This was an excellent marathon! Mostly flat, except Iriquois Park in the middle of the course and the hill at mile 23. Even though there are some hills, they all have nice downhill portions that are not too steep and flat portions to catch your breath, and the finish is a nice, gradual downhill. Running through Churchill Downs on the horse track is a cool experience, and the crowd support was very good. Several portions of the race had music, and a really cool feature was that some aid stations gave out plastic bottles of water w/ recycle bins along the course. Volunteers were also happy to refill my hand-held water bottle. My only complaint is that the course had Gu at only two aid stations. Nice finisher's medal!
The pace groups were not only accurate, but also gave really good coaching during the race. Save your legs during the hilly portion of Iriqois Park (halfway point in the race), and take miles 21-22 easy before the hill at mile 23; then run the downhill finish as fast as your legs can carry you. Pasta dinner was sub-par, but there are tons of places to carb up. Old Spaghetti Factory had a 2-hour wait, so I would recommend Impellizzeri or Little Sicily. Bring plenty of your own gels, as there are only repaid stations w/ gel, and it is the Power Bar brand.
Galt House is the hosting hotel and is walking distance to everything, but I thought it was pricy ($150/night w/ the runner's discount) and could have catered more to runners (at least offered some pre-race snacks or breakfast). I would recommend the Marriott instead, which is just as close, nice and better priced. Parking is not all that convenient, but this is really my only complaint about logistics. If you stay in one of the hotels near the start or finish line, there really is not that much walking. This marathon is much more reasonably priced than Country Music Marathon in Nashville, and hotels are closer to start, finish and amenities; also better weather and less hilly. Louisville is a fun city and I highly recommend this race.
By Jaclyn B about 2013
I really enjoyed this course! Getting to run through Churchill Downs is a very cool experience. The pace groups were right on target and offered great coaching tips throughout the race, and there was really good crowd support and a few areas w/ music. Several aid stations offered plastic water bottles w/ recycling bins, which was a very convenient way to stay hydrated. There were only two opportunities to get gel on the course, which is my only complaint.
There are some challenging hills when you run through Iriquois Park, but there are plenty of chances to catch your breath after the inclines. Mile 23 has a fairly challenging hill, but the rest of the course is downhill/flat for a nice, fast finish.
Several hotels in walking distance of the expo, start and finish lines. I would recommend the Marriott. The pasta dinner had much to be desired, but there were plenty of places to carb-up. Old Spaghetti Factory had a 2-hour wait, but I would recommend Impellizzeri's or Little Sicily.