Overall Rating
Overall Rating (31 Reviews)
4.4
(31 Ratings)  (31 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.2
SCENERY
4.6
PRODUCTION
4.4
SWAG
4.2
Run The Bluegrass has been years overdue for a makeover – and finally it’s here! Talon Winery and Vineyards, located at the very southern tip of Lexington near the Kentucky River, is situated amongst some of the coolest country roads you’ll ever traverse anywhere in the United States! Tates Creek … MORE
Local Historical Weather (May 11):
  2024 2023 2022 2021 2020
 
H (°F)  67  83  86  61  50
L (°F)  54  59  65  42  35
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Recent reviews

    Kentucky was State #16 for me on my 50 states quest. The day before Run The Bluegrass, I got to experience the best of Lexington with The Real Lexington Tour, … MORE

    Kentucky was State #16 for me on my 50 states quest. The day before Run The Bluegrass, I got to experience the best of Lexington with The Real Lexington Tour, a private chartered tour organized by our race director Eric, and we visited Taylor Made Farms and the James Pepper Distillery. This was an optional add-on to registration, and if you have never done it, it was worth the extra cost. I learned so much history and fun facts about Kentucky, the Derby, and the bourbon industry, and fell in love with the gorgeous racehorses we met!

    The Expo was held at Talon Winery, which is where the race also started and ended. It’s a beautiful venue, though on race morning, it was a little anxiety inducing with traffic all converging on the single two-lane road to get to the race start. Miraculously, we started pretty much on time, as planned. I would definitely call this start to a race organized chaos, because although we were not given a ton of overt guidance, it seemed everyone somehow knew exactly where they were supposed to be, and when. We were treated like seasoned racehorses who were keenly aware of our assignment.

    We were gifted the most perfect race weather we could have imagined, 51° F with a gentle 5 mph breeze at the start of the race. When we finally crossed the start, I delighted in the first downhill of mile 1, feeling really great. The first two miles were net downhill. A little after the mile 2 marker, we encountered the first aid station. It was manned by one gentleman, scrambling to empty a gallon jug of water into blue rubber reusable cups.

    I snatched two cups off the table, and hoped the next aid station would have electrolytes. The next aid station did not, in fact, have electrolytes. Or the next one. They were all minimally manned, with only water and one or two overwhelmed volunteers. I don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this is really the only major aspect of the event I’d recommend for improvement for the future: more lively aid stations with additional volunteers, and electrolyte mix to compliment the offering of water.

    The first 6 miles consisted of relatively manageable, smaller rolling hills. As the miles crept along, it was my perception the level of difficulty of the course increased. I was a first-timer running this race, so I had no frame of reference to what previous years had been like as far as course difficulty, but it was my understanding this had been a change from last year’s course. This was the most beautiful, and also the most brutal course I’ve ever run up to this point. Any self-respecting race director would describe the terrain and elevation changes as “gently rolling hills,” but these hills were not even gentle enough to gentle a wild horse. Hills are the great equalizer, and I witnessed runners of every speed and ability neutralized by Lexington’s respectable hills.

    Running adjacent to the same pastures where the greatest racehorses in the world train and live, I knew why they are the best at what they do. If only I’d had four legs for this race, I probably wouldn’t have been hurting as much as I was. I channeled the spirit of the racehorse as I watched them being ferried towards me in the opposing lane of traffic. They were peacefully hanging out in their horse trailers, speculatively watching us run past them on their turf.

    About halfway through, the wind picked up to about 15 miles per hour, and the clouds rolled in. It was noticeably cooler after mile 6 with the nice breeze, and the overcast skies gave us much needed shade to supplement the shade from the occasional bank of trees lining the road. At some point, we passed a sign on a front lawn that made everyone laugh and stop to photograph it, which read, “Due to inflation, you will be running 14.8 miles today!” When the vertical banner marking the completion of mile 10 ticked by, the mental battle really began.

    When I finally reached the aid station at mile 12, I was greeted by a volunteer who informed me they’d run out of cups. I cupped my hands and held them out to her expectantly, and she tipped the gallon jug of water forward and filled my hands with water. I was surprised that they’d run out of cups at that point, but I wasn’t exactly at the front of the pack, either.

    Sorry to shock and disappoint you, but I was not draped in a blanket of roses at the finish, as Kentucky Derby winning horses are. Instead, I was bestowed with a beautiful finisher’s medal, which featured one of American racing history’s most beloved horses, 2014 Kentucky Derby Winner California Chrome, nicknamed “The People’s Horse.” There was an assortment of Cheetos and chips at the finish, along with bottled water. No finisher’s festival, just a no-frills finish line.

