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Race Dates

2017: Saturday, April 29, 2017
2016: Saturday, April 30, 2016

Course Information

Profile: Mostly Flat
Type: Mostly Loop
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 60°F (15°C)
Average High: 70°F (21°C)
Average Low: 49° F (9°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 99.06
Course Score: 99.06

Race Size

2016: 1,811 Finishers
2015: 1,965 Finishers
2014: 2,030 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2016: 7.7%
2015: 8.7%
2014: 7.5%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

Marathon Pace Bands

See what splits you need to run for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon or other marathons, adjusted for the specific terrain of each marathon and your goal time, and pacing strategies.

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Course Description

The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon course starts and ends in downtown Louisville after travelling through historic neighborhoods, Church Hill Downs, and through Iroquois Park. The course is mostly flat with the exception of some moderate hills in Iroquois Park and near miles 21 to 23.

The course is mostly flat except for two sections. Runners will encounter moderate hills from approximately miles 11.5 to 15.5 and from miles 22 to 23.8.

Marathon Rankings

The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon was the 50th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 51st largest in 2014.

This year 7.7% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 8.7% of runners qualified for Boston in 2015.

This gives the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon the 232nd highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 270th highest percentage so far in 2016.

Its Course Score of 99.06 ranks it as the 173rd fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 1st fastest course in Kentucky.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon a PR Score of 99.06. This PR Score ranks it as the 120th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 1st fastest in Kentucky.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 584 feet (178m)
Min Elevation: 442 feet (134m)


Ratings & Reviews for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon

5 Stars from 3 Reviews

review of 2015 Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Race Tips

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


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!

Race Tips

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.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

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.

review of 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


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.

Race Tips

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.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

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.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in 3:26:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.