as is often the case, people lined up incorrectly with many walkers in the first few corrals. Also, there were not enough porta-potties in the first 13 miles of the race. They’d have one or two at each aid station and the lines were 15-30 long. They advertised gel at several aid stations, but they only had it at one that I saw so perhaps they ran out by the time I got through (5+ marathoner). The finish-line party could have been great but it started raining and got muddy and cold – that can’t be helped. My biggest disappointment was the race swag. The shirt had such a cool design, but then they put it on a cheaply made shirt that fits poorly (the men’s didn’t have a v-neck and I wish I would have chosen that). The only other thing we got in our bag was a miniature bat and that wasn’t even given to the half marathoners. I did buy a marked-down sling pack at the expo that was normally $28 for $10. I took the last one so my friends didn’t even get to buy one. Many marathons would have included something like this as swag. Would I recommend this race? Absolutely! Louisville is a wonderful, welcoming city and the few minor things mentioned above can be easily corrected.

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    SCENERY
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    SWAG
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    My Media

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    elladams REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I wasn't planning to run this race, but as I needed to get 20 in for an upcoming marathon, I purchased a transfer-bib. Considering I was up at 4 a.m. … MORE

    I wasn’t planning to run this race, but as I needed to get 20 in for an upcoming marathon, I purchased a transfer-bib. Considering I was up at 4 a.m. to get my additional 7 miles in before getting to the race, I was pleasantly surprised to be only 3 minutes off my half-PR (which was on this course in 2018). It’s a flat/fast course, but there are a lot of walkers and quite a few people who take their corral placement as “suggestion” instead of actually starting with their assigned corrals. This has always bugged me about this race and I keep hoping that next year will be better. The weather was great this year, which brought out the spectators … which helped motivate the runners. For being the largest race in the state, they could really do more in the way of swag – half-marathoners just got a shirt.

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  1. Races
  2. Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & miniMarathon