    Getting around Lexington is definitely not walker-friendly, as some larger cities are, so it’s recommended you either rent a car, or eat the cost of using rideshare a lot. I had a wonderful weekend and would recommend this experience to anyone looking for a great Kentucky race, but not to beat a dead horse… make sure you train hills.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Terry11 FIRST-TIMER '24

    It was a great event with both scenery and hills that live up to their reputation. Overall the race was very well organized but suffered from a lack of communication … MORE

    It was a great event with both scenery and hills that live up to their reputation.

    Overall the race was very well organized but suffered from a lack of communication to participants. There was a statement from them that start times and parking information would be sent before the race date and that never happened. So up until the night before people were asking on their FB page what time was the start.

    So if you are planning on running it, let me just clear up the start time question for you. You need to be on the property by 7:30 because there is only one road leading into the property which is the same road runners go out on. So they need everyone there and the road cleared by 7:30 for an 8:00 start time. All distances start at 8:00. Start waves are assigned during registration. The first few waves are the half marathoners then 10K and 5K waves. The first wave starts at 8:00 and then another every few minutes. The start ran pretty smooth once everyone understood what was happening, but that was not well communicated before the race so it made for some confusion.

    This was the first year at the new location and the start was delayed a few minutes because it took longer to get everyone in and the road cleared than they expected so they may ask runners to arrive earlier in the future or move the start time. But overall, they handled it pretty well for a first run at that location. There was plenty of parking and it was a short walk to the start / finish so no drop bag. The parking lot was readily accessible before and after.

    Expo was fair and worth attending. There is a large upsell push for this event, VIP parking, private tours, Bourbon and just about everything else so be prepared for that.

    Swag was OK, a decent cotton pullover hoodie which is actually pretty comfortable and wearable. The finishers medals were very nice and what you would expect from an event in thoroughbred country.

    The course runs out through the countryside on two lane county roads. The roads were closed or coned off with local Sheriff deputies blocking the intersections. Plenty of aid stations, every couple miles or so on the half course, and water, snacks and a beer at the finish line.

    Overall I would definitely recommend this event. A beautiful run through the Kentucky countryside on closed roads and a well run event.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Sunnynflorida FIRST-TIMER '24

    This was a repeat state for me, picked this race on prior reviews and hearsay. Great communication from sign up to morning of. Packet pickup nice, nothing great or expo. … MORE

    This was a repeat state for me, picked this race on prior reviews and hearsay. Great communication from sign up to morning of. Packet pickup nice, nothing great or expo. Very pricy and advertised swag, but was just a lightweight hoodie. Race morning busy, the start and finish was where the entrance and exit was which was awkward for everyone. Nice scenery, only saw few horses,no crowd support at all, which was unexpected. Few water stations, no gatorade or fuel. Finish line was ok. Medal is beautiful. The race Director is very involved in the race and truly loves it. I would not do it again. Try the Pisgah in Versailles-that one was once in a lifetime!!!! EVERYONE goes out, so much energy!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    brandypanda FIRST-TIMER '24

    retty, but train for hills that never end. Water is spaced well throughout the course. The only complaint i have is the start. Wr were supposed to start at 7:30, … MORE

    retty, but train for hills that never end. Water is spaced well throughout the course.
    The only complaint i have is the start. Wr were supposed to start at 7:30, but cars were waiting to park and we didn’t start until 8:10ish.
    They ran out of beer at the finish, but plenty of water. No fruit at the end. They did give a bag of chips, a granola bar, and a candy.
    The water was given in disposable cups. The last station ran out of cups

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    mgd470 FIRST-TIMER '23

    This is the wort race ever! My wife and i are from out of town, and after paying a huge entry fee, they have the nerve to charge a $25 … MORE

    This is the wort race ever! My wife and i are from out of town, and after paying a huge entry fee, they have the nerve to charge a $25 per person packer pickup on rave day. So, our options are to drive 4 hours to attend their pathic upsell event (they call it an expo) or pay an additional $50 fpr 2 race day pick ups. If you don’t want out of towners to run in you litte race, then just state it ob your website. Don’t just take our money and just screw us out of more money. I have run in races all over the country from local races to worldwide organizations. None have ever had this absurd race day packet puckup fee. Shame on you.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    cjstephens FIRST-TIMER '23

    The organizers take quality _very_ seriously here. The staging area at the race track is beautifully managed (not sure if it will be at the same location in 2024), and … MORE

    The organizers take quality _very_ seriously here. The staging area at the race track is beautifully managed (not sure if it will be at the same location in 2024), and they go to great lengths to partner with local establishments (think distillery). It rained heavily on race day, but otherwise I would think you would see plenty of horses in the fields.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    mmrozycki FIRST-TIMER '22

    The scenery was unbelievable on this race, it was all country and we ran past numerous horse farms. The hills were tough, the entire course is up and down hills! … MORE

    The scenery was unbelievable on this race, it was all country and we ran past numerous horse farms. The hills were tough, the entire course is up and down hills! I loved the theme of the race, dedicating the race to a specific horse and then having that jockey at the packet pickup. It was a great experience! I just wish I pre-ordered the bourbon!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    musical23 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I have had this race on my list "to do" list since I saw the medals. I was excited to run it last year for the 10th anniversary.... but in … MORE

    I have had this race on my list “to do” list since I saw the medals. I was excited to run it last year for the 10th anniversary…. but in person was not to be… 🙁
    This was a new year looking forward to finally running an in person race. Communication was excellent with emails as was packet pick-up. you scheduled a time for pick up, so as not to be bunched up. As we waited for our turn to enter, there were two ladies answering questions about the race, the area, etc. Pickup was smooth as silk…. Race day… you were assigned a wave before race day with an approximate start time. Something happened that I have never seen at a race before… the waves started a couple a minutes early, usually they start late. Start went off without a hitch. Course directions were easy to to follow. Aid stations were all manned but small… once again not a bad thing. All had bottled water and a porta-john… two thumbs up for that. The course is what it is… beautiful. Don’t expect crowd support, although the volunteers were very encouraging. Finish line was quick, snacks were bagged and handed to you as well as the medal.
    Overall, awesome race, word to the wise… DO YOUR HILL TRAINING… the hills are no joke.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    pmonnig REPEAT RUNNER '20

    Yes it has hills but they are rolling so you have downs also. The view will take your mind off the hills. Running in the country,awesome. Prepare to take add … MORE

    Yes it has hills but they are rolling so you have downs also. The view will take your mind off the hills. Running in the country,awesome. Prepare to take add some time to your race while you stop to take pictures. WELL organized !

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    bwdarrington FIRST-TIMER '19

    Can’t emphasize how hilly this course is. None of them are extremely steep, but they are constant for the entire race. Literally. It is tough. Great production, great swag. Fun … MORE

    Can’t emphasize how hilly this course is. None of them are extremely steep, but they are constant for the entire race. Literally. It is tough. Great production, great swag. Fun expo. Would recommend, just prepare for hills!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    jsquinks FIRST-TIMER '19

    Hands down, my favorite half marathon to date. This race is absolutely gorgeous, though beware: SO. MANY. HILLS. I quickly abandoned any hope I had of finishing with a personal … MORE

    Hands down, my favorite half marathon to date. This race is absolutely gorgeous, though beware: SO. MANY. HILLS. I quickly abandoned any hope I had of finishing with a personal best and had much more fun as a result. KY is beautiful; there are so many horses alongside the course, and the race organized a fair amount of support (bathrooms, water/first aid, etc.), which was nice. Plus, the medal is one of my favorites too! 100000% recommend running this race – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    henrykat REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Admittedly, I did not train for hills at all (and come from the flatlands of Chicago), so I knew this would be tough, but I really didn't realize just how … MORE

    Admittedly, I did not train for hills at all (and come from the flatlands of Chicago), so I knew this would be tough, but I really didn’t realize just how much those hills would take a toll on me! It didn’t help that I forgot my gels, and the aid stations only had water. The scenery was beautiful, but until I can properly hill train, I don’t think I’ll be doing this one again anytime soon!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    kmerskine FIRST-TIMER '19

    I'd read a lot about this race needing to be on any half marathon bucket list. Scratch that. It's a good race, but not that good. I've run several others … MORE

    I’d read a lot about this race needing to be on any half marathon bucket list. Scratch that. It’s a good race, but not that good. I’ve run several others that are as good or better. It’s still a good race, go do it… but don’t be disappointed when the scenery fails to impress like the Northern Lights.

    Parking is easy, pre-race festival / expo is nice, course is pretty. In the 50+ races that I’ve done this is in the top 10, but not the top 5. Would I do it again? No. Am I glad I checked the box on this race? Yes.

    I don’t think this is a PR course, if that’s what you are looking for. There aren’t hotels on site so you’ll have to drive in. There were ample aid stations.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    trose1 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    A challenging course filled with lots and rolling hills, but some of the prettiest views of million dollar horse farms and scenic countryside. Well supported race, but not many crowds … MORE

    A challenging course filled with lots and rolling hills, but some of the prettiest views of million dollar horse farms and scenic countryside. Well supported race, but not many crowds until the end. The finishing medal is classic and the swag is very desirable.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Manivannan REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Awesome course, RDs, swag, volunteers. Challenging hilly course but the scenery and the RDs make it well worth it. Plenty of photo ops for those who like those type of … MORE

    Awesome course, RDs, swag, volunteers. Challenging hilly course but the scenery and the RDs make it well worth it. Plenty of photo ops for those who like those type of things too. If you are into bourbon and horses, there’s plenty of tours that are organized as well.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    arielleighmurph FIRST-TIMER '19

    It’s a beautiful race and great for a first time half. There’s a lot of rolling hills but they’re not steep. It did not feel like 13.1 miles. For my … MORE

    It’s a beautiful race and great for a first time half. There’s a lot of rolling hills but they’re not steep. It did not feel like 13.1 miles. For my first half, I slowly ran and fast walked to take in the scenery. I intend to return next year!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    brookegal FIRST-TIMER '19

    Top notch all around... greatly organized, easy parking/navigating, beautiful course, great post race provisions, and hands down best medals EVER! I ran this as a “fun run” in prep for … MORE

    Top notch all around… greatly organized, easy parking/navigating, beautiful course, great post race provisions, and hands down best medals EVER! I ran this as a “fun run” in prep for my full marathon and got to enjoy it! Loved running with the horses with their foals and by amazing farms like Calumet! Also, I loved how easy the corrals were set up. Best damn organized race! Highly recommend!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Runnerkaty FIRST-TIMER '19

    The medal is sparkling and beautiful, the course had mile marker flags that surprised you as you were enjoying each horse farm scene and despite the hills, the miles just … MORE

    The medal is sparkling and beautiful, the course had mile marker flags that surprised you as you were enjoying each horse farm scene and despite the hills, the miles just clicked away with ease! The toughest hill has a delightful drumming band at the bottom to pump you up to the top! Just a blast!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Apr 10, 2019 at 9:10pm

    Thanks for the enthusiastic review, Katy! I'm definitely interested in a race that bills itself as "America's Prettiest Half," and it sounds like RTB lives up to the title. Run… MORE

    Thanks for the enthusiastic review, Katy! I'm definitely interested in a race that bills itself as "America's Prettiest Half," and it sounds like RTB lives up to the title. Run well and enjoy Hatfield McCoy, too — you're checking off Kentucky's finest! LESS

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    Runnerkaty Apr 24, 2019 at 11:34am

    Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind thoughts and best wishes! Enjoy RTB! I'll be back next year for the 10th anniversary!

    Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind thoughts and best wishes! Enjoy RTB! I'll be back next year for the 10th anniversary!

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    jalderink FIRST-TIMER '19

    Beautiful run in horse country! Loved everything about this race from the expo all the way through to the finish line! The medals were stunning! My only regret is not … MORE

    Beautiful run in horse country! Loved everything about this race from the expo all the way through to the finish line! The medals were stunning! My only regret is not being able to get to KY early enough to enjoy some of the Tours. I am on a 50 State quest and I promised my husband I would only do one run per state. I may have to revisit that promise on this State! 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

    3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Apr 10, 2019 at 10:41pm

    Ha, I felt the same way about Hatfield McCoy in Kentucky. Definitely a couple of states I'd like to visit again before I hit all 50... or maybe I'll save… MORE

    Ha, I felt the same way about Hatfield McCoy in Kentucky. Definitely a couple of states I'd like to visit again before I hit all 50... or maybe I'll save 'em to start the next round 🤔 (ha ha, yeah right!). Congrats on adding Kentucky to your map Julie, and continued success on your 50 States quest — look forward to following along here on RaceRaves! LESS

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    Sandytine FIRST-TIMER '19

    Everything I heard about this race was true, it was both beautiful and hilly. I viewed it more as an endurance challenge. The race was very organized, and has may … MORE

    Everything I heard about this race was true, it was both beautiful and hilly. I viewed it more as an endurance challenge. The race was very organized, and has may repeat runners. I would recommend bringing along some type of snack or GU since the course only provided drinks. The medal this year was Kentucky Derby triple crown winner Justify and is stunning!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